Spokesperson’s Weekly Briefing, State House Nairobi, 19 February 2017

On February 19, 2017 In Statements and Speeches

Morning Ladies and Gentlemen. And thank you for joining us this week. 1.Drought Situation Let start by talking about the drought situation Kenya is experiencing severe drought due to depressed rainfall which has led to crop failure and extreme livestock, water and vegetation deficit. - Twenty-three counties are affected - The number of people in need of relief assistance has doubled from 1.3 million in August 2016 to close to 3 million currently. - 300, 000 of these people are in non-ASAL areas and this represents about 20 per cent of the population in pastoral areas and 18 per cent in marginal agricultural areas. The worst affected are the most vulnerable usually the elderly, sick, children under five and mothers. - As a result of this vegetation deficit, livestock prices are falling as body condition declines. Goat prices in December were up to 25 per cent below their five-year averages. So livestock is being affected in these communities where drought is ravaging. - Food prices across the country are showing an atypical increase due to below-average production in 2016. Current prices are 10–25 per cent above their five-year averages and will probably rise further. - The nutrition situation is extremely critical with acute malnutrition levels of above 30 per cent in Turkana, Turkana North, Mandera, Marsabit and North Horr. In addition, critical levels of malnutrition are recorded in Baringo East, Isiolo, and the rest of Turkana. - The government had allocated KSh 5.4 billion in the first stage of drought mitigation interventions the period covered November 2016-January 2017. For the second phase, which covers the period which we are in-February-April, an additional KSh 11.6 billion is required and for Phase Three between April-August another KSh 7.1 billion will be required. - Towards this the government has allocated KSh 7.3 billion already and that leaves a gap of KSh 11.4 billion, which the government is also mobilizing. A few days ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought a national disaster and a formal Kenya Gazette notice will be published to this effect. Kenya convened a meeting with international partners last week as part of enhanced efforts to mobilise these additional resources to focus on mitigating the effects of drought and we can already report a tremendous positive response to this. The relevant government departments will be giving a brief on this in due course. In addition, all Kenyans of goodwill are also doing whatever they can to help those affected. Only on Friday, the Centum Group gave President Kenyatta a cheque for KSh 22 million towards this goal and we do expect others to follow. The government prefers that 50% of its mitigation is done through cash transfers which enables people to have purchasing power to decide what it is that they want to eat and that gives them greater sense of dignity. The other 50% especially the most needy areas food relief will go as matter of urgency and as first point of intervention.
  1. Doctors’ Strike
Council of Governors and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) — the main parties to the doctors’ strike — have continued negotiations throughout the weekend in order to meet a timeline to report on progress. The National Government continues to play its role to mediate and advise between the doctors and their employers, the County Governments. As has been the case throughout this process, the National Government will continue to support negotiations in every way possible. The Ministry of Labour, which has historically been charged with stepping in, as a broker, during contentious negotiations between employers and employees, is lending its experience to each and every party. Officials of the Ministry of Health have also remained engaged throughout the process with the aim of adding value and support to driving the negotiations towards a speedy resolution and return to work. Which is what all of us are working towards.
  1. Kenya informal settlement improvement program (KISIP)
The objective of KISIP is to improve living conditions in informal settlements in 15 selected urban centers in 14 counties in Kenya through infrastructure and tenure security.Interventions in the provision of infrastructure under KISIP include settlement access roads, foot paths, high mast lighting, water and sanitation. This is a joint program between the national government, World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The following towns have so far benefited from various infrastructural projects which are either completed or at advanced stages of completion; Nairobi (Kayole Soweto and KCC settlement): Machakos (Swahili and Kariobangi settlements); Nakuru (Kaptembwa kwaRhoda, Gilani settlements) Uasin Gishu in Eldoret Town (Huruma, Munyaka, Kamukunji); Naivasha (Karagita, Kasarani, Kamere kihoto settlements) and Malindi town in Kilifi (Kwa Ndomo, Sir Ali Maweni and Kibokoni). Infastracture works have commenced in Kitui, Embu and Malindi while Kisumu is about to start. Of course residents of those informal settlements will be extremely delighted by the improved service delivery in their areas. Improved infrastructure which helps in terms of their security, in terms of their health and in terms of  getting around to do their business on what we are trying to achieve which is a 24 hour basis in terms of access to utilities. The benefits accrued as a result of this project include: An estimated 250,000 people in informal settlements who have been provided with access to improved drainage and access to all-season roads.  You know these to be particularly major problem in areas such as the ones we have mentioned. Additionally, an estimated 122,000 people in informal settlements have been provided with access to improved water sources under KISIP. This is a particularly important thing provided that access to clean water has remained quite a challenge for a vast number of our people across the country.   Manoah Esipisu, MBS Secretary of Communication & State House Spokesperson   Email: spokesperson@president.go.ke Twitter: @MEsipisu

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