Last Friday the World Food Programme (WFP) was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, a strong affirmation of the critical link between peace, politics, and socio-economics.
The award has a strong bearing on the current volatile situation in Kenya – a polarised political environment, economic hardships, and a looming food security crisis amid a pandemic.
WFP’s Nobel award demonstrates how far we are from achieving the goals the founders of our nation set out to eradicate at independence after a protracted struggle for freedom from colonialism – poverty, illiteracy, and disease.
Goals that remain elusive to date as we contend with the “hustler nation versus dynasty” parody making a mockery of our conscience and constitutional principles as the gravity of hunger and disease continues to haunt citizens.
Hunger is the clearest manifestation of the high poverty levels in our nation and the irony of an atrocious gap between the haves and the have-nots.
Yet the political class unashamedly continues to flaunt half-baked attempts to address poverty and inequities.
As Kenyans await the unveiling of the final report of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), its initiators have vital lessons to learn from the award given to WFP to guide them in driving an integrated national/county government socio-economic growth program.
Since inception in 1901 named in the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and arms manufacturer Alfred Nobel, the prize has been the subject of controversies, due to its political nature.
The prize is awarded to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition of or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
Notable winners include Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, and Kenya’s very own Wangari Maathai recognized for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.
WFP won for its efforts to combat a surge in global hunger as the Coronavirus pandemic causes devastation across the world.
A recognition of the untiring efforts of generations of humanitarian workers worldwide to defeat hunger.
Kenya is among many countries facing the threat of food insecurity, COVID-19, adding to this threat as the United Nations reports that there will likely be 265 million “starving people within a year”.
The impending global hunger pandemic, partly a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, should sound alarm bells for the authorities as Kenyans await the final BBI report.
Eradication of hunger should be one of the BBI’s priorities to achieve national peace and political and economic stability.
President Uhuru Kenyatta can counter the “hustler nation” narrative gaining traction within the hungry, poverty-stricken population, mostly the youth who easily fall prey to the allure of simplistic politically-laden “development gifts”.
Increased funding for his legacy ‘Big Four’ agenda, County governments, and the National Youth Service (NYS) provide a viable, achievable platform for inclusive growth and transformation to alleviate hunger, extreme poverty, and youth unemployment.
Food security is the most realistically attainable of the Big Four pillars through adequate funding for protection and inclusion in agriculture and the blue economy.
With the economy in the intensive care unit (ICU), uncertainty over COVID-19, the leadership must urgently address the political contestations that have exacerbated the social justice and human rights drama currently playing out in the public gallery.