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Get to the bottom of missing drought funds

By | March 1st 2012

The one thing that sends Kenyans into a frenzy concerns any mention of the word "drought". In fact, last year saw an unprecedented response to feed thousands of hunger-stricken Kenyans due to an extended period of dry skies.

Operation Kenyans for Kenya impressed everyone, locals and international development partners alike as ordinary citizens took it upon themselves to accomplish what government had spectacularly failed to do: To feed its people!

It was motivated, perhaps, by the pictures of gaunt, hollow-cheeked, emaciated villagers that media kept splashing across living rooms. Or there was a spontaneous outpouring of generosity, which with the increasing media spotlight, forced families to share the bountiful heaps on their tables.

Experts of all shades and persuasions volunteered solutions, suggestions and criticism. All these were received well by a government that had egg dripping all over its face.

One oft-repeated suggestion was the need to improve rainwater harvesting techniques through dams, pans, underground tanks and other reservoirs.

Then again, communities were exhorted to jealously guard water towers and plant more trees.

But it was the decision to set aside a fund to re-stock the herds of pastoralists that shrivelled and died even as owners watched and others at the Kenya Meat Commission holding ground in Athi River.

Part of this money was a Sh200 million given to Agriculture Development Corporation to cushion farmers by buying out their animals, fatten them and re-sell the herds through the programme.

Tobiko-led office

Reports that Sh150 million of that fund cannot be accounted for, flies in the face of efforts to sever the hands of the Lords of Graft and Impunity.

We hope a thorough probe is instituted at the Ministry of Livestock Development, ADC and any other concerned department that can explain the whereabouts of thousands of animals as well as cash, meant for the poor.

Let this be a test case for the Keriako Tobiko-led office to ensure the proverbial stone is not left unturned.

This is mischief and means there is no cushion in the event of another drought. Somebody must speak out for the common man.

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