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Government allocates Sh450 for relief food distribution program

Phase one of the relief food distribution and cash transfers in the 23 ASAL counties saw an allocation of over Kshs. 1.2 billion and over 2.8 million Kenyans benefited from it.

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A past relief food distribution program

The National Government will roll out phase two of the relief food distribution program with an allocation of Ksh. 450 million starting next week. This is aimed at mitigating the impact of drought in the country.

The distribution will cover 23 Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties and other pocket vulnerable areas like Kieni, Mbita, Nyatike, Turkana, Taita Taveta, and Coast regions.

Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for Social Protection, Senior Citizens Affairs, and Special Programmes, Mr Nelson Marwa, noted the country’s ongoing unprecedented drought period.

“The government is determined to ensure that no Kenyan dies of hunger and has offered immediate food, water, medicare, and livestock offtake programs. The streamlined distribution is well-coordinated, seamless, and monitored to ensure the food is tracked from the point of transfers to the grassroots level,” PS Marwa said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought a natural calamity in September last year. The National Treasury and the Ministry of Interior spearheaded government efforts to assist affected households with water, relief food distribution, and livestock update.

Research and collaboration are key interventions in the enhancement of early warning systems that could help the country reduce hunger and distressed migration as a result of drought.

The Government is also taking a multi-agency approach to provide long-term solutions to end the frequent drought emergencies. Through collaborating with research institutions, the government has introduced adaptive mechanisms for sustainable livelihoods as coping mechanisms for communities in drought-stricken areas and across the country.

National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Ag. Director Technical Services, Lembara Saiyana, said, “we are working with research arms to identify additional adaptive crop varieties and livestock species for the diversified ecological zones. This will focus on the distribution of diversified animal breeds that are fast-growing and have a dual purpose for sustainable livelihoods. We are promoting the provision of livestock feeding support to increase productivity within a particular unit area and utilization of low feeds while still maintaining a certain production level.”

Five million farmers have received input subsidy support under the Kenya Agriculture Insurance and Risk Mitigation project (KAIP), funded to a tune of Ksh. 3 billion. The seven-year project is aimed at promoting crop insurance, offering subsidy support to farmers for crop insurance, and assessing crop losses for compensation by insurance companies.

An additional 120,000 people have also benefited from the Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme rolled out in 8 Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties, where the government injected a whopping Ksh. 4.5 billion to reduce the risks of livestock mortality emanating from drought and to build the resilience of over 18,000 households of vulnerable pastoralists.

Mr Saiyana additionally acknowledged that the government was working on increasing knowledge and skills to communities to use climate-related information to improve their drought resilience. This will allow them to make different crop choices, enrol in crop insurance, and partake in other farm risk management practices.

Through participatory rangeland management, the government is promoting alternatives to assist local households to be self-sufficient economically and nutritionally.

“We are experiencing an increase in population and a decrease in land parcels for production. This has prompted the promotion of small-scale farming units, climate-smart agriculture, and apiculture as alternatives to assist local households to sustain themselves monetarily and have food affluence,” Mr Saiyana noted.

Through the Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Project (DRSLP), targeting about 169,000 households, the government has purposefully injected Ksh. 5.4 billion for infrastructure development and capacity building.

The 10-year project, in six counties including Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, is supporting them with the establishment of commercial pasture demonstration farms, construction of water pans, development of irrigation infrastructure, livestock sale yards, and drilling and equipping of boreholes and shallow wells.

Phase one of the relief food distribution and cash transfers in the 23 ASAL counties saw an allocation of over Kshs. 1.2 billion and over 2.8 million Kenyans benefited from it.

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Atheists fault petition seeking to deregister society

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

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President of the Atheists in Kenya Society, Harrison Mumia

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

Former Juja MP, Dr Stephen Ndichu has moved to court seeking to have the Atheists in Kenya Society suspended on grounds that its continued existence is unconstitutional.

In a statement, the society’s president, Harrison Mumia says the petition is an assault on religious freedom and an insult to the diversity of the Kenyan people.

“We find the petition repugnant to a good conscience,” he stated adding that Dr Ndichu is a Christian fundamentalist who seems to harbour paranoid fantasies about the dangers of atheists existing in Kenya.

He further accused Dr Ndichu of seeing enemies where there is none and that the society was surprised, but not shocked as religion has historically inhibited progress.

He vowed that the society would do everything within its power to defend its right to remain a registered society and urged Kenyans to support fighting the petition.

On Sunday, the society said it will be writing to President William Ruto seeking an invitation to State House, just like the evangelical denominations.

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Uhuru Gardens ready for Madaraka Day fete, says PS Kibicho

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Madaraka Day

This year’s national Madaraka Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi County will be open to 30,000 people, up from 10,000 in 2021.

Permanent Secretary in the State Department for Interior, Dr Karanja Kibicho, said this follows the relaxation of COVID-19 containment measures.

“Children will also be allowed in on the celebrations this year, and we expect county celebrations to happen too,” the PS said while on an inspection tour of the venue.

The PS said the government decided to move the celebrations from the County rotational back to Nairobi because it will be the last event for the current administration before it exits office.

“Because of the significance of this particular Madaraka day, being the last for this regime, we decided to celebrate it at Uhuru Gardens to break the tradition of celebrating it in counties,”

He revealed that preparations were currently at 90 percent complete and expressed confidence that all will be set for the event as the country marks 59 years of self rule.

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Queen Elizabeth mourns Kibaki as a great Statesman with commendable legacy

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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Queen Elizabeth II has mourned former President the late Mwai Kibaki eulogizing him as “a great statesman”.

“I was sorry to receive the news of the death of Mwai Kibaki. He had a lifelong record of service to the Kenyan people. It will be of deep sadness to your country to have lost a great statesman, but Kenya can take pride in the legacy of his leadership. I send you and the people of Kenya my condolences at this loss,” the message read.

The British High Commission further affirmed its close ties to Kenya and renewed its assurances to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The British High Commission avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya the assurances of its highest consideration,” the High Commission said.

The late Kibaki passed away on 21 April 2022, aged 90.

President Uhuru, who issued a proclamation that he would be granted a state funeral with full civilian and military honours, announced his death.

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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