Maize and banana crops are under attack in Kenya and Uganda respectively. In Kenya, the maize crop in many parts of the country is being destroyed by a viral disease called Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN).
The disease, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Sally Kosgei, is caused by a combined infections of two viruses; maize chlorotic mottle virus and either maize dwarf mosaic virus or wheat streak mosaic virus.
MLN makes the infected plants to stunt, turn pale and die close to the flowering stage.
In Uganda the banana is being decimated by a disease called Banana Xanthomonas Wilt. According to IRIN news, the disease which attacks all types of bananas and is spread by insects, wind-driven rainfall, infected planting materials and contaminated planting tools is a threat to banana production in East Africa.
Needless to say, farmers are suffering huge loses. But there is much more at stake. Maize is the staple food in Kenya as is banana in Uganda. This means that we are on the verge of a major food crisis if urgent steps are not taken to fight off these diseases.
Is Hassan’s ‘outside the box’ move ok?
While hailing Mr Isaac Hassan as a man with “lots of brains and energy”, Mr Githuku Mungai notes that the IEBC has a Herculean task ahead.
As he has never handled a General Election before, the forthcoming polls will be a litmus test for Mr Hassan and his team. However, Mungai has no doubt at all that Hassan intends to conduct a clean and smooth General Election.
To do this, Githuku says Hassan has a lot of research and listening to do in identifying underlying risks and taking remedial measures.
Already, IEBC has started to think outside the (ballot) box and has even conducted electronic mock elections in some constituencies.
However, Ms Koki Muli, who was also interested in the IEBC chairmanship job, cautioned a few days ago against holding the polls electronically before properly testing the system over a period of time.
“A proper reading of her views leaves one terribly afraid that things could go wrong again. Koki was for electronic registration of voters but against electronic voting.” Is time ripe for Kenya to adopt this system of voting, Mr Hassan?