By Raila Odinga
After months of mostly uncertain responses to the drought and famine that has ravaged the country since mid-2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta has today declared the drought a national disaster.
This belated response comes after many lives and property, including livestock have been lost and after months of calls by the Opposition for the government to provide firm leadership and seek interventions that will mitigate disaster.
Rather than respond to the humanitarian crisis, the government instead deployed its machinery to mobilize voters on partisan basis to enable the regime retain power in August.
This callous and cold hearted response has created serious doubts about the government’s readiness to handle emergencies and its commitment to the service of the people. It exposes a government that is in denial and oblivious to people’s problems.
The declaration of disaster will not return the human lives and livestock lost. It is more of a political gimmick and a face saving measure than an indication of feeling for the people. It proves that Kenyans must now harbor no illusions about the government’s ability to respond effectively to disasters and the pains of the people.
We are getting very concerned and worried about the President’s cavalier attitude toward the suffering of Kenyans and all serious matters affecting the country.
We demand a clear programme for providing supplies including water, food, hay, medicine and all other necessities to people in need and the purchase of endangered livestock to save pastoralists from further loses.
We demand that the President goes beyond declaration of disaster and apologises to the nation for the inaction that has cost lives and other losses. The government must also roll out compensation to all those who have lost loved ones and property as a result of State inaction.
Four years of rhetoric, promises and tough talk devoid of action have become too much and too costly for our citizens. They must come to an end. The time has come for the President to prove to Kenyans that his government can be competent and caring.
RT HON RAILA ODINGA
FEBRUARY 10, 2017.