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Kenyans are More Excited Over Climbing Compared to Planting Trees

“Kupanda mti,” amongst Kenyans, could either mean going up a tree or planting one. Courtesy of the Kenyan Government, the IMF, and the World Bank, Kenya now has a new holiday dubbed “Tree Planting Day.” However, Kenyans seem to care more about the trees that will be climbed rather than those that will be planted.


According to reports, Kenya was granted a chance to cash out billions in loans from the IMF and World Bank under certain conditions. To prove that Kenya is tackling climate change, this country was granted a loan increase of $650 million. Consequently, under the National Planning and Investment Framework, Kenya came up with a National Tree Planting holiday to prove its worth.

Kenyans are More Excited Over Climbing Compared to Planting Trees
Kenyans are More Excited Over Climbing Compared to Planting Trees | President William Ruto| Photo: Courtesy

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On Monday, November 13, millions of Kenyans were expected to join the President and other government officials in the tree-planting exercise. The Government declared this day a special holiday to plant 100 million trees as part of its 10-year goal of planting 15 billion trees. However, aside from tackling climate change, few Kenyans understand the true nature of this holiday and why it is there.

The first thing that often comes to Kenyans’ minds concerning holidays is clubbing and making merry. However, news over this holiday was received differently mainly because of the involvement of trees. Aside from resting in their houses or going out, Kenyans have associated this holiday with sex. Although most put it out jokingly, trust that nine months from now, few babies will be born courtesy of this day.

Each Kenyan is expected to plant at least two seedlings after the Government made available 150 million seedlings in public nurseries. The exercise will be monitored through an internet App which allows individuals and organizations to record activities. Prior to this holiday, President William Ruto had challenged Kenyans to plant 100 trees either on their private land or any place they could find.

First Lady Rachel Ruto took the challenge seriously and adopted 494 acres of Kakamega forest for reforestation and protection of the environment. On the other hand, most regular citizens took this as an invitation to add more members to their fornication list. Truly speaking, most Kenyans do not understand the government’s sudden interest in climate change.

As a result, the tree-planting exercise may not realize its long-term achievements if at all there are genuinely any. According to reports, Kenya was expected to make its first withdrawal of Sh80.2 billion from the $551.4 million Resilience and Sustainability Facility on November 7, 2023. The facility was secured by the International Monetary Fund. Hence the question, is the Kenyan government really interested in climate change or in the IMF dollars?

It would have actually been great news if Kenya was receiving this generous loan increase with the sole intention of tackling climate change. However, the current regime is known best for funding unannounced and unknown projects and ignoring the ones in its manifesto. In short, this loan increase means more loans for Kenyans to settle and more taxes for them to bear.

This is why most Kenyans cannot be blamed for choosing to spend this day on their own terms. After all, they will need to gain all the strength possible to be able to deal with the next tax bombshell the government throws at them. Before this holiday, the government had not carried out adequate mass sensitization on the importance of mass participation.

Nonetheless, it is a great initiative that the government of Kenya, the IMF, and the World Bank have taken. Climate change has killed and displaced millions of people all over the world this year alone. But for Kenyans to worry less about climate change, means they have more on their plates. President William Ruto appears to be eager and prepared to deal with any other thing than the cost of living in Kenya.

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Kenyans know well the impacts of climate change and the importance of tackling it, especially given the recent floods in Elwak, Mandera. Part of tackling climate change should involve effective and active government involvement in areas affected by climate change. Nevertheless, the government and its officials have very little to say concerning climate change and more about National IDs and Marriage Certificates.

All in all, happy Tree Planting Day, especially to those who have added to the population of trees. To those who have had other positive interactions with trees, we hope to meet, same time, same place, over the same agenda.


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