We must fight for our right to eat!
- Dear Kenyans and friends of Kenya,Today, Bunge la Mwananchi members who were arrested on 31st May 2008 for participating in a peaceful procession to drammatize their lack of food due unchecked food price increase.We have prepared the following press statement, will be distributing to journalists and you can help us ditribute further through your networks. Thank you.For Bunge la MwananchiGeorge Nyongesa
BUNGE LA MWANANCHI
Press statement, 09/09/08
We are defending the right to food for all Kenyans!
We are hungry and angry Kenyans who have chosen to stand up and demand that the government ensures the right to food for all Kenyans. We are tired of eating “airburgers”; we are tired of watching our children go to bed hungry and we can no longer keep to the-skip-a-meal program.
This government and our society cannot claim to uphold any human rights if it does not as a minimum respect the right to food from which life is assured consequently other human rights emanate.
In a country where the President, the Prime Minister and the Vice President will spend over K.Shs.2.4 billion on their households, public relations service, lavish state functions, political party retreats, and run unnecessary paid up advertisements in the media, it is unacceptable that the government cannot substantively subsidize basic commodities consumed by the Mwananchi such as unga, kerosene, milk, bread and rice.
In a country where the government can give Ksh. 9.6 million per annum, money for nothing as an allowance for political wives’ luxuries, it is scandalous that our people, hidden by the inaccessibility of slums are starving because they cannot afford food.
In country where the rich in our society can afford meat, milk, chicken and biscuits for their dogs and cats, it is despicable that our children are malnourished from starvation, must eat rats and wild berries to survive and even miss school because of hunger.
It is for this reason that on May 31st, 2008 hundreds of Kenyans especially urban poor, thronged into our Capita City streets to dramatize their struggles over the unchecked food prices increase and hard economic times. The young people came out to put faces to statistics of unemployment and youth poverty. Reacting, the government through its oppression machinery, the police, disrupted, teargassed and beat up women and children taking part in the peaceful procession. Gacheke, Ojiayo, Odipo, Gitau, Helen and Odhiambo were arrested and charged with illegal assembly notwithstanding that the organizers of the procession had met legal requirements as set out in our constitution. The police went further to occupy all our meeting space and have continued to harass, arbitrarily arrest and threaten our members across the country.
Since then we have been involved in a protracted court process that has disrupted our families, is stressing our small finances: transport fare for repeated court appearances and has also destabilized our focus in searching for livelihoods.
We believe that God in His unfailing wisdom put enough food in this country for all our needs and not for some people's greed. We believe that if the rich decided to grow rich slower all of us can have some jobs. We believe that if our government and society was people-sensitive no one could hold two, three or four jobs while we have none at all. We believe that all human beings are born equal but it is socio-economic structures created by some selfish individuals that shackle us in hunger, unemployment, poverty and poor living conditions. The pangs of hunger, our thirsty for clean water, the cold nights on sidewalks, the pinch of poverty, the stench of poor living conditions cannot wait for the year 2030 which is visionless ab initio!
We therefore demand urgent government intervention starting with making food affordable to all Kenyans in the next 30 days failure to which, Kenyans will not allow them to carryout business as usual. We demand that all Kenyans who care to be concerned must join us to correct the evils in our society.
Bunge la Mwananchi
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