If only Kenyans could go to their grocery shops buy mchele and nyama and go make great meals for their families at home that would be very good. That is actually how normal people live around the world.
Basic food is pretty much guaranteed for many populations around the globe except in places of drought and starvation. Even the poorest people are supposed to afford food and live normal lives.
I was talking to my son who is born in Canada and I told him that growing up in a peasant family in Kenya, there is no single day we did not have food to eat in our family. All the food was actually from the family farm. We had chicken and eggs all you can eat.
We had maize and all possible vegetables and tomatoes right in the farm. My father who was a tailor and only worked on the farm on Sundays made all his kids to grow onions, the red one, and we did a very good job. I was the worst farmer and my sisters used to laugh at me. They had to come and help me in my block because of the way our father designed the farms. Everybody had a block. We worked so hard on them and produced good food from the farms.
My mother was a market food maker at Bondo Market and a kindergarten teacher . I was at Bondo Primary School so I could eat anything at my mothers food shop at the market.
So eating fried chicken and meat was just a normal thing. We never even had grocery shops those days and were eating so well. What went wrong with the country?
In today’s world, the young man and his grandmother liked running around in our farm in the village every time he has visited her in Jamhuri. Very good friends, one with an Eritrean mother who grew up in Italy and then Nyar Kingi. That is who my mother is because she is the daughter of King Odhiambo Gwella in Asembo.
So my son and his grandmother, Alice, just try to fix food when we are home and they know how to do it very good. And they were very funny about it. They could make food. That I can tell you.
In the Ruto and Gachagua world today, mchele and nyama is celebrity meal you get once in a life time when Ruto buys the food to feed you for one day so you can dance for him for a whole week and support him for life. It is kind of sad really that people have to live in those conditions. The fact Ruto and his DP expect Kenyans to be thrilled to eat rice and Nyama once in a year is quite insulting to the Kenyan people.
And the amount of nyama in each of those plates is what those Kenyans cannot afford in months. That is how bad things are in our country today.
Citizens are not dogs you throw food at once in a while after you eat and there is extra food. People can produce and make their own food and it is the conditions to do that which is the job of the government.
Rice is actually one of the cheapest foods in the world and in Kenya we could produce more rice than we can eat but as usual that whole project has crumbled badly. We have Mwea Rice plantations with a million problems. Kano rice fields are flooded with water every year because our governments have done nothing to build the infrastructure to facilitate rice farming in the area which started very well some decades ago. now rice is celebrity food that Kenyans can eat may be once in a year.
Mwea rice farms is in a mess and when Ruto visited Kirinyaga where the farms are located he did not go there to figure out how to make things work so Kenyans who work there can produce rice and supply the rice Kenyans need to the groceries. Instead he brought rice from Nairobi to feed Nyeri folks for one day. Mwea irrigation farm which has flopped is 28,600 acres of land. How do you mess that up?
Here are the rice farms in the Kano plains which has enough water and land to produce enough rice for the whole country and the irrigation scheme run by the Kenya government is deader than dead. Ruto has been visiting Nyanza a few times and never once has he gone to the Kano plains to come with a bold plan for rice production which could build the Kenyan economy in a big way. So Kenya has the capacity for rice production and Kenyans love to eat their rice. Why are we not producing rice?
Kenyans should look at the possibilities in Nyando and ask ourselves why not get this done.
Ruto and Gachagua probably don’t eat rice because that is too cheap for them. Gachagua in fact placed an order for lobsters and such expensive foods to be delivered to his DP office paid for by the Kenyan taxpayer. That is his daily meal and you pay for it just like you paid for the one day mchele and nyama that Ruto brought with him to Nyeri.
Here is Gachagua order for daily food delivery at DP office and no it is not rice and nyama.
Gachagua’s seafood orders was actually a big item in the news in May 2023. It was reported that a tender notice by the Office of the Deputy President was the subject of online debate on Tuesday morning, owing to a request for the supply of “seafood”.
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna took to Twitter, on May 9, to chide Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua over the development, accusing the DP of having misplaced priorities.
“Bash kuruka pale (Harambee Avenue) Annex. Unalipa tax ya weave ndio mtu amezoea mtura akule seafood,” Sifuna tweeted, making reference to the proposed taxes on hair products.
Kenyans on Twitter reacted differently to the tweet as some bashed the DP, with others defending him.
“Hii serikali itatumaliza,” one user identifying himself as JM replied, in support of the senator.
“Kwani time ya Uhuru walikuwa wanasupply managu?” an Aaron Mutai sarcastically replied, defending Gachagua’s office.
“Eti mtura… hadi crabs,” Humphrey Mwamba chimed in.
Later, Sifuna would describe Gachagua as “Kenya’s Marie Antoinette.”
“At a time most Kenyans can barely afford unga, he is putting out tenders for lobsters and prawns,” he said.
Other items listed in the tender notice, under the category “Supply of Meat and Meat Products”, include poultry, beef, pork, lamb and goat. The tender is open to all, as are many of the other tenders listed in the notice published in local dailies.
So there we go. The KK big shots throw mchele and nyama to starving Kenyans just like you throw corn you picked from the dirt to your chicken and pigeons to feed on while you are feasting on seafood and other prime. The Kenyan citizens are like chicken to these Ruto regime and those who run it.
Next time Ruto and Gachagua may bring lobster to Sagana. Most Kenyans would be happier if we build a country where citizens can afford their own mchele and nyama and a whole lot more. People will figure that out instead of lining up for one time food for poor folks for mchele na nyama food politics from Ruto.
Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada