Kenya appeals for aid for 10 million hungry

Kenya NairobiNairobi- Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Friday appealed for 470 million dollars to feed 10 million people facing a food shortage in the East African nation.

Kibaki called a national emergency, blaming the shortages on drought, a disruption to planting by last year's post-election violence and high fertilizer costs.

However, the government is also investigating a scandal in which millions of bags of maize imported to address the crisis were allegedly sold on to South Sudan by a cartel involving agricultural ministry officials.

Kenya's arid north, which borders with Ethiopia, is worst hit by the crisis.

Kibaki said that Kenya was putting up over 60 million dollars itself and would import 7 million bags of maize.

Many ordinary Kenyans are angry at the maize corruption scandal, one in a series of recent accusations of political graft.

There is also anger that Kenya is sending a high-level delegation to Washington for the inauguration of Barack Obama, despite the fact that only the Kenyan ambassador to the United States is invited to the ceremony.

Obama's father was Kenyan and he is seen by many as a son of the East African nation.

A former government official, Kalembe Ndile, dumped a television set in front of the Foreign Ministry in protest, saying that Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula should stay at home and watch the inauguration on TV.

Kenyans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the coalition government, which was created to bring the election violence to an end.

Many believed that the new government would bring an end to decades of corruption, but the scandals have put paid to that notion. (dpa)