UNEQUAL DEVOLVED UNIT

KNBS report ranking Turkana poorest county was 'old' — Nanok

Turkana ranked as both the poorest and most unequal devolved unit in the country.

In Summary
  • Turkana has ranked as both the poorest and most unequal devolved unit in the country according to a just-released report.
  • CS for Petroleum and Mining John Munyes and MP Jeremiah Lomurkai of Loima faulted Turkana County Government for failing to address the needs of residents
Governor Josphat Nanok
Governor Josphat Nanok
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok says the report released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics which ranked his county as the poorest was  'old'.

Turkana was ranked as both the poorest and most unequal devolved unit in the country according to the just-released report.

The report dubbed as Inequality trends and diagnostics in Kenya 2020 is a joint survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the University of Nairobi.

However, Governor Nanok said, “Yes it has been ranked so. This report is old. It was first released in 2016 and has been subsequently used in national and county planning since then. I wonder why they relaunched it again.”

The governor responded through a text message when reached for comment.

Nanok asked that was there was another planned poverty survey they skipped and in its place relaunched what they had already done.

Cabinet Secretary for Petroleum and Mining John Munyes and MP Jeremiah Lomurkai of Loima faulted Turkana County Government for failing to address the needs of residents thus making it to be the poorest in the country.

“Turkana County was ranked to be the poorest county and most unequal. Turkana should not be having these problems. It receives billions of money from National Treasury and donors,” CS Munyes said.

He said Turkana receives a lot of funds from UNDP, Oxfarm and other Non-Governmental Organisations but development projects cannot be felt on the ground

“We need forensic auditing to show why billions of money have not helped residents of Turkana,” he said.

CS Munyes has called the office of the Auditor-General and EACC to come in for forensic auditing of the county's funds.

“How do we lack water with the billions that we receive? We cannot feed our people…..we cannot get medicines to our hospitals…..and Turkana continues to be the poorest county.” 

“Our kids are starving, the standard of education is going down with all the money that we receive. Our pastoralists cross the border to neighbouring countries such as Uganda in search of water. Uganda has built mega-dams to support their people,” he said.

Munyes said in the 1980s, Turkana had 12 irrigation schemes functioning but now none is functional.

“We had 14 landing beaches at the Lake Turkana. We supplied fish to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We had enough fish to the point where we started selling to other countries. All that has gone down. Now we cannot even feed ourselves,” he said.

MP Lomurkai said the billions of money that Turkana County receives have been misappropriated and is not being used for development projects.

Lomurkai blamed the government institutions for not following up on why the money has not helped people of Turkana.

“The government institutions have failed us, they have contributed Turkana to be the poorest county. They are supposed to arrest those misusing public funds and charge them.” 

"We received Sh10.5 billion from the National Treasury. That money must be followed with immediate effect so that we know those who have taken the money," he said.

The new report curves out the findings by analyzing previous surveys cutting across the period between 1994 and 2016.

Turkana has an absolute poverty rate of 79.4 per cent, a term defined simply as the inability for a household, family or person to meet basic needs including food, shelter, safe drinking water, education and healthcare.

While there exists no direct relation between absolute poverty and inequality, Turkana is also the most unequal region with a gini index score of 0.559.

A greater gini index means a higher rate of inequality while vice versa mirrors low levels of inequality.

Mandera, Samburu, Busia and Garissa counties rank among the other top five poor with an absolute poverty rate of 77.6, 75.8, 69.3 and 65.5 per cent respectively.