Senators to summon ministers to shed light on drought billions

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 00:00 | By
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

Senators will summon four Cabinet Secretaries to shed light on the use of billions of shillings meant to mitigate effects of drought.

They are Ukur Yatani (National Treasury), Charles Keter (Devolution), Peter Munya (Agriculture and Livestock) and Eugene Wamalwa (Defence).

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka directed the Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations to invite the CSs to tell the country what they are doing to save lives and livelihoods.

Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared drought a national disaster and instructed the National Treasury to release Sh2 billion to provide relief food and other emergency support to affected families.

“We need to get data on what this money does. It is possible that a lot of money is being pumped into these areas but not doing what it is supposed to do,” said Lusaka.

He went on: “We should know how much food has been bought for livestock in North Eastern and other parts and at what cost. We need to know how much money was allocated for livestock and cereals.”

Piles pressure

Senators have piled pressure on the government to shift focus from emergency interventions to programmes that build the resilience of pastoralist communities to combat recurrent hunger in Arid and Semi-Arid counties.

According to the lawmakers, the government needs to change tack in fighting food and drought problems that recur annually.

“The Ministry of Devolution and National Drought Management Authority should ensure strategic measures such as repairing of boreholes, wells and water pipes are timely,” Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito said.

Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa are some of the counties that have been worst hit by the drought.

Kenya Red Cross report indicates that 2.1 million Kenyans are experiencing hunger and water scarcity.

Mbito said dignity of the affected people has been stripped away as they walk for long distances and queue for hours for relief food.

“Meteorological Department has also forecast that the October to December short-rain season will be poor, which is likely to cause even more food shortage in the coming year,” he said, 

Wajir Senator Abdullahi Ali lamented that the government is always talking of emergencies and relief food, which have never been useful.

Ali said the Government should think outside the box to mitigate recurrent drought and hunger.

Mandera Senator Mohamed Mahamud regretted that drought is taken as an emergency yet the disaster is experienced annually.

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