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TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Drought is crime enough reason for Jubilee government to resign

In Summary

• People are dying because they are not people whose deaths would worry leaders in government. 

• Why are our leaders not concerned enough to visit these areas to witness the unfolding holocaust?

Turkana, Pokot, Baringo, Makueni and other areas are drought stricken to an extent they compare with the great Ethiopian Famine of 1980s.

The drought is killing old men, women and children. Tragically failure to contain this drought is happening despite knowledge by the government that there would be a shortage of rain and food harvest in many dry areas.

But as the drought continues to bite and threatening to kill more, government leaders led by Deputy President William Ruto are in denial. They maintain there are no deaths linked to starvation.

Government defence seems to say there is no cause for alarm.

People are dying from hunger, not because their starvation is welcome, but because they are not people whose deaths would worry leaders in government. Imagine what hullabaloo there would be if the starvation and hunger in Kenya were in the US or Europe and their victims were White.

But while we can be ignored by world media and world leaders – the way President Donald Trump ignored the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand by a demented white supremacist — why are our leaders not concerned enough to visit these areas to witness the unfolding holocaust and get the feel of the problem? Why has the Cabinet and the President not visited these areas yet?

When leaders fail to visit such areas, they show little interest in solving those problems. When there were riots in South Africa recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa cancelled his trip to Europe and returned home to deal with the problem. Right now when Cyclone Idai is ravaging Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaders of the three countries are busy visiting all the affected areas to show their people that they are concerned.

This then is what Kenyan leaders should be. Leaders cannot just sit in their officers and convince people of their concerns.

Drought is not a political or ethnic problem. It should concern every Kenyan. It is a national emergency that the government should pool resources from every other ministry and department and defer all non-essential government activities to save money to save the victims. It is reckless to let people burn to death in the sun when they can get shelter elsewhere.

We say we are fighting drought but in some areas, farmers are looking for market for their produce. This is food the government should have bought prior and distributed to red-zone areas.

To save people from hunger, we need a government that can take responsibility when it fails to fulfil its promises to people or simply fails to save people from death that is preventable. How can people be dying from hunger and have a government refusing to resign when it is squarely responsible for the mess? How can a Finnish government resign for its failure to implement a healthcare programme when in Kenya, the government will not budge for the famine catastrophe? Failure to manage drought is crime enough for the government to resign and pave way for another.

If drought comes every time we have no rains, we need a change of system to end starvations that may never cease. And to save us, the new system only needs to preserve our harvests and distribute them equitably during drought.

Finally, corruption is the real cause of our drought and starvation. If we end graft, we shall also end endemic droughts, starvation, hunger and deaths. But will Kenyans elect leaders with a commitment to end corruption, droughts, starvations, hunger and death? Most likely not yet.