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Stop feeding Kenyans with campaign trail rhetoric, lies yet they need food

President William Ruto when he flagged off trucks of relief food in Kajiado. [PCS]

There is so much excitement in Kenya today even as people in more than 25 counties are losing their animals to drought and cannot feed their families.

In the midst of all that, the president and the deputy have been busy feeding Kenyans with tall tales and invoking their religion like preachers while flagging off relief food, a custom that Kenyan leaders have perfected for decades.

The new Cabinet Secretaries are busy talking their heads off, parroting the campaign trail rhetoric and half-truths while telling Kenyans about the difficulties they faced while growing up as if that will fill the stomachs of the tens of millions without food.

Like love-struck adolescents in the talking stage, they are twisting history and spewing alternative facts the way the Health Cabinet Secretary did the other day on national TV, while their bosses are apportioning blame and talking endlessly like the leaders before them.

Every year. Scratch that. Every day, Kenyan leaders say they will put or have put measures in place so that Kenyans do not die of hunger because of adverse weather conditions like drought.

Every financial year, money is allocated to these plans but the situation keeps getting worse, yet the Meteorological Department never fails to give weather forecasts and indicate whether the rains will fail.

The plans always include buzzwords like rain-fed agriculture, and how they will end it by installing modern irrigation systems and introducing disease-resistant and climate resilient crops so Kenya can be food secure. 

After the money is squandered, they give excuses, and this time round, the excuse is climate change. And in a few days, a delegation filled with excited joyriders will fly first class to Egypt, for a global climate change conference that starts today.

There, they will read speeches and share sob stories of how climate change has affected Kenyans and what needs to be done. Then they will return and talk some more. 

Back home, the suffering will continue, but the new wave of excitement will not die down soon since Kenyans who previously wanted to slap some sense in to politicians when things were this bad, are in the bandwagon of praising and worshipping the government.

The new set of Cabinet Secretaries is in office and Principal Secretaries are awaiting petting, not vetting, by the National Assembly in one of the most useless exercises in Kenya’s recent history because all the nominees will be declared competent for the respective dockets and sworn-in.

The money that the toothless petting committee will earn as sitting allowances should be used to alleviate the suffering of Kenyans affected by drought, but no, it is better to launch a drought appeal and ask Kenyans who are already suffering under a surfeit of higher taxes and levies to donate.

After the PSs are sworn-in, there will be a new set of Chief Administrative Secretaries and the excitement will go a notch higher as Kenyans celebrate how their tribes have gained and insult the people whose tribes have apparently lost.

The PSs and the CASs, like the CSs will spend their fair share of time talking about their poor backgrounds and apportioning blame like their bosses did on the campaign trail and have been doing for seven weeks since they were sworn-in.

The CSs have been big on photo opportunities and talkfests, but when asked about plans to improve the dire situation they keep saying they inherited, their cluelessness is exposed as they fall back on “as His Excellency the President said.”

It has not occurred to them that Kenyans are not interested in their sympathy-seeking sob stories and that they should shut up and start working.

Already, timelines for lowering prices of basic commodities as was promised during the campaigns have been pushed back from 100 days commencing on the date of swearing-in to 365 days from a yet-to-be determined date.

Questioning that is almost sacrilegious -- the mantra is “give us time. We inherited a bad economy.” Economy was the campaign plank and they knew it was bad, but Kenyan intellectuals have been zombified by the Tony Blairs of this world and other agencies used to manipulate minds of voters during the campaign period.

Our leaders do not want to live in the present. They are numbing Kenyans through roadside policy statements and blaming the current situation on what happened in the past and on what could have happened had they not been elected.

Every day, they feed hungry Kenyans with their photographs of gleaming eyes and toothy grins while they are meeting delegations or at functions, with tens of Members of Parliament and Cabinet Secretaries in tow, yet we were told austerity will be key so as to curb wasteful expenditure.

They are excited that they are running the show, but at the same time saying things that put them right in the campaign mode—bickering with Opposition leaders while Kenyans are dying of hunger. This needs to stop.