Fernandes Barasa pledges to complete existing projects

A voter whispers something to Kakamega County Governor-elect Fernandes Barasa at St. Angela Bulimbo Primary School in Matungu. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega governor-elect Fernandes Barasa has promised to complete all projects initiated by his predecessor Wycliffe Oparanya.

Some of the projects that Barasa has said he will prioritise include the Sh110 million milk processing plant at Tumbeni in Malava constituency and Shinyalu tea factory which was allocated Sh100 million.

The new governor dismissed claims he is Oparanya's puppet. "I want to assure the people of Kakamega that I am my own man and I will serve them without fear, favour, or discrimination," said Barasa.

Other projects that are yet to be completed are the multi-billion Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital and Bukhungu Stadium.

"Oparanya laid a solid foundation and my administration will build on it even as we seek to bring in new investment opportunities in our county," said the new county boss.

At the same time, Barasa said cartels have been smuggling cheap sugar into the country which is stifling efforts to revive Mumias Sugar Company, among other millers.

"The many legal battles that have surrounded the efforts to revive the miller have also not helped matters. Sugarcane farmers have abandoned the crop due to dwindling fortunes," the governor-elect said.

Barasa said his administration will support Sarrai Group, the new investor in the miller. The Ugandan investor has leased the miller and its infrastructure for the next 20 years.

"We shall also roll out a farmers' sensitization drive even as we also seek to address the challenge of the cartels that are hurting the industry. I will take it as a priority programme within our first 100 days of my tenure," Barasa told journalists in an interview on Thursday.

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