President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a raft of new measures enhancing relief efforts to mitigate the drought in arid and semi-arid counties.
Top on the list of the new measures announced by the President is food for fees program where the government will supply food items to schools, which will in turn deduct the cost of the food from the fees they charge students.
He also announced a new restocking scheme where the State will buy weak livestock from herders and slaughter the animals for the locals to consume. The President who spoke in Maralal, which is one of the counties hard hit by the drought, said the on-going food and water relief will also be increased.
He also gave a directive to streamline all drought relief efforts so that they are channeled through the Devolution Ministry. This was after feedback from the counties showed that the food relief channelled through the ministry was reaching the needy members of the public faster than other reliefs like water.
“Streamline relief assistance being given by different ministries and let them be distributed through one channel,” said the President when he spoke in Maralal in a meeting attended by the CS for Devolution Mwangi Kiunjuri and Agriculture and Agriculture and Livestock PS Dr Richard Lesiyampe among other government officials.
At the same meeting, President Kenyatta urged the leaders of Samburu County to promote policies and approaches that promote peace. He said the government will not allow forceful takeover of private land in the neighbouring Laikipia by herders but the government will support the Samburu to find amicable ways that do not infringe on the landowners.
President Kenyatta at the same time called on security agents to treat everyone they encounter in the course of their duty with dignity. “Any leader who comes to you the Samburu and tells you he will help you to use force to invade land belonging to others is lying through his teeth,” said the President as he urged the people of the region to organise themselves into groups with the economic power to purchase the farms.
He also called on the locals to use the mechanisms they used to use in the past to reach agreements with land owners in Laikipia so that livestock can graze on the land without unnecessary conflicts. On development of roads, President Kenyatta said that the Maralal -Rumuruti road will soon be fully tracked.
“The road is already halfway tarmacked and the tender for the half is almost complete,” he said. He said Kenya has been independent for more than five decades and it is the Jubilee Government that came into power in 2013 which takes the credit for funding the tarmacking of the road.
President Kenyatta also said that devolution was working and those who claim that the Jubilee Government has been hampering the new system should come to towns like Maralal.
“The roads in this town are tarmac and this was done though money allocated to the County Government by the National Government,” said the President. At the leaders meeting, locals described the President as one of their own who was returning back home