West Pokot residents call for urgent solution to maize saga

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West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo (left) condemned cartels for pointing fingers at the current administration's dealings when it comes to maize distribution
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo (left) condemned cartels for pointing fingers at the current administration's dealings when it comes to maize distribution

Residents in West Pokot County have appealed to the government to speed up the investigations over the maize saga in the County. This comes as thousands of residents are facing starvation. The Anti-corruption Commission stopped the release of 5,000 bags of maize bought by the County government, which are locked at Kacheliba National Cereals and Produce Board, for allegedly not following the right procedure in the purchase procedure early this year.

The maize was supposed to be disbursed to residents affected by hunger as residents claim the issue was politicized by area leaders.  The residents want the government to resolve the problem so that maize can be finally distributed to cushion them from hunger. They said they’re suffering from food shortage after a poor harvesting season due to little rainfall in the area.

Speaking at Turkwel, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo faulted government agencies for not resolving the maize saga in the area. He said the County government hasn’t paid for the maize after the Anti-corruption Commission, DPP and police intervened. He revealed that the County government has allocated cash to buy relief food and store it in strategic grain reserves in case of emergencies.

 

The West Pokot Governor said those accusing the current administration of overseeing the maize shortage conundrum are cartels who used to steal from the former County government.

According to National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, between 70,000 to 250,000 people in the County are faced with food shortage following crop failure after crops withered following the drought that was experienced in the area, coupled with poor soil quality. Most areas hit by hunger are situated in North Pokot and Central Pokot Sub Counties.