In northern Kenya, drought may keep some herders from voting

PUBLISHED: Tue, 02 Aug 2022 13:40:17 GMT
Thomas Mukoya
Samburu tribes people walk home after receiving relief meat in the de-stocking of emaciated animals in a program by the government and the Kenya Red Cross to buy livestock, slaughter and distribute the meat as relief food to the most affected families following a prolonged drought near Lengusaka in Wamba, Samburu county, Kenya July 27, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

LENGUSAKA, Kenya, Aug 2 (Reuters) – In Kenya’s northern Samburu County, severe drought has forced herders to migrate hundreds of kilometres in search of pasture and water, meaning some may have to skip voting in elections set for Aug. 9.

People are more focused on trying to save their animals and livelihoods than on casting their ballots.

“The problem is that our pastoralists have gone very far to look for pasture… They will not get a chance of coming back to vote,” said Paul Paradisi, administrator of Koiting Location in Samburu County with about 6,800 residents.

Poor rainfall means around four million people in Kenya are currently facing acute food shortages, and cases of child malnutrition have surged by half in parts of the country. Read full story

Read more: USAID pledges Kenya $255 mln to fight drought, appeals to rich countries to help

To cushion the impact, the government and Kenya Red Cross will spend some 24 million shillings ($202,190) to buy livestock for slaughter in Samburu County.

The meat from the animals will be given back to the herders after they have been killed.

Mary Yanaiyo, mother of eight from Koiting Location, told Reuters that people were suffering because the rains had failed and food prices skyrocketed.

“The children went to graze the cows far away and we don’t know when they will come back,” she said, as government officials and Red Cross personnel distributed meat behind her.

Kenya holds presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on Aug. 9.

($1 = 118.7000 Kenyan shillings)

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