Residents of Tiaty East in Baringo County on Tuesday, October 18, took to the streets to protest delay in distribution of relief food from the national government.
The irate residents accused Deputy County Commissioner Josiah Odongo of a plot to sell the food instead of distributing it to locals, who are on the verge of starvation.
The protesters holding placards and chanting anti-Odongo slogans marched to Tangulbei, the Sub-county headquarters, where they demanded that the DCC releases the food without further delay.
Sally Kosgei, a resident while expressing her grievances, said that they were afraid that the administrator would again sell the relief food, something that had allegedly become a norm.
“Do not take advantage of our disadvantage, release our food, the relief food is ours and not meant to keep staying in the office, we are dying of hunger, release the food, that’s what has brought us over here,” angry Kosgei said.
Mary Chepkeitany, another resident, said this is not the first time the DCC is holding food meant for residents at his office.
She asked relevant authorities to take action and ensure the food reaches deserving Kenyans.
Accusing the DCC of taking advantage of the biting hunger, the woman lamented that during the previous drought, Odongo would distribute relief food to a few residents and take a photo of them receiving it and sell the rest.
“We were a bit relieved when the president flagged off the relief but we are yet to benefit despite our county being one of the beneficiaries. We are crying because we have nowhere to source the relief,” she lamented.
Odongo has, however, refuted the claims, insisting that nobody has intention of selling the food.
While accusing the demonstrators of malice, the DCC told a local TV station that the relief food was intact in the stores.
He said the distribution exercise will kick off in the course of the week.
Odongo confirmed that he had received 720 bags of beans, 400 bags of rice and some 200 bags of corn beef last Saturday.
He said the distribution had been delayed because he was engaged in a security meeting with the County Commissioner.
The administrator said there are a number of logistics that need to be laid down before the distribution of food to more than 30 sub-locations begins.
“We cannot give out the relief food without planning with the distribution committee for efficient distribution, we are yet to sit down with the committee members to budget for all the 14 locations, and identify the needy persons who are to be targeted, as we give food according to the needs,” Odongo noted.
The officer, however, noted that the food is not enough as the drought situation counties to worsen and called for more intervention measures to cushion residents.