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.