Drought, banditry in the North Rift drive away tourists, investors

Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai hosted his counterparts Simon Kachapin (West Pokot), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo) and Jonathan Lelelit (Samburu). [Bakari Ang'ela, Standard]

North Rift governors have said perennial drought and insecurity in the region have conspired to drive away tourists and investors, thereby negatively impacting local economy.

Governors from West Pokot, Turkana, Baringo and Samburu said the troubled region had top class hotels yet tourists and investors concerned by runaway insecurity opt to hold conferences in major towns such as Eldoret.

This emerged during round-table discussions, which brought together Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai who hosted his counterparts Simon Kachapin (West Pokot), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo) and Jonathan Lelelit (Samburu), as well as development partners led by UNICEF Representative to Kenya Shaheen Nilofer.

Mr Lomorukai thanked UNICEF, other UN agencies and donor countries for their support on food, water, health and education.

“In the first phase of relief distribution, we distributed a total of 5,770 metric tons of relief food, benefiting approximately 664,824 residents. In the second phase, we intend to distribute 2,600 metric tons of assorted food to a targeted population of 695,232 people, which translates to 115,872 households,” he said.

Mr Kachapin said many parts in the banditry-hit region were peaceful and asked tourists and development partners to tour it.

"There are many good hotels and tourist destinations in Lodwar, Kapenguria and many other parts. The challenge is the ssumption that all areas are prone to banditry attacks," Kachapin said.

He, at the same time, welcomed support from donor organisations and admitted that great progress had been made through implementing programmes in the counties.

Stakeholders toured  programs to help affected communities recover. [Bakari Ang'ela, Standard]

Stakeholders involved in drought response have agreed to strengthen coordination in response to the current drought and programs to help affected communities recover.

Ministry of East Africa Community and Regional Development Secretary Maria Cherono, who represented Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano, read the CS's speech.

In the speech, Miano commended counties and development partners for their collaboration to address drought and implement programmes.

She stated that the national government had prioritised water development to address the shortage of water for domestic use, livestock, and irrigation.

Governor Lelelit urged partners to support counties in recovery efforts in the short term and to help build the resilience of communities in the long term.

Cheboi called on all stakeholders to work together with governments to avoid project duplication of drought mitigation approaches.

Ms Nilofer said it will take at least a year for families that have been affected by the drought to stabilise, and called for more support to communities battling drought.

"I would urge international donors to continue this life-saving support until we have built long-term resilience, and all children in Kenya are out of the danger zone,” she added.