NASA presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga has pointed accusing fingers on President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Jubilee administration, saying that they ‘manufactured’ the hunger experienced in the country.
The former prime minister said that the government ignored warning signs from various experts about an impending maize shortage in order to create a national crisis and enable cartels to profit from the situation.
While addressing a press conference at his Capitol Hill office, Nairobi, Odinga said that there was a conspiracy between the Jubilee administration and cartels to import maize from as far as Mexico when it was easier to buy from neighboring Ethiopia.
“This has been a deliberate deception by the government with the intention of assisting famine-brokers make a killing from the drought situation,” he said. He added, “This is clear from the way the government has handled the issue of importation of maize from Ethiopia.”
However, Speaking in Nakuru County last Saturday, the head of state warned that the government would take action against traders hoarding cheap maize flour in a bid to rake in millions. “It has come to my attention that unscrupulous traders are hoarding the cheap maize flour that the government introduced last month,” he said.
“Let them know that the government has powers to prosecute them.”
The Orange Democratic Party leader asked President Kenyatta to lobby the Ethiopian government to sell maize to Kenya in order to address the situation. “It will be cheaper and it will get here faster,” he said.
“When the President was faced by the ICC matter, he continuously lobbied Ethiopia for their support against the charges he faced. Why is he finding it inconveniencing to go to Ethiopia and lobby them for the sake of hungry Kenyans?”
Odinga also demanded the interdiction of Cabinet secretaries Willy Bett (Agriculture) and Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution) failing to avert the shortage in time.
“This appears to have been a deliberate move to profit some people,” he said.
“The timing coincided with the purchase of maize from Mexico. The government appears to have been intent on ensuring that the importers from Mexico do not get any competition from the Ethiopian importers.”
“This in an antique KANU method of politics in the election period,” he said.
“We have come from an era where relief food was used to manipulate voters. We are seeing a resumption of this old-style politics.”