KENYA LIVE NEWS EXCLUSIVE
One of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy projects is in limbo after the Government of Israel pulled the plug on the Sh14.5 billion Galana Kulalu irrigation project scheme.
Kenya Live News learnt the Israeli government had stepped in to rescue an Israeli firm – Green Arava Ltd –that was staring at massive losses following widespread fraud and corruption within the National Irrigation Board (NIB) which had signed a multi-billion contract the Israeli firm to undertake the wide scale irrigation project.
So serious is the matter that the Israeli government recently declined visas to Deputy President William Ruto and his wife Rachel following concerns over his role in NIB corruption. Ruto and Rachel were due to visit holy sites in Jerusalem for prayers.
It took the intervention of family friend Reverend Teresa Wairimu Nelson and Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke founder Christ for all Nations (CfaN) to plead to senior members of the Israeli government to rescind the decision.
Not only was the incident embarrassing to President Kenyatta, but it very nearly exploded into a diplomatic spat between Kenya and Israel. As at the date of publishing, we could neither confirm if the Rutos had received their visas.
The massive irrigation project was one of the primary initiatives Uhuru had taken to support his Agenda 4 legacy project of food security and was intended to cover about one million acres targeting food crop production on 10,000 acres in Kilifi and Tana River counties.
Ruto’s trip to Israel was instigated by his wife Rachel who insisted on taking her husband for cleansing after it became apparent that the family was suffering multiple misfortunes due to the fact DP Ruto had gained unholy access and was benefiting from stolen Jewish money whose purpose was to alleviate hunger in Kenya.
Kenya Live News learnt that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who made a state visit to Kenya in 2017 abruptly called off the third bunch of the funds for the Galana Kulalu project despite intense lobbying by DP Ruto.
The Israeli government has insisted that unless President Uhuru Kenyatta makes fundamental restructuring in government to keep DP Ruto and CS Mwangi Kiunjuri away from the Sh7.3 billion project, they will not have any further engagement with Kenya on agricultural cooperation.
Agriculturally, Kenya faces severe food insecurity. According to the US Agency for International Development, more than 3.4 million people in Kenya suffered from acute food insecurity in 2017.
Entrenched corruption has made it almost impossible to implement strategies to make the country food secure, either on the farms or in the Strategic Food Reserves.
Kenya has been forced to import maize, wheat and rice to meet the needs of its growing population. Food production is also dominated by smallholders farming comprising small plots of less than 0.5 hectares. Only about 6-8 percent of land is irrigated. The country’s main staple foods are highly vulnerable to poor rainfall and floods and face many constraints that erode their food production potential, including access to credit to acquire inputs.
From 2014 to date, only 5,000 acres, out of the targeted one million in Galana Kulalu has been put under crop with calls for work to be fast-tracked after installation of five pumps.
To make matters worse the much touted Jubilee government food security produced a paltry 22,000 bags of maize worth Sh35.2 million from Galana-Kulalu irrigation against an expenditure of a staggering Sh7.3 billion
An audit report for the 2015-2016 financial years for instance shows that the Galana Kulalu irrigation project scheme launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January 2014 to stock the country’s food basket with 20 million bags of maize only yielded 103,000 bags.