EACC warns governors out to misappropriate funds meant for EL-NINO preparedness

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-the commission had gathered intelligence suggesting that certain counties and national government officials were devising plans to divert public funds intended for mitigation measures-

Men cross a flooded maize field .Courtesy/SciDev.Ne

  U-TURN ON EL-NINO RAINS

The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) issued a warning on August 30th, 2023, indicating that heavy rains are expected from October, extending into early 2024. The department issued weather alerts to several counties, including Nyamira, Kisii, Baringo, Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, Kakamega, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Migori, and Homa Bay, forecasting heavy rainfall and thunderstorms during this period.

Kenya braced itself for El Nino rains from October through early 2024. Both county and national governments had taken proactive measures. These measures include establishing emergency centers in affected counties and setting up dedicated emergency hotlines. Additionally, health facilities have been stocked to address potential health concerns.

The County Government of Machakos, under the leadership of Governor Wavinya Ndeti allocated Sh90 million to mitigate the effects of the upcoming El Nino rains. Governor Ndeti emphasized that the disaster fund is just one part of the comprehensive measures the county government has put in place to reduce potential risks associated with heavy rains.

In Nairobi County, 3,500 youths were recruited to join the “Green Nairobi” team. Their tasks include cleaning the city, unclogging and maintaining drainage systems, and collecting garbage, among other activities aimed at keeping the city clean. Recently, 2,500 of these recruits joined Governor Sakaja Johnson and Cabinet Secretary for Lands, Housing, and Public Works, Zachariah Njeru. An additional 1,000 youths will were recruited to reach a total of 3,500 members in the “Green Nairobi Army.”

Governor Sakaja Johnson emphasized that Nairobi County had devised plans to prevent the potential hazards associated with above-average rainfall, which can lead to flooding. Ensuring the timely unclogging of drainage systems is a key component of these plans to allow for the steady flow of water and minimize the risk of flooding. Meanwhile, the County Government of Turkana, in collaboration with its development partners, had identified 15 out of 30 wards that were at risk of flash floods.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua held a meeting on September 28th, 2023, with Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, and disaster management agencies to discuss Kenya’s preparedness for the impending El Nino rains. Gachagua emphasized the importance of collaboration among various stakeholders, both local and international, to develop a comprehensive mitigation plan. He stated, “We are working tirelessly to refine and consolidate the response plan to minimize its negative impact in regions expected to be heavily affected by the heavy rainfall.”

Deputy President Gachagua expressed deep concern about potential disruptions in key sectors such as education, agriculture, and infrastructure. He said, “Our children are preparing for national examinations, parents are gearing up for the harvest, and the business community is actively contributing to the country’s economic development. The government is implementing significant infrastructure projects to enhance service delivery to the people. All of these endeavors will be interrupted.”

On October 21st, 2023, President William Ruto announced that Kenya would not experience El Nino as earlier predicted by scientists in the country. Instead, he stated that the October-November-December season would bring short rains that were not expected to have devastating impacts on farmers. President Ruto expressed his gratitude, saying, “We had been informed that we would face El Nino that would cause destruction, but, ultimately, we won’t experience El Nino. The department has revised its forecast, and we will have significant, but manageable, rains. We are thankful.”

Twalib Mbarak, the CEO of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), raised concerns about a potential plot by some county governors and public officials to misuse public funds under the guise of preparing for El Nino rains. Mbarak revealed that the commission had gathered intelligence suggesting that certain counties and national government officials were devising plans to divert public funds intended for mitigation measures related to the anticipated El Nino rains.

A critical question arises: who will be held accountable for the funds that were allocated for the El Nino rain disaster, now that it appears El Nino may not occur as previously forecasted, leaving over 10 billion budgeted for these preparations in question?

 

REPORT BY: JESSE ABISHECK

Email: abijessyshi@gmail.com

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