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Northern Kenya legislators condemn unequal El Nino aid distribution

By Sammy Waweru November 22nd, 2023 3 min read

Members of Parliament (MPs) representing the Northern Kenya region have expressed their dismay over what they perceive as discrimination and neglect by the national government in addressing the impact of the El Nino rains.

This weather phenomenon has tragically resulted in the loss of fifteen lives, with over two-thirds of the region submerged, and Wajir County bearing the brunt of the devastation.

The legislators are pointing fingers at Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, highlighting concerns about the unfair distribution of emergency resources aimed at alleviating the effects of the El Nino rains.

They are calling for an urgent and more equitable approach to supporting the affected regions, including Northern Kenya.

The lawmakers made the lamentations at a past press conference held in Nairobi, where they had joined Wajir Governor, Ahmed Abdullahi in flagging off a 24-ton consignment of foodstuffs and drugs destined for six Wajir sub-counties.

Led by Eldas MP Adan Keynan, the legislators expressed dissatisfaction with the unclear and seemingly poorly thought-out assistance from the national government.

According to Dr Keynan, there is a pressing need for the national government to provide clear and effective assistance, ensuring affected people receive essential items such as food, shelter, and medicine.

“We want the national government to come out properly and assist the residents of our counties. What is being coordinated and what we have been told is being coordinated, we are not seeing it at all,” said MP Keynan.

Wajir Senator Mohamed Abass Sheikh raised concerns about the lack of announced interventions for those marooned by the floods for the third consecutive week.

He questioned the government’s commitment to Northern Kenya, citing the swift assistance provided to other regions, such as Mombasa, when faced with similar challenges.

Wajir West MP Yusuf Mohamed Farah emphasized the mismatch between the magnitude of the problem and the response from the national government.

He called for a more concerted effort, urging the government to take its responsibilities seriously to prevent further catastrophes.

“The road leading to the Northern part of this country has been washed away by ravaging floods at Modogashe, blocking any humanitarian assistance heading to Wajir and Mandera Counties,” noted Mr Farah.

He appealed to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) to prioritize the repair of the road, as airlifting goods alone would not be practically possible to reach areas that are cut off or marooned by floodwaters.

Farah also urged President William Ruto to acknowledge the reality of the El Nino rains and apologize to Kenyans for earlier dismissing the predictions made by Scientists.

Tarbaj MP Hussein Bare criticized the lack of proactive measures by the national government, leaving tasks to organizations like the Kenya Red Cross Society and the County government of Wajir.

He called for a more hands-on approach from government officials, emphasizing the need for President Ruto to visit the region and witness the unfolding catastrophe.

At the same time, Wajir East MP Mohamed Aden Daudi called on the Ministry of East African Community and Special Programs to swing into action immediately, given the funds allocated by Parliament for El Nino rains emergencies.

“We are demanding that the minister and her team visit Wajir County and other parts of this country that have been affected. We will not accept delays akin to those outlined in paper number 10 of 1965,” said Mr Daudi.

With roads washed away, Daudi warned of an impending blackout in Wajir Town as the Kenya Power substation runs out of fuel.

The MP appealed to the Ministry of Transport and Roads to open the roads for the movement of trucks and vehicles stranded between Modogashe and Wajir County.

The sentiments expressed by the lawmakers from Northern Kenya come at a time when the Council of Governors, led by its Chair, Ms Anne Waiguru, is at loggerheads with DP Gachagua over the allocation of funds intended to help mitigate the effects of El Nino.

While Mr Gachagua insists that the national government disbursed the said funds as per the agreement, the council of county bosses has refuted these claims, terming them as misleading.

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