The Kenyan Government & The WFP Feuds as People Eat Dogs

BY WAMATHAI

There was a story in the news recently where a woman in Turkana Central in Northern Kenya slaughtered and cooked the family pet, a dog, for her family because she had nothing else to give them. I think that the cameraman who filmed the whole thing, from the cooking to the eating, is very strong given that the eating of such things are a taboo in Kenya but I guess that’s the sacrifice he had to make to bring the story to us.

There has been famine in that area for some time and the government with the help of the World Food Programme (WFP), The Kenya Red Cross and other Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) have been providing relief food to those in need. That hasn’t been the case for the last four months however, as the government has been feuding with the WFP over the appointment of the lead agency to distribute the relief food.

The WFP wants Action Aid to be appointed as the lead agency while the Kenyan government claims that the area Member of Parliament wants the Kenya Red Cross to be appointed instead. It’s perfectly OK to have such a difference of opinion but at the same time I think it’s unfortunate that the WFP and the Kenyan government have let the issue drag on for so long. People’s lives are at stake and it could be that some have even died while the food they need sits in a store in neighbouring Lodwar awaiting bureaucratic consensus.

It is unclear why the WFP wants a specific agency to be the lead agency and it is also unclear why they don’t want that agency to be the Kenya Red Cross, an organization with a proven track record in distributing relief food in Kenya. I find the claim by the Kenyan government that the area MP is the one opposing Action Aid a bit weird. It may be true but should the government let his wishes dictate policy? Isn’t the government supposed to be the overall authority? Should the WFP dictate what Kenya does in its own territory? I think that the welfare of the people should supersede any self interest.

The Kenyan government and the WFP are in the business of helping people and it’s sad that they have let such a trivial matter get in the way of their mandate. If they can’t agree whom between the two agencies should be the lead then they can pick someone else or have some other neutral party do it for them before the situation escalates.

© james wamathai

3 thoughts on “The Kenyan Government & The WFP Feuds as People Eat Dogs

  1. This story made my blood boil when I saw it on TV!!! These people are playing politics with people’s lives then they get into their 4x4s and choppers and go have their expensive meals while people are languishing.

    Another example of just what incompetent leadership we have. I believe the biggest blame should be laid on the MP as a representative because his responsibility is to make sure constituents are fed even if he has to back down his preferences..

    Something I wondered, what can a normal Mwananchi do in such a situation? Is there a way the people can make sure they get the food without using government intermediaries?

  2. Hi. The said MP who is insisting on using Red Cross has trucks which are hired to RED Cross. If Red Cross does the work, he gets the business. He has no interest in the dying tribesmen!

  3. The story on food just sitting in a warehouse while people starve is spot on. Why the Red Cross? One might want to check who was in the table of organization
    (i.e.: authorities) of the Red Cross in Lodwar. One might find that there is a
    “relative” explanation for this “conflict of interest.”
    In 2010 according to reports the Ministry of Special Programmes sent relief food to Turkana Central District for Secondary Schools to “mitigate the effects of drought and high cost of food” Yet, the food sat a while and then ALL KSh. 3.8 million of the food disappeared. Another, it is said 3,000 bags of the world Fopod Programme for primary schools in Turkana went missing between Eldoret and Lodwar. A Primary School Teacher who wrote on one of the Delivery notes/Invoices that “I never received this food” has been disciplined.

    Professor am Ongeri, Minister for Education said on the floor of Parliament on
    Wednesday, 4th May (morning session) that all both secondary as well as primary schools in ASAL areas had to to is laise with the Ministry and they would get the schools food from the World Food Programme. Yet by second week two requests made by new secondary schools: Kerio Secondary School and Lodwar Girls Secondary School for food were rejected….by the Lodwar Office of the World Food Programme….the food, the office said is “for communities” and not (implied) for boys and girls (people) as they are not communities. Does one thing that the Minister is being misleading? Disingenuous? It is quite evident that food is the stuff of money and money is needed to grease the political machines of Kenya and so it is that female and boy students (no discrimination here) are condemned to starve. Does one realize that Lodwar Girls was given KSh. 1,190/= (One thousand one hundred ninety Kenya shillings) to start the school and to buy the food needs of a Boarding School. Kids don’t count, getting re-elected in 2012 does!
    Louis Calmel

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