Bishops tell Nasa to keep politics out of maize row
The Catholic Church on Wednesday broke its silence on the controversy surrounding the importation of corn and called on NASA’s opposition to stop politicizing the issue.
However, the Kenya Bishops’ Conference called on the opposition to present evidence on allegations that imports were carried out by cartels and corrupt ones in government.
In a press release read in Bishop Stam Pastoral Center, Kakamega, clergy, representing 26 Catholic dioceses of Kenya, also asked the government “to get out of step” on the state of food security in the county.
“With the current confusion in maize and other raw materials, it is very sad that our leaders have made this an instrument of political campaign, while Kenyans continue to suffer and starve,” said Archbishop Martin Kivuva, vice president of conference.
Already, the state government has defended the decision to allow imports under its short-term strategy to reduce rising food prices.
State to fight hunger hunger by importing maize
Senior Agriculture Secretary Richard Lesiype said Tuesday that despite the shortage – predicted in early February – could have been avoided, the delay in storage silos was to avoid a reaction from farmers.
This is even as Nasa leader Raila Odinga, who has accused the government of creating an artificial food shortage to allow for importation, said on Sunday that the people behind the controversial imports would soon be named.
Odinga visited an incident for the government of the Grand Coalition, when the current vice president, William Ruto, was dismissed as Minister of Agriculture and said he intended to fight against corruption in government.
But, according to Archbishop Kivuva, the corn import debate has taken up the space that must be used to cope with rising food prices.
“The people are hungry and do not want to know how the corn was imported, how they entered the country. The most important thing is that food should be available to all,” he told the clergy.
They also criticized the increase in deaths in the country and called on the government to speed up investigations.
Flanked by Bishop Joseph Obanyi the diocese of Kakamega and the Reverend Peter Gichure, theological counselor, qualified staff worried and alarming increase of kidnapping cases and killing innocent Kenyans, including children.
Referring to the death of three children of a district district representative aspiring leaders Uasin Gishu called on the government to give priority to the safety of Kenyans and their assets despite political campaigns.
“We strongly condemn these acts of barbarism and ask the government to take immediate action against the perpetrators,” he said.
“The church is also concerned about cases of unfair security agents and excessive use of force in ongoing security operations in counties such as Baringo and Laikipia.”
“We call on competent authorities, such as the Office of the Inspector General of the Police, to expedite investigations into allegations of human rights abuses by security agencies,” he said.