Deputy President William Ruto has for the second time insisted that no one has died from the famine situation in the country.
Speaking during the Inter-professional Summit in Mombasa on Wednesday, DP Ruto dismissed media reports that 11 people have so far died of hunger in drought-stricken parts of Turkana, Baringo and West Pokot, terming them as misguided.
“There is a lot of fake news around what is happening in Kenya. For example, we were told the other day that 11 people have died, that is not true from where I seat – from all the professionals that we have,” said Ruto.
He stated that the government had arrested a chief and other local leaders who supposedly reported the deaths.
“These are people are taking a very serious matter involving human life and playing around with it.”
His statement contradicts that of West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo who on Wednesday confirmed that two people had lost their lives in his county due to starvation.
“There are reports in the papers that say 30 people have died; others say 40. But I can confirm that two people have died at Akulo, an area at the extreme end of my County, bordering Tiaty (Baringo County) and Turkana South (Turkana County). They have no water, we have sent bowsers to distribute water to schools and other areas.
“As a country, we have bought maize with the little money we have but we need assistance from the national government because they know we have to be given a share for relief food every year, but we have not received anything for the past two years.”
The Deputy President early this week said the government had released Ksh2 billion to mitigate the drought situation noting that there was “no cause for alarm as the situation was under control”.
Meanwhile, Kenyans on social media have expressed their displeasure with the government’s handling of the famine crisis.
Through the hashtag #WeCannotIgnore, a majority of Kenyans faulted the government’s slow response to the suffering of the people in the drought-stricken areas and their disregard for early warning signs. They termed Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa’s transportation of maize to the famine-hit areas on Tuesday as nothing but a PR gimmick aimed at saving face.