Kenya’s embattled chief executive of the Electoral Commission Ezra Chiloba has turned to farming, two weeks after he was suspended from the controversial position.
By finding solace in farming, Mr Chiloba appears to have closed a chapter marred by the storm generated by last year’s general election
When Journalists visited him at Mutua village in Kwanza constituency, Chiloba was busy tilling his land.
“Don’t think Chiloba is idle. I’m busy in the village. I have much peace here. I am so tired of the noises out there. My target is to transform this piece of land into something more productive,” he said.
Chiloba bought the farm seven years ago and the property had been idle because he was busy with last year’s controversial elections over which many Opposition leaders demanded his resignation.
“I bought this land in 2011 but I had not put it to proper use because I was busy with the planning of the 2017 elections. This is the right time to make it useful,” he said.
On the farm, Chiloba has planted 600 stems of passion fruit, 500 tissue culture banana, 100 avocado and 3,400 coffee trees.
“I want to make the farm a model for the community. My desire is to make residents transform their lives through agribusiness instead of relying on maize which has become valueless and frustrated farmers.”
On the expansive farm, he intends to plant more than 4,000 tree seedlings. Some are already surrounding his compound.
To give back to the society, Chiloba has partnered with the county government and initiated a water project targeting two schools and more than 4,000 people in the area.
Though farmers in the county have enough land, he argues, it has not been put to good use to end poverty.
“We have enough land in the county but it has not been utilised well. There is need for residents to exploit opportunities in agribusiness. This will transform their lives,” he said.
Many farmers, he noted, have concentrated on maize farming despite poor returns so prices are not encouraging.
“Our farmers have to move away from maize dependency and into other options. The national and county governments have to support farmers in weed and pest control. Storage facilities should be provided,” he added.
Chiloba was suspended on April 9 by the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati “because of procurement issues.”
Although Chiloba went to court over his suspension, the High Court in a ruling on April 13, declined to issue orders to reinstate him back to work.