There are several instances where journalists have seen starving children in the course of their work and their lives have never been the same again. Some went as far as abandoning the profession and others even committed suicide.
If you didn’t know it even with the horror of starvation and drought we have seen in the news so far, there has still been plenty of editing in the images that many Kenyans are now seeing coming in from Somalia and the refugee camps within Kenya. Not to mention the starving Kenyans in many parts of the country. There are limits to what you can transmit in front of the dinner tables of Kenyan families taking in a meal as they take in prime time news.
Still even with the censoring, what has been beamed has evoked strong emotions and mostly very angry responses from the people. In my view the voters are getting even angrier against their government and the current crop of political leadership. And with good reason.
Two years ago it was public knowledge that we were expecting the El Nino phenomenon where we would get abnormally high rainfall to be followed by abnormal drought (La Nina). It was just a simple thing to plan ahead and save lives but instead all the thinking and resources went to fighting the ICC and Moreno Ocampo amongst other idiotic projects.
And even now the government response has been extremely slow, mostly too little too late and what is happening is that we are building up to a much bigger crisis down the road.
You see the hunger crisis will place additional pressure on food prices and this coupled with the weakening shilling could lead the country to some serious food riots before the end of the year. Food riots can be pretty ugly and if there is anybody in authority reading this then they should wake up and realize that the current fire fighting efforts are not enough and somebody needs to urgently plan ahead for the more serious crisis coming. Can we forget about manipulating the ICC for a minute? This is so serious that if nothing is done and there is no divine intervention than there will be no country left to fight to lead and manipulate.
Although experts are saying that the current drought in this part of the world is the worst in 60 years, the truth is that the people we call our leaders have done nothing over the years to help starving Kenyans when the rains fail all too frequently. Yes, Kenyans die of hunger almost every other year and that does not receive any media coverage so don’t fool yourself that this is the first time in 60 years that Kenyans are dying of starvation. In fact it would appear that the political class thrives on hungry citizens. Indeed the government has always used food hand outs to retain complete political control of large chunks of Eastern province, mostly Ukambani so much so that it will take many decades to get this handout mentally out of the psyche of Akamba people. Indeed William Ruto and Daniel arap Moi (by the way did you know what Moi's most guarded secret is?) used this little piece of information last August to straddle the Kamba community and get them to vote strongly against a constitution that was for all intents and purposes in their best interests (more so for them than for many other communities in the country). But that is a story for another post.
The bottom line is that the government has absolutely no excuse.
What the next government needs to do (we have completely given up on this excuse of a government) is to pursue serious rain harvesting initiatives (bore holes deplete the under ground water table and cause much more serious long term problems). Did you know that a country like Egypt which is virtually all desert and has only one great river grows surplus food? Take my word for it if you still don’t get it, Kenya should never have a food crisis, even if we had a 5 year drought.