In northern Kenya, drought could prevent some herders from voting
LENGUSAKA, Kenya (Reuters) – In Samburu County, northern Kenya, a severe drought has forced herders to migrate hundreds of miles in search of pasture and water, meaning some may have to jump the vote in the elections scheduled for August 9.
People are more focused on saving their animals and their livelihoods than voting.
“The problem is that our pastors have gone to great lengths to look for pasture… They will have no chance of returning to vote,” said Paul Paradisi, administrator of Koiting Location in Samburu county of about 6,800 people.
Poor rainfall means around four million people in Kenya are currently facing severe food shortages, and cases of child malnutrition have risen by half in parts of the country.
To cushion the impact, the government and the Kenya Red Cross Society will spend some 24 million shillings ($202,190) to purchase cattle for slaughter in Samburu County.
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The meat of the animals will be returned to the breeders after they have been killed.
Mary Yanaiyo, a mother of eight from Koiting Location, told Reuters people were suffering because the rains had failed and food prices had soared.
“The children have gone away to graze the cows and we don’t know when they will be back,” she said, as government officials and Red Cross workers handed out meat behind her.
Kenya is holding presidential, parliamentary and local elections on August 9.
($1 = 118.7000 Kenyan shillings)
(Reporting by Thomas Mukoya; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Alexander Winning and Gareth Jones)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.