Munya said a recent aerial surveillance had reveled most swarms comprised of what he termed as yellow locusts which he said would "die soon," dispelling fears of an imminent destruction of food crops that could potentially render the country food insecure/Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives
AUTHOR: By DAVIS AYEGA, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 21 -- The Senate on Thursday issued fresh summons to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to appear before the Agriculture Committee on Monday, February 24, to shed light on the locusts invasion menace that has caused panic among farmers in the country.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka made the ruling after Senators protested Munya's casual response to the matter after he failed to appear before the committee on Thursday morning citing other engagements.
"I direct that he appears on next week Monday failure to which the Senate will be forced to forcefully make him appear," he ruled.
In a letter dated 19 February 2020 authored and signed by Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga, Munya requested the Peter Ndwiga-led committee to have the session postponed to a later date.
"The CS will be in a Cabinet Sub-Committee meeting with the Council of Governors preparing for the Summit," read part of the letter.
So far 18 counties have been infested by locusts.
The counties include: Embu, Mandera, Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir, Samburu, Meru, Baringo, Turkana, Machakos, Kirinyaga, Tharaka Nith, Laikipia, Kitui, Tana River, Murang'a and Kajiado
Majority Leader Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) was irked by Munya's actions, citing the failure by the Cabinet Secretary to even sign the letter presented to the Senate himself to acknowledge that he would be unavailable for the session.
He noted that the locust menace was urgent and Munya should not be distracted by any other business.
He took a swipe at Munya over his remarks that the current locusts in the country are yellow and that they are too old to pose any danger to crops.
Nandi Senator Samsom Cherargei said that if the CS fails to appear on Monday he should be "frog matched to Parliament if he fails to come on his own volition". /Kenya Young Parliamentarian Association
"We cannot sit here and say that the minister can choose to come to the Senate and when not to. It is a joke that he can make such statements that the locusts will die," he said.
Minority Leader James Orengo accused Munya of exhibiting total disregard for the orders issued him and warned that the Senate would not take the matter lightly if it reoccurs.
"The Cabinet Secretary must appear before the committee so that Kenyans can be informed on what the government is doing about the situation," he said.
Nandi Senator Samsom Cherargei said that if the CS fails to appear on Monday he should be "frog matched to Parliament if he fails to come on his own volition".
Kitui Senator Enock Wambua while condemning Munya's action faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta for failing to make a formal statement about the situation.
"It is unfortunate that the President is yet to make a statement regarding this matter that risks bringing famine in the country," he said.
Munya Sunday told farmers in Embu that they should not worry because the desert locusts "are too old" having turned yellow.
"You don't need to worry at all, when you see them turn yellow, they are too old and about to die," Munya told farmers in Igoji on Sunday, after an aerial tour of the affected areas.
On Thursday government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said a total of nine aircraft have been deployed to undertake surveillance and spraying operations.
Five of the aircraft are fixed wing for spraying and 4 helicopters for surveillance. He added strict monitoring was being undertaken to control the spread.