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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Government has gone to sleep on armyworms

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It is not surprising that the government has not swiftly responded to the threat that the armyworms pose despite the evidence of the damage caused so far.
Just like government has failed to respond to situations in the past – which called for urgent action — all we hear are familiar stories pointing to the fact that the government has no money to quickly respond to the situation.
But for a government that must be seen to be serious, such excuses must not be entertained. We believe there should always be a Plan B but that, at the moment, cannot be seen.
What we see is that the government is still sleeping and there is no indication that someone would be responsible enough to treat the danger the armyworms pose with urgency.
While the government is sleeping, and its officials enjoying what the festive season can offer, the armyworms are spreading very fast in the fields and excuses at this point must not be tolerated.
All we want to see is the government doing something about this dire situation.
But as has been the case in the past, the government’s focus might be elsewhere and one would question whether the government sees danger at all. We would not be wrong to suspect that someone is waiting for the worst to happen so that they can benefit from such, yet what we all know is that the right response at the right time would be enough to avert the danger.
To read that more than 50 percent of the country’s fields can be wiped out in six weeks is a clear indication that there is no time to waste. Only the government can explain why it is procrastinating on this when almost everyone understands that this is a serious situation which requires a swift response to save the few crops that we can.
Much as we appreciate that the government might not have the resources to respond quickly – relying on donors to help as usual – they should not use that to defend themselves but instead they should find ways of intervening.
What worries us – which should be everyone’s concern – is that the government is still eyeing the donors for help yet what we are told is that most of them have closed for holidays. Is waiting for donors all what the government can do?
After struggling to address the hunger situation in the past few years, the country produced enough in the past year. We are afraid the armyworms will erode the substantial gains the country made in the last growing season.
This is the reason we want the government, for once, to do things differently and see the danger the armyworms pose. This is what a serious government ought to do, rather than
enjoying a sleep while things are getting worse.

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