A public ‘kamukunji’ aimed at discussing and seeking solutions to the challenges facing maize farmers in the country instead turned into angry lecture directed at the politicians present.
One particularly angry farmer even proclaimed that it is ‘better to die than to live in Kenya’ as the political leaders listened pensively from the high table.
Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Senators Gideon Moi, Aaron Cheruiyot, Kipchumba Murkomen, James Orengo, Gideon Moi, and Moses Wetangula were among those in attendance during the public forum in Uasin Gishu county.
The forum had been planned in a way that the politicians would listen and respond to the plight of farmers, instead the politicians were subjected to lengthy lectures from the farmers.
Each farmer who was accorded an opportunity to speak hit out at the leaders and government for not doing enough to help them market their produce.
Some farmers even accused the politicians of being behind the current mess which has left them waiting for payments for months after delivering on their promise.
“Those making us suffer are from our own region (Rift Valley). It is not Orengo or Weta(ngula) making us suffer. We know them. I can tell our leaders here that their days are numbered. Some of us would rather die than live in Kenya,” one farmer said.
“Look at how these small children (the politicians) are playing with our work. Weta, Orengo and Moi, you are senior leaders, is this how you run your homes?” another farmer quipped.
“Thank you for earning one million shillings (every month) we are worse off here, our children have yet to report to school. I know your children are in Australia and the USA,” yet another farmer hit out.
“We (the farmers) suspect that you (politicians) are the biggest cartels. That is the truth of the matter (applause). Or else why can’t you name the cartels?”
The government has increasingly come under fire from farmers over how last year’s produce was managed.
In some instances, Nairobi News has learnt that most farmers have yet to be paid for the produce delivered in the country from as far back as January 2018.
Others farmers are still stuck with last year’s produce in their stores for lack of market even amid reports that the government allowed in and bought maize produce from a neighbouring country.
The government is also investigating reports that some individuals were paid millions of shillings for lump sum maize delivered to the cereals board even though they are not farmers.