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Nyandarua marches on in JM Kariuki’s honour

By Jesse Masai | November 1st 2015

NAIROBI: The week in which we look back in reverence at those whose blood, sweat and tears have paved the way for our liberty finds me, for the first time, in Nyandarua County.

Nyandarua is important in this conversation, as it was not only part of the former White Highlands, but also gifted the nation with a Mau Mau veteran — JM Kariuki — whose enduring memory lives on.

Detained by the colonial government in 14 detention camps between 1953 and 1960, he would later write in his book Mau Mau Detainee that his experience at Kwa Nyangwethu detention camp was “particularly bad and was notorious not for mere beatings, but for castration.”

He reminisced: “I have seen with my own eyes that Kongo Chuma whom I first met in Nakuru before he was detained and who is now living at Kianga in Embu district, has been castrated. He had not been like this when he was in Nakuru but when we met in the detention camp at Athi River he told me it has been done to him by the screeners at Kwa Nyangwethu.”

The former Nyandarua North legislator now belongs to the ages and rightly so, but in Ol’Kalou, what was once a district hospital has now been renamed the JM Kariuki Memorial Hospital, a constant reminder to Nyandarua’s over 500,000 residents that one of their own was once the proverbial healing balm in an African Gilead.

On its part, the Nyandarua County Government is upgrading the hospital to a Level 5 status with a new operating theatre, laboratory, installation of modern equipment, establishment of a renal unit, construction of medical training facilities and recruitment of medical specialists.

Further, an accident and emergency centre has been factored in the current financial year, and the County Government is partnering with Schneider Children Hospital of Israel in the construction of the first ever pediatric hospital in Ol’Kalou at a cost of Sh1 billion, expected to serve at least 20 other surrounding counties.

Service delivery in other county health institutions has improved tremendously, with the County Public Service Board (CPSB) hiring an additional 136 middle-level cadre health professionals to fill critical gaps.

In JM’s honour, Nyandarua will continue making the expected strides in health and other sectors in line with the provisions of its County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) of 2013 including, but not limited to tarmacking of key roads; construction of mega dams in Pesi, Malewa and Kinja rivers; provision of artificial insemination services to farmers; streamlining garbage collection in strategic urban centres; and the on-going construction of County headquarters.

Further, Sh67.5 million has been set aside this year for needy students; infrastructure improved in 14 youth polytechnics amid construction of new ones in Kanyagia, Munyaka and Shauri; construction of 69 modern Early Child Development (ECD) classrooms all over Nyandarua amid the setting aside of funds to construct an additional 75; and the engagement of 400 ECD preparatory assistants amid plans to recruit an additional 200 this year.

Like JM, however, a vigilant public expects more, and value for the dawn of devolution.

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