Another Maize Scandal worth over shs 30 billion has erupted

The Government of Kenya is that type of a Government you know is delivering when there is a scandal brewing. Only recently did the Government waste shs 6 billion on Huduma Number registration, a totally useless exercise. Even before the saliva of the wasted billions could settle, someone, probably left out of the meat table in the first round, decided to say that Kenyans need a second round of Huduma Number registration, explaining that the 11 million Kenyans who missed the mass registration need their own mass registration. This is despite the Government clearly saying that Huduma Number registration is a continuous process where those left out in the mass registration round could go to a chief’s camp to hand over their fingerprints. Before the second batch of shs 6 billion can be wasted in another Huduma Number registration, someone is already planning how to eat a large chunk of shs 30 billion in another round of maize scandal.

The maize scandal has been brought to the surface by the Chairman of Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) Hon. Noah Wekesa who on Wednesday attacked the Ministry of Agriculture for planning to import 12.5 million bags of maize, yet, according to Wekesa, Kenya needs only 2 million bags to see the country through the remaining two months before the harvest is ready. Kenya has run out of maize following a prolonged drought that saw the long rains start towards the end of April instead of the usual mid February and early March. The argument by Wekesa is that if the government imports the 12.5 million bags, then the excess grain will have saturated the market making it impossible for farmers who are about to harvest their maize to get market for their harvest.

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Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has however defended the government’s decision to import the maize citing acute shortage of the grain. Mr. Kiunjuri reasoned that if maize was in abundance, then maize prices couldn’t have short from shs 2,800 recorded in December 2018 to over shs 4,000 that’s the current rate in the market. The argument by Wekesa is however far from that, as Wekesa argues for the readiness of the harvest hence urging the government to import only 2 million bags. It is however very easy to read beyond the headlines as every time Kenya goes through maize shortage, there is always a politician, a cartel member, or a government employee who salivates on the possible billions he can eat through scandalous importation of the grain.

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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