DP Ruto says reports of people dying of hunger are ‘fake news’


DP Ruto says reports of people dying of hunger are 'fake news'
File image of Deputy President William Ruto. PHOTO| COURTESY

The government has escalated its denial that people are dying of hunger in the country, with Deputy President William Ruto now terming the current reports of death due to drought effects as fake news.

The DP on Wednesday said “from where I sit and from all professionals that we have,” no one has died from the effects of the ongoing drought situation in the country.

“There is a lot of fake news around what is happening in Kenya. For example, we were told the other day that 11 people had died… that is not true from where I sit and from all professionals that we have,” said Ruto.

The deputy president went ahead to state that the government has arrested a Chief and several individuals who have been quoted in the media saying that people have died of hunger.

He accused the said individuals of ‘faking deaths’ and playing with human lives.

“In fact the chief and the other fellows who faked death we’ve taken them in for questioning because these are people who are playing with a very serious matter involving human lives,” said Ruto.

Statements by residents of various counties affected by drought indicate that at least 21 people have so far lost their lives.

The DP was speaking during the official opening of the 1st Inter-Professional Summit in Shanzu, Mombasa County.

At the same time, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i also insists that no one has died as a result of the famine ravaging various parts of the country.

According to Matiang’i, the said chief from Turkana County who had confirmed that several people had died of hunger is an impostor as he was “fired a long time ago.”

“It’s true we have not lost any life due to the drought situation. The chief purporting to report on the drought situation was fired a long time ago. The CC Baringo has confirmed that not deaths have occasioned by current drought situation,” said Matiang’i on Wednesday.

The affected counties include: Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Mandera, Kilifi, Tana River, Makueni, West Pokot, Kajiado, Kwale and Wajir.

On Monday, Deputy President William Ruto said the government is in control of the ongoing drought situation, adding that there should be no cause for alarm.

He said the government had released Ksh.2 billion for the supply of food and water to about 1.1 million Kenyans in the drought-stricken areas.

The government maintains that deaths reported in the areas affected by drought are as a result of ‘sicknesses’ and not hunger.

“Yes… The deaths are there but according to the reports we have received, those deaths are linked to maybe sicknesses and other issues but not drought,” said National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) CEO James Oduor on Monday.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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