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Drought: Keen family joins in relief effort

This initiative was a personal commitment by the family of the late John Keen and done without involving non-governmental organizations tackling hunger-related issues in the county

The family of the late Maasai politician John Keen has joined efforts to stave off the pain of drought and hunger currently being experienced in most of Kajiado County.

Lucy Somoire, a daughter-in-law of the late assistant minister, said they were alarmed by the devastating effects of the drought and decided to extend help to neighbours and villagers at their rural home.

“I reached out to my friends and family members, who gave their contributions,” said Mrs Somoire. “We made donations to about 200 people in Muruoloibor village in Kajiado South.”

“The donation was very helpful,” said village elder Njuguna ole Ntooki. “The drought situation is moving from bad to worse. It has not rained. We are forced to look for pastures inside the Amboseli National Park.”

The contribution consisted of 65 bales of maize flour. “Some we gave three packets of 2kg each, while others got up to four packets,” said Mrs Somoire.

This initiative was a personal commitment by the family of the late John Keen and done without involving non-governmental organizations tackling hunger-related issues in the county. “If the drought persists, I will have to go back and do something,” said Mrs Somoire. “If everything goes well and hopefully it rains, then we end the matter there.”

Since this was a limited effort, the family will not be rolling out further donations across other deserving areas, but hoped that it would make a difference to beneficiaries. Mrs Somoire encouraged those who are in a position to help to do so, saying the situation was becoming more dire by the day.

Various organizations and individuals have taken the initiative to give donations to victims of the unforgiving drought that has seen the carcases of thousands of livestock strewn across the width and breadth of Kajiado County. Even though both the national and county governments have played a role in enabling food donations, the scale of the problem has meant that many families remain in serious need of help.

The late John Keen died in 2016 after an illustrious political career spanning several decades. His involvement in politics began in the pre-independence era and continued through the administrations of the late Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki. He is remembered for not only attending the Lancaster House conference that paved the way for Kenya’s independence, but also for maintaining an independent stand on controversial issues.

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