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Turkana political leaders decry rising levels of poverty in the region

KNA    Political leaders in Turkana County have expressed displeasure over the increasing levels of poverty and under-development in the region.

This is according to a recent research report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the University of Nairobi which ranked Turkana as both the poorest and most unequal devolved unit in the country.

The leaders, led by the Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes have now attributed the problem to gross mismanagement of funds that the county government receives from the national government each financial year.

“Poverty has remained endemic in the region but Turkana should not be facing such a problem when billions of shillings are being allocated to the county every other financial year, alongside other donor funds from UNDP funds, Oxfam and a host of other NGOs operating in the area,” reiterated Munyes.

The leaders called for a forensic audit to determine why the massive funding has not yet changed livelihoods in the county.

According to the report, by Turkana standing at 79.4 per cent absolute poverty rate, it implies the incapability of a family of individual to meet their basic needs including food, shelter, safe drinking water, education and healthcare.

The leaders expressed their discontentment that the constituents can’t get access to the very basic needs that everyone requires to sustain personal life.

“How can we miss water, we can’t feed our people, we can’t get medicine to our hospitals and even the county continues to be poorer and poorer?” posed Munyes.

On his part, Loima Member of Parliament Jeremiah Lomorukai appreciated the report by KNBS, adding that it painted a clear picture of the present situation of livelihoods in Turkana County.

“As a local leader, I fully support the report that clearly indicates that we in Turkana are still far much behind compared to all other counties in Kenya,” noted Lomorukai.

The legislator however called upon the county government to move with speed and exploit the existing natural resources like rivers and underground aquifers, with a view to establishing mega irrigation schemes to maximize food production and offer a long lasting solution to the perennial hunger problem in the area.

“Let the county administration embrace technology to exploit the available underground water and permanent rivers like Turkwel and Kerio to establish drip irrigation and ensure ordinary residents are able to put food on the table,” he said.

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