As another testament to the power of local social media to rally support for a cause and raise funds, as of the writing of this post, 30 million bob has been raised by kenyans from all walks of life to aid the redcross in their hunger relief efforts. Very commendable efforts I must say and I hope evveryone reading this has contributed something towards the somali refugee crisis.
That being said, this circus should have ended with the y2k bug. There are potatoes and cabbages rotting in fields in western kenya and maize is being sold at throw away prices. Local media has had a field day with this irony and the best the government can do is ask anyone who knows of any deaths due to hunger should report it. And then what? They have necromancers that will revive the dead?
I find the idea that the govenment waits for reports to arrive quite disturbing. They should have more information than all the NGOs and humanitarian orgs put together. The drought in somalia was emminent and the subsequent human migration was obvious too. People like Minister Esther Murugi should not get access to a microphone let alone public office as is evident with her statements and opinions. Ignorance was never a defence and why we tolerate such statements from public officials is appaling.
That being said , I believe the real failure is in the local leadership.Pastoral farming is outdated. Plain and simple. It is not sustainable with the changing climate of the area and requires too much effort for the society to develop specialised craftsmen and thus develop. Everyone spends their time looking for food. No-one gets a chance to learn a different craft, excel in music,art or toolmanship. But barely a tthousand kilometers away is a hub of technology, education and culture bursting at the seams with opportunity. Whole generations never get half the chance that their neighbours do in education, healthcare , culture and even leisure. It all boils down to the mode of sustenance and the outdated culture.
The Bantu farming style in the 1800s was slash and burn rotational farming. It worked then. Not so applicable now. We had to change and use fertilizer, learn new methods etc. Why should the pastoral communities not be guided to do the same and end the incestant famine year in year out? Live in permanent communities, farm, irrigate, create towns, invite traders, create a leather industry etc. Migrating with the rains doesnt make us any different than wildebeest yet we can master our environment. I believe that is why we have bigger cortexes.
I have a feeling we will be back here in 2012 and 2013 ad infinitum as long as the pastoralists insist on that culture and the alshabab characters are still prancing around banning samosas in Somalia. No-one should suffer such indignity as dying of hunger begging for a meal.