Kenya like many countries is experiencing the effects of severe drought, nearly three years of Covid-19 pandemic, recession, a debt crisis, high unemployment, repressed economy and the war in Ukraine.
These have contributed to severe domestic shocks of rising inflation rates and high cost of living. Millions of Kenyans are starving, their domestic animals dead or dying and no one wants to buy those that won’t survive journey to the market.
Even our wildlife is dying in alarming numbers. It is encouraging that our government has taken lead in addressing the consequences of the drought. This is much needed. But, we need long-term solutions.
In a previous article I discussed the National Drought Management Authority and why it needs much investment to ensure prevention and preparedness.
Meanwhile, we need unity of purpose and foresight to pull and pool together in all parts of Kenya and seize the opportunity provided by rainwater.
The predictions for rains are not so encouraging, although rains are predicted, this week. The rains will not be here for long. This is where we need expertise to urgently marshal citizens to harvest rainwater.
If we do furrow diking in our farms, it would prevent rainwater from running downstream from our farms.
Furrow diking creates a series of basins and dams in the furrow between crop rows to help catch and absorb water from precipitation. It also breaks up and loosens soil surface crust that would otherwise impede infiltration and promote runoff and ponding, which lead to evaporation.
These furrow dikes can actually be dug by hand or equipment for large farms, though majority of Kenyans do subsistence farming in small plots and medium size farms where furrow dikes can be installed inexpensively using common cultivation equipment.
This will ensure rain water is retained in the farms and lasts a little longer giving crops opportunity to grow and mature.
We should also be proficient in rain water harvesting to ensure no wastage occurs.
Successive governments have identified numerous dams all over Kenya and areas where boreholes, wells and other sources of water exist, but only a few have been actualised.
A number of Vision 2030 flagship dams began years ago but are yet to be completed because they are riddled with allegations of corruption and inertia.
We need to prioritse water, half of Kenya goes without clean and portable water and sanitation.
If we are to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4, “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” by 2030, we must act now.
It is sad to watch some political leaders from drought-stricken areas focusing on positions in government yet the voters who elected them are starving to death and they are losing everything – their livelihoods. These politicians should join hands with the government to address the consequences of drought and feed their voters because 2027 will be upon us sooner rather than later and they will need voters then.
There is anger and disunity among Kenyans segmented along political prisms that is quite unhealthy.
Same communities are divided between the government and the opposition, with those who supported the coalition in government demanding that only they should be appointed in political and other positions in this government, with some arguing that even relief food should be channeled through their political party.
I am certain the government does not share their views because it needs all Kenyans to move forward and achieve our national goals.
Every Kenyan, irrespective of where they stood during the elections should be embraced and allowed to feel that they belong. This is our country. All of us.
No Kenyan should feel like the government and other Kenyans in it consider them less Kenyans. We shall not succeed when we are divided. We need national cohesion and unity of purpose and foresight to solve our current problems and achieve SDGs by 2030.
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Publish date : 2022-11-05 21:00:46