“Prioritize Security, Food, Environment,” Archbishop Urges

(CISA) -Archbishop Zachaeus Okoth has challenged the government to ensure that issues pertaining to food security, environment, and good governance were prioritized.

The archbishop, who is the chair Commission for Peace and Justice Commission, said the issues had negative impacts on human development.

The Catholic primate, who was addressing hundreds of Catholic faithful during the official launching of this year’s Lenten Campaign on Sunday, February 14 in Garissa, said the bishops are ready to cooperate with the government on the issues due to their centrality in human development.

On food security, Archbishop Okoth , who is the head of the Archdiocese of Kisumu, said many Kenyans were not hungry due to bad soil, but simply because the government had not developed infrastructure for irrigation in the drier places.

“The availability of water to the people and less dependency on rain water for agricultural needs can easily change our country for the better in terms of food production,” stressed the archbishop, who was flanked by the local Ordinary, Bishop Paul Darmanin.

On insecurity, the Archbishop said, “This has its own negative impact on the people. Some people are not able to move freely in some parts of the country due to the insecurity. The government should ensure that security is put in place and maintained too. This will impact well on business, farming, etc,” he stressed.

The archbishop also urged the government and local communities to ensure that the environment was prioritized, observing that some of our dry areas could effectively be turned into green zones through well laid out programmes.

“It’s rather sad that the government can manage to have oil pumped from Mombasa-Coastal City to Busia (Kenya/Uganda border), while the same can hardly be said of the water, say from Lake Victoria to the country’s arid and semi-arid area in the northern parts for irrigational purposes,” he noted.

The archbishop launched the 2010 Lenten Campaign, witnessed by more than 20 Peace and Justice Commissioners, drawn from all the dioceses, in the country on behalf of the Kenyan Bishops.

Local Ordinary, Bishop Darmanin thanked Archbishop Okoth on behalf of other bishops, for picking Garissa Diocese to launch this year’s Lenten Campaign, whose theme is: Towards Healing and Transformation.

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KENYA: Government Launches the First Census for the Disabled
NAIROBI, February 16, 2010 ([ file://cisa2009/Cisa2009/Cisa/CISA/Bulletins%20Out/http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/ ] CISA) -The first registration of people with disabilities since independence has started in Kenya.

The National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) is conducting the registration. The disabled will be identified and details about where they live and work recorded. This will help the government in planning for them.

The documentation of people with disabilities has already been done in Nyanza, Coast and Central provinces.

Speaking during the five-day launch of the counting exercise for people with disabilities in Kakamega, the NCPD accounts assistant, Isaac Manyonge said, Kshs. 200 million has been set aside by the Treasury in this year’s budget for empowerment of people with disabilities.

The money will also fund business projects for the physically challenged.

Manyonge said the disable will also be assisted to form groups through which they will apply for loans.