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February 21, 2019

Raila wants Kiunjuri, Bett and Lesiyampe sacked for failing to end food shortage

Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, CS Willy Bett and Cereal Millers Association chairman Nick Hutchinson at Kilimo House on May 16 /JOSEPH NDUNDA
Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, CS Willy Bett and Cereal Millers Association chairman Nick Hutchinson at Kilimo House on May 16 /JOSEPH NDUNDA
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has demanded that President Uhuru Kenyatta sacks CSs Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution), his Agriculture counterpart Willy Bett and PS Richard Lesiyampe over the food shortage.
Raila said the three top government officials should be relieved of their duties for misleading Kenyans about the famine, leading to the food shortage.
“The human-made hunger is spreading, and supermarkets are running dry of not just the subsidised unga but all sorts of unga. This hunger is clearly manufactured. It is a Jubilee famine created and driven by a regime of incompetence, corruption and bad politics,” Raila said.
He spoke at his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi yesterday.
Raila told the Head of State to take full responsibility for the hunger in the country and speedily seek maize from his Ethiopian counterpart.
“Uhuru must get on the earliest flight to Ethiopia to ask his counterpart to sell us maize because it will be cheaper and get here faster,” he said.
“When he was faced with the ICC matter, he continuously lobbied Ethiopia for support. Why is he finding it inconvenient to appear there for the sake of hungry Kenyans?”
The NASA Presidential flagbearer said a series of forums were convened by the East African Grain Council and the East African Trade and Investment Hub to convince Kenya to purchase the surplus 300,000 tonnes grain from Ethiopia, but the government has since imported only 60,000 tonnes.
“While the government was denying that there was an eminent food shortage, the East Africa Grain Council was urging Kenya to accept the surplus harvest from Ethiopia to meet the shortage,” he said.
Raila said on March 7, EAGC and EATIH convened a meeting in Addis Ababa with a delegation from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe to discuss the removal of barriers to enable grain traders into Ethiopia.
“Kenya refused to lift its trade barriers with Ethiopia, and it was not until mid-April that duty was lifted on maize coming to Kenya,” Raila added.
“This appears to have been a deliberate move to profit some people because the timing coincided with the purchase of maize from Mexico.”
Raila called on the Jubilee administration to remove the responsibility of importing maize from private millers and entrust it to a well-deserved fund to cushion Kenyans.
He continued, “The government has brought only 60,000 tonnes of Ethiopian maize of which only 25,000 tonnes have arrived in Kenya. Maize from Mexico is 45 days away by sea on the other part of the world, but Ethiopia is only one day away by road.”
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