Kenya: Help solve famine crisis, Musyoka urges churches

Kitui,Jan. 25, 2009. Churches in Kenya have been challenged to play a leading role in the search for long-term solutions to perennial famine facing the country, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has said.Mr. Musyoka said it was time church leadership teamed up with the Government in looking for lasting solution to problems currently facing the nation. He said the current famine which has since been declared a national disaster needed concerted efforts of the Government, Churches and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) among other development partners if it has to be contained.

Addressing thousands of church faithful at the Kitui township today during the installation of new Kitui African Inland Church (AIC) Bishop, Rev. Benjamin Mukuu, the Vice President reiterated the Government's commitment to looking for long-term solution to the problem.

The service was conducted by presiding AIC Bishop Silas Yego.

"It is particularly sad that some lives have already been lost to famine as some residents have resorted to eating wild fruits which are sometimes poisonous because of lack of food," said Mr. Musyoka.

Mr. Musyoka said the problem of famine in Ukambani has been compounded by 99 percent crop failure following prolonged drought that had hit the area recently.

"The church leadership should continue praying for the nation so that leaders can team up irrespective of political leanings and look for lasting solution to problems currently facing the country," he said.

"This is the time for the church leadership to demonstrate its commitment to helping the Government through prayers so that problems facing the people of Kenya can be solved once and for all," said Mr. Musyoka.

He lauded the role played by the media in highlighting the famine problems facing many parts of the country noting that the move has attracted attention of many governments willing to help the people of Kenya solve the problem once and for all.

"I wish to sincerely thank the Kenyan media for highlighting the plight of Kenyans who have been hard hit by famine. In fact, it is difficult for people in the world to know the situation of famine here if not because of the active role played by our media," he said.

The Vice President however, asked the media to downplay the issue of those criticizing the Head of State over the recent Cabinet reshuffle that saw former Finance minister Amos Kimunya reappointed to the Cabinet, Franklin Bett appointed as Roads Minister while Beatrice Kones appointed Home Affairs Assistant Minister.

"The Constitution gives the President powers to appoint and sack the cabinet and I do not see the reason why some leaders should criticize the latest reshuffle that he made last week," said Mr. Musyoka.

Earlier at Kitui secondary school, Mr. Musyoka warned students against engaging in immoral activities which might compromise with their academic standards.

He told them to maintain discipline at all times and put more emphasis on subjects whose job market was still open all over the world.

Mr. Musyoka said it was only through hardwork that the many problems facing their communities could be solved in the near future.

"I want you people to work hard so that you can help the country solve the problems it is facing. It should be clear that educated citizens are great resource a country can have,' he said.

On their part, MPs Kiema Kilonzo (Kitui East) and Charles Nyamai (Kitui West) challenged the church to be vocal on matters affecting the country noting that their deep silence at a time when the country was hit by famine and scandals was particularly worrying.

"They asked the AIC leadership to solve the problems facing the church for the faithful to emulate it. The people of Kenya depend on the church for spiritual guidance," said Kilonzo. Assistant Minister Mohammed Ali and Permanent Secretary Ali Mohammed attended the function.