Contrary to what Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa said arguing that there were no death cases as a result of hunger, Baringo Member of County Assembly (MCA) Nelson Lotela alleged more than 17 people had passed on in the wake of the scorching drought and starvation in mentioned regions.
The numbers soared up on Tuesday, March 19, after two more people were reported dead in Baringo and two others in Turkana county due to starvation.
“People have died. We wonder why the government is disputing reports on deaths resulting from hunger in Baringo. We have the names…we have the records. I am ready to take them to every homestead where death was reported,” Lotela said during the relief food distribution exercise in Tiaty constituency, Baringo county, on Tuesday.
The MCA alleged the government was hellbent on keeping the statistic under wraps and was even intimidating local leaders and chiefs from speaking to the media about the situation.
“Why are they disputing our reports yet the reports are correct? They (unnamed senior government officials) are even intimidating us and the local chiefs for giving the reports to the press,” Lotela claimed.
The government nevertheless insisted no single death had taken place owing to the prolonged drought and the resultant starvation in different parts of the country.
Appearing on Citizen TV on Tuesday night, the CS accused local politicians of taking advantage of the situation and exaggerating everything about it.
“As of tonight, there is no death that has been verified as a direct cause of the drought. We cannot stop politicians from saying what they want to say. Allegations have been made but they have not been verified. We are working to ensure no life is lost. One life lost is a life too many,” he said.
Wamalwa and other senior government officials had hours earlier toured the affected regions during which they distributed over 1,000 bags of maize to the starving locals.
The government had allocated KSh 2 billion to be spent on repairing broken boreholes and dams, drilling new ones and supplying food to those affected by the ravaging drought and famine.
“The funds will ensure adequate distribution of food, life-saving aid to needy populations, water trucking and complement first-line interventions by county governments,” Deputy President, William Ruto said on March 18.