Azimio Focusing on the Big agenda to Address what Kenyans need is Good for the Country

13 mins read

The Azimio national meeting in Naivasha with governors to try to chart a path for the country was important and crucial.

Now let us all focus on what needs to be done for our country which doesn’t belong to Ruto or Raila but to all Kenyans. Azimio needs to focus on key issues engulfing our country right now.

  1. Stop the Pollution of democracy in Kenya by the Ruto government.

Right now the Ruto government has decided that they want to mutilate the IEBC completely and the first project in that is to hound and expel the four commissioners who refused to bow to the dictatorship of IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati in anointing Ruto as the president of Kenya without verification of the votes.

Kenyans are sick of that vote count and want to move on with their lives. But Ruto does not want to let it go. The king now wants to be confirmed permanently on the throne and the first step to do it is to take complete control of the IEBC by removing any commissioner who has shown any signs of independent thinking and decision-making.

That kind of sin has to be cured and Ruto has the medicine. Kick them out of the IEBC. This Ruto nonsense has to and will be stopped by Kenyans not just Raila and Azimio.

The main concern for Kenyans here is that they want the IEBC to fix its own problems, and they have a million of them, trying to be independent to earn the trust and respect of Kenyans. Nobody is going to do that for them. Not Ruto and not Raila.

Right now the IEBC has a very long way to go to earn that trust. If they don’t then like other countries, Kenyans will say to hell with voting and will have other ways to deal with power in the country. You don’t want to go there.

2. Go to the farms now

Drought and starvation have besieged the country. That has to be dealt with. But does any of our leaders know that farming time is now?

I am a farmer on a small 8-acre land and I have one farm tractor to do my land and I try to use it to farm other people’s land in my area. By the way one of my big problems is that my farm is in a municipality and they have told me if I don’t build houses there they are going to take the land.

After the holidays by January farmers in all of Western Kenya need to plough their land. Let’s forget about the whole world of land there that is not even ploughed and lies dead. How about helping the farmers to plough their land in time and prepare it for planting? If you don’t do that then just get started for another food relief in 2023.

Once the land is ploughed then you have to do the seeds and decide what to plant in your land. The Kenyan Agriculture Field workers are very good with that. My fear is that they may be out of work now because the last time I was there in 2018 they told me they don’t know who is going to pay them between the county and the national government.

But they are great. They tell you at the beginning of the season which crops are likely to do better on your land. I do tomatoes, beans, maize and then my nephew ventured into watermelon which became very popular in the area.

So the Agriculture officer tells you which seeds to plant when to plant them, which fertilizer to use, how much water they need, and how to get the best out of it. That is how farming works today in Kenya, not like my mother’s days when she just woke up and decided she is planting osuga which actually worked.

There is all this talk about climate change and how much money we need and promises.

The first thing to do to fight climate change is to be able to feed yourself as a person and as a country. Otherwise, you become a scavenger on this earth. So let’s all just start with having food and in Kenya, we can get that from our farms, our land, and our waters. If we keep them working and clean.

Can the Azimio team with the governors come up with a well-structured farming program for Kenyans for 2023 to maximize our capacity to produce food of all varieties with plans for direct farm work starting January?

We need the governors to come up with their budgets and plans for ploughs for farmers. In Siaya where I come from they had a ploughing system for farmers and the ploughs are almost all dead now with mechanical problems. I am sure that is being sorted out now.

But these are real problems. The county ploughing system costs less for the farmers than the private plough people like me. Can this be sorted out in all our counties in the farming season right in front of us now?

3. Come up with ideas on food processing in the counties

You are fortunate to have Eugene Wamalwa there. He is an expert in ideas on how Kenyans can use their crops and products to manufacture food for local consumption and export.

That is the Kisii Banana Processing Plant now operational and Eugene has helped many such projects including a meat processing plant in Northern Kenya.

This is our biggest weakness as an economy. We have a lot of fruits and crops that we just throw away. We have fish from Lake Victoria and there is not a single fish processing plant in the area. That is economic suicide.

Let us come with technics and resources to process our fruits and vegetables. We drink fake juice in plastic bottles and throw away our mangoes and oranges because they are rotten. That is dumb. Turn those fruits into juice and you can drink it and export it.

The best food processing investments would be if the counties work jointly. There is no reason not to have fish processing plants jointly run by Homa Bay, Kisumu, Siaya, Busia counties and providing routes to export processed fish. You are going to get a million foreign investors willing to partner with you and you have good plans.

We produce tomatoes all over Kenya. We can process it, roast it, add hot pepper to it, bottle it and use it for our food and export and it lasts forever.

Look at what is happening with the Cassava Processing Plant in Busia. It is marvelous and yet cassava one of the richest crops in nutrition is generally ignored and scorned at in our country. Busia people came with a different plan. If we do this with all our food products we will get to another planet with food safety and export in Kenya.

The good news is that the entire world is waiting on us to go in food processing big time. The world needs food and most of them cannot grow it. If Kenya sets up food processing business at county levels, there will be investors coming from everywhere to join us.

When people think about developing the manufacturing sector and industries in Kenya they think about how to manufacture cars and other industrial products. The biggest manufacturing sector in the world coming in the next decade or so is going to be about food production and safety for exports.

We have an upper edge on that. Let’s get it done. Apple can produce iPhone but they cannot produce food. What do you think people need more around the globe?

4. Address and find practical and sensible solutions for the CDF Stalemate

While MPs from all sides are issuing threats about how they should grab the CDF again after the Supreme Court ruled that CDF, as instituted, is illegal because the MPs cannot administer the money. Nothing is happening. CDF provides Shs. 133 million a year to every constituency. That is a lot of money already in the budget and sitting at the Treasury. It should be priority number one at a time when the Kenyan economy is in tatters.

The Azimio national team should take leadership on this matter by asking that the country carries out public meetings with all Kenyans to determine which direction to take the CDF and anchor that into the laws of the country. Grumbling in parliament while the money sits at the Treasury is not helping anybody and if that money stays the Ruto chaps are going to grab it and allocate it to whatever they want.

Instead of Azimio MPs joining the UDA crew shouting at the Treasury to give them the money, they should rally with the Azimio national leadership asking for public participation in how that money should be allocated and managed to benefit constituents in every constituency.

When there is a stalemate and lack of direction let Azimio take the path to solve the problem for the benefit of all Kenyans. That is what leadership looks like. Kenyans need it desperately from Azimio right now when nothing is working in our country.

Inevitably, the CDF matter is going for public participation but we need the leadership to take it there. When it was BBI everybody was screaming about public participation. This is a bigger issue which involves billions of money intended for the development of Kenyans every year.

Nothing can be more important than that and it should be addressed and fixed with emphasis on how CDF can be most effectively used without being stolen so recklessly as Kenyans starve and their kids have no money to pay school fees.

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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