November 25, 2022
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Friday commissioned the National Steering Committee of Drought Response and appealed to Kenyans to further complement government intervention efforts by contributing in cash or kind to the well-being of those in need.
The 15-member Committee, established through an Executive Order from the Office of the President issued on November 21, 2022, has been tasked to establish the private sector-led National Drought Mitigation Appeal Fund and mobilise resources to alleviate the impact of the drought ravaging parts of the country.
It will be chaired by Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa. Murage Murimi, from the Office of the Deputy President, will be its secretary.
“This team’s efforts will only be as good as our willingness to lend a helping hand. Now, more than ever, we need to rekindle our spirit of Harambee and be our brother’s and sister’s keepers,” Deputy President Gachagua, who is coordinating the national response to the drought said.
With millions of Kenyans on the brink of starvation owing to a prolonged drought, the DP urged Kenyans to freely donate to the drought kitty to be managed by the Committee that formally began work immediately after it was inaugurated.
Over four million Kenyans are in dire need of food following a severe drought that has hit close to half of the counties. The drought has been occasioned by failed rainfall over the last four years with fears of a similar pattern extending to next year.
International partners led by the United Nations agencies in the country last Monday launched a Flash Appeal targeting mobilization of $472.6 million (Sh57 billion) to support various drought mitigation programmes in the country.
While appealing to Kenyans to be part of providing short-term solutions to those in need, the DP said members of the Kenya Defence Forces have already offered to forego a day’s salary to contribute to the response kitty. The National Youth Service has also made its contribution.
“We appeal to Kenyans in food-surplus counties to make their contributions through the office of the governors and the county commissioners. The governors and county commissioners will work with the team we have unveiled today to coordinate the transfer of the donations to Kenyans in the 23 ASAL counties and pockets of 9 other counties,” said the DP.
The Steering Committee has been tasked with establishing a local private sector-led National Drought Mitigation Appeal Fund and mobilizing resources locally to alleviate the impact of the ravaging drought.
The Fund will be managed by the Kenya Red Cross.
The DP hosted the committee at his Harambee House Annex office where he requested them to get to work immediately. He also warned against any form of corruption or theft around the funds drive.
“The cartels who are taking advantage of the situation to con people will not know peace,” the DP said.
Safaricom Chief Executive, Peter Ndegwa, also appealed to the generosity of Kenyans, giving them the option of donating even their bonga points. Bonga points are a form of loyalty scheme, introduced in January 2007. It gives subscribers one Bonga point for every Sh10 spent on the Safaricom network, saying that some Sh4 billion worth of bonga points are held by Kenyans.
“We are ready and willing to deliver the mandate given to us. The task ahead of us will not be easy but I assure you and Kenyans that we are ready for this challenge,” said Ndegwa.
Mr. Ndegwa promised to get the ball rolling and that an official Paybill Number for Kenyans to contribute would be made public before the end of the day.
Other members of the Committee that will serve for one year from the day of gazettement are Dr. James Mwangi (Equity Bank CEO), Nasim Devji (Diamond Trust Bank CEO), Shamaz Savani (African Banking Corporation Bank CEO), Paul Rushdie Russo (KCB CEO) and Rebecca Mbithi (Family Bank CEO). Others are Jane Karuku (East African Breweries CEO), Joshua Chepkwony (Jamii Telecommunication CEO), Crispin Acholla (CEO, British American Tobacco), Dr. Asha Mohammed (Secretary-General Kenya Red Cross), Edwins Mukabanah (CEO, Kenya Bus Services Management), Patricia Mugambi Ndegwa (Impact Philanthropy Africa), Krishma Jitesh Chavda (ISHA Foundation) and Lt. Col. Hared Hassan (National Drought Management Authority).
The Committee Secretary is Murimi Murage from the Office of the Deputy President. Present during the inauguration of the committee were Cabinet Secretaries Alice Wahome (Water), Peninah Malonza (Tourism and Wildlife), and Rebecca Miano (EAC and ASALs).