Ruto appoints Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa to head drought response committee

Monday, November 21st, 2022 18:53 | By
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Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa. PHOTO/Courtesy.

President William Ruto has established the National Steering Committee on Drought Response to deal with the drought crisis that has exposed more than four million Kenyans to hunger.

In a gazette notice, the Head of State appointed a 15-member team to mobilise resources to alleviate the effects of the drought that has affected more than 20 counties.

The private sector-led committee will be headed by Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

Member of the committee are Dr James Mwangi, CEO, Equity Bank Group Kenya PLC, Nasim Devji, CEO, Diamond Trust Bank, Shamaz Savani, CEO, African Banking Corporation Bank (ABC), Paul Rushdie Russo, CEO, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group Rebecca Mbithi, CEO, Family Bank Kenya Limited, Jane Karuku, CEO, East African Breweries Limited and Joshua Chepkwony, CEO, Jamii Telecommunication Limited

Other are Crispin Acholla, CEO, British American Tobacco, Dr Asha Mohammed - Secretary-General, Kenya Red Cross, Edwins Mukabanah, CEO, Kenya Bus Services Management, Patricia Mugambi Ndegwa, Impact Philanthropy Africa, Krishma Jitesh Chavda, ISHA Foundation, and Hared Hassan (Lt.) Col., National Drought Management Authority.

Murimi Murage of the Office of the Deputy President was named the steering committee's Secretary.

President Ruto tasked the committee with establishing a private-sector-led National Drought Mitigation Appeal Fund in conjunction with the Kenya Red Cross to supplement the government's drought response program in dealing with the biting hunger.

 The committee will also be responsible for approving the opening and closing of bank accounts to be jointly operated by a representative from the private sector, the Kenyan government, and the Kenya Red Cross.

The committee will report to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Early this month, the President revealed that 4.5 million people from arid and semi-arid (ASAL) counties and 856,000 from other regions were facing acute shortage of food and require immediate intervention.

He pledged an additional Ksh2 billion to alleviate the suffering of Kenyans in affected areas.

Ruto noted that 942,000 of those affected were children aged below five years while 135,000 were pregnant women and lactating mothers, who, he said, needed urgent treatment for acute malnutrition.

The President, who was addressing officials of Red Cross at State House, said the biting drought had created the driest conditions in four decades and killed 2.5 million livestock.

“We are in the grip of the worst drought in 40 years. We have a lot of work to do in mitigating the menace by doing everything to ensure no life is lost,” the Head of State said.

He added: “Because the situation is both dire and urgent, we have agreed that in addition to the Ksh3.2 billion that the government had made available, we have again this morning made an additional Ksh2 billion to support the food distribution program. I will also be meeting other partners in the course of the week to agree on the budget.”

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