Three Ukambani governors have signed an agreement ratifying the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (Sekeb) and warned leaders against politicising the outfit.
Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) also said they would establish a common markets protocol with a focus on industrialisation and increased agricultural production.
The event, hosted by Mutua at his Machakos office on Saturday, was witnessed by Africa Brotherhood Church Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, who is the interim chairman.
“Today is a historic day as it marks a new beginning for Ukambani region. The signing of this deal means we, as governors, will have more power to lobby for development in our region,” Mutua said.
Mutua said Sekeb welcomes ideas that will help transform the lives of residents and redeem them from the yoke of poverty.
“We promise our people that we will embark on programmes to build their capacities to create wealth. Sekeb will seek to address challenges facing residents of the three counties," said Mutua.
He added: "Our passion is to offer leadership that offers solutions to problems people are facing and ensure this region exploits its full potential to be economically secure."
"The writing was on the wall for leaders who are stuck in bad politics where all that citizens to is to clap for them even when they have done nothing to improve their lives."
Ms Ngilu called on leaders and residents to disregard what she termed retrogressive politics that will derail the dream of Sekeb.
“We are warning anyone who intends to drag bad politics into Sekeb that they will not succeed. It is time we stopped bad politics. We have what it takes to make the lives of our people better,” said Ngilu.
She cited poverty as the number one enemy of the region, blaming it on poor leadership. “Our people have remained poor since independence yet we have all the resources. What haven't we got right as far as leadership is concerned,” she said.
Kibwana said: "Sekeb is not a political movement but a vehicle for economic transformation. It does not belong to a particular group. It is all inclusive. What we have done today as executives is to agree and approve a document which originated from our respective county assemblies."
Archbishop Ndambuki: “All of us should now focus on fighting endemic poverty. We also need proper policies to protect our environment and build the capacity of our people to make wealth."