On Famine and Starvation in Turkana

2014-02-01
Starvation in Turkana is trending high. As my friend Ekai Nabenyo would put it, 2 Counties are trending: Turkana and Machakos but for 2 different and opposite reasons. Many people are asking many questions: What are politicians doing? How about the 2 governments, who is responsible for emergency operations? How much of the 1B emergency fund went to Turkana County for 2013-14? Is it true that the county got the 75-78M allocation for emergency? If so, why are people eating dogs? Where is article 43 in Chapter 4 of the Constitution on the Bill of Rights? The rights of citizens to be free from hunger and to access adequate food in acceptable quality. The right to dignity and the right to life. Who should protect these rights? Is dog eating going to be an annual ritual in Turkana for both governments to see the plight of the people? We are at pains trying to understand whether we are part of Kenya or we should actually seek secession.. After all, we listen to Ethiopian radio when at Ilemi triangle and Kenya is over a thousand miles away. In Lokichogio we are closer to our Toposa brothers and when in Loima we use Ugandan MTN and listen to Karamoja FM. Maybe it's time the Turkana people trace their roots to the land of Apetaret. Nonetheless, we the 7 MPs and the Senator raised an alarm on the impending droughts and subsequent famine from as early as July 2013 when we met with the Governor at a Turkana leaders summit in Eldoret (thanks to Tullow for facilitation). After that we paced between the Special Programmes Department in Nairobi and the County government trying to find out who among the two had relief food to save lives as we embark on long term solutions. We appreciate Devolution Minister Waiguru and her PS Mr Konchella for being tolerant with us n responding to our appeal for food. We have 2 more months of drought worsening and we are calling upon both governments, us local leaders and International Agencies to scale up the support but most fundamentally build capacities for long term and sustainable food security. I remember very well that in the Eldoret summit also attended by the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the County Assembly, we categorically pointed out to the Governor to 3 priorities and urgent investments;
  1. Water development for consumption, irrigation and commercial purposes.
  2. Irrigation for food security.
  3. An education trust-fund that will be supported by the county government, private sector and international agencies. Besides school bursaries, the fund will also target technical skills for extractive industries, engineering in petroleum, electricity, agriculture, water n other related n relevant fields to our needs.
As Turkana MPs we will not relent on these issues. Starvation in Turkana is no longer an emergency. It is predictable that every year there will be famine and people will likely eat dogs or dry skins in desperation. So this has to be factored in annual planning and budgeting as we await the irrigation successes. ~ Hon. Joyce A. Emanikor, HSC, MP Turkana County Twitter: @jemanikor