The curse of poverty on Ganze’s shadow

GanzeIn search of food: A boy climbs a tree to pick wild fruits for food in Ganze in 2016

Established in 1988 as a constituency, Ganze has been the reference point of Kenyas face of poverty.

In 2007, Ganze was declared as the poorest constituency with the highest poverty index of 84 percent. The least poor constituency then was Kabete which had an index of 16.5 per cent.

Twelve years after getting that status, Ganze still grapples with poverty. Blessed with vast natural resources including rare minerals it is ironical to read that the constituency can hardly feed itself.

Though Ganze is an ASAL, the constituency has large arable land and probably the most vibrant ranching area.

In the days of yonder, Ganze used to record bumper harvests with Mwarandinda feeding most coastal towns with the juiciest pineapples. Cassava and bananas grew in abundance. Actually, it was not a crime to get into someone’s farm and uproot a cassava or even pick mangoes to eat. It was only a crime to carry some away from the farm.

Also Read: Condemned to poverty, the sad story of Kilifi county

Maize which is the staple food did very well that people would remove maize from their granaries and burn them so as to create space for a new harvest.

After the 1997/98 El Niño rains, things started going north for Ganze. Bumper harvests became history. Rivers and reliable water pans dried up.

This was the time the leadership needed to devise ways to save Ganze.

Rain or no rain

Right now availability and lack of rainfall means one and the same thing in Ganze-Problems to residents.

When the rains fail, Ganze will be on the headlines with new fatal drought. When rain eventually sets in, impassable roads is what we get from Ganze.

Ganze can be saved by very few projects.

Also Read: The shame of Ganze schools

The first and most important project is to open up Ganze. This can be done by upgrading the following roads to bitumen standards; Bamba-Ganze-Kilifi road. Bamba-Kidemu-Shangweni-Vitengeni-Matano Mane-Kakanjuni Road and finally link it to Malindi through Matano Mane-Baolala road. This will automatically open up the entire Ganze Constituency to the nearby economic hubs in the region.

Matters Agriculture, Ganze has one of the most vibrant livestock market at Bamba. With established road networks, Bamba can host slaughter houses as the area is already earmarked as a ranching area in the Kilifi county spatial plan.

Women wait for relief food in Ganze

Before the establishment of counties, there was a plan by Kilifi county council to pump water from Baricho to the apex of Mwangea hill then release it via gravity to all corners of Ganze. Mwangea is the highest point of Ganze constituency.

There was also a plan to establish an irrigation project on the foot of Mwangea hill. If these two projects can be revived, Ganze will never be the same again.

Ganze cannot be developed through CDF. The counties provided a chance for the revamping of Ganze’s economy. Even with millions of equalization money being sent to Kilifi courtesy of Ganze’s poverty index, Ganze still rummages in poverty.

Ganze MPs to date

From 1988 to 2002, Ganze was represented in the national assembly by Noah Katana Ngala, the first son to coast political king pin the late Ronald Ngala.

The Ganze electorate was not contented with the development record of Katana Ngala and decided to replace him with the late Joseph Kingi. By then Kingi was the Kilifi branch head of the fierce Kenya National Union of Teachers KNUT.

In 2007, Kingi was toppled by the former Provincial commissioner Francis Baya who after his five year term unsuccessfully contested for the Kilifi gubernatorial seat. Peter Shehe was elected in 2013 and in 2017 he was ousted by Teddy Mwambire who is the current MP.

Mwambire, a promising leader has time and resources to turn around the fortunes of Ganze.

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