Editorials

Avoid food relief chaos

mukuru

A section of Mukuru kwa Reuben slum in Nairobi. One of the Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Sub-Sahara Africa is yet to meet the goal. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The plan to distribute food and other basic items to Nairobi’s most vulnerable families that have been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic is noble. If successfully rolled out it will go a long way in alleviating the human suffering that has so far gone under the radar.

We must, however, take valuable lessons from the previous effort to distribute food to the poor in the city. Poor planning led to chaotic scenes that saw the food grabbed by the strong to the detriment of those in real need.

The county government must therefore live up to the promise it made that this time around the distribution will be done door to door, following the mapping exercise it has undertaken to identify those in need of food assistance.

This will ensure that the food, which is being bought using taxpayers’ funds, reaches the intended recipients and can be accounted for.

Unplanned and haphazard distribution leads to diversion of the precious supplies to less deserving recipients, often in exchange for political support, and also opens the way for theft due to difficulty in accounting for the amount of food distributed.