We are finally part of Kenya, say Mandera residents at fete

By Ngari Gichuki

Mandera, Kenya: Mandera County marked one year of devolution with pomp and colour, with area leaders saying they had finally started getting their share of the national cake.

Governor Ali Ibrahim Roba led locals MPs, MCAs and residents to say that the funds allocated to the county in one year exceeded what the area had received in the last 50 years of independence.

“For the people of Mandera our true feeling of independence has just started and for the first time we feel like part of Kenya,” said Roba.

The county was allocated Sh6.5 billion in the 2013-2014 financial year. Roba led a huge rally, which gathered at Moi Stadium Mandera, to take stock of the progress and challenges that have confronted the county since he took office on March 27 last year.

The function was attended by Senator Billow Kerrow, MPs, Eng Mohamed Mahamoud (Mandera West), Abdulaziz Farah (Mandera East), Mohamed Abdi Haji (Banisa), Fathia Mahbub (Mandera County Woman Representative), Hassan

Aden Osman (Nominated MP), Deputy Governor Omar Maalim  and County Commissioner Michael Tialal. Roba said Mandera has managed to shed its negative tag of being a conflict-torn area earned as locals fought over water and pasture.

“As a county, we have scaled new heights of security and statistics show that Mandera Town is more secure than Nairobi,” said Roba.

He said the water-scarce county had embarked on strategic interventions such as building of dams and drilling of boreholes to make the resource accessible to residents.

Perennial hunger

“In terms of cushioning residents from perennial hunger and starvation, the county distributed relief food from its own reserves after harvesting over 855 bags of maize from irrigated farms,” Roba said.

Roba, however, said Mandera still lagged behind in other areas as only 4 per cent of the population have access to the Internet while only15 per cent of residents own mobile phones.

Senator Billow Kerrow said there was need for concerted efforts to address the poor standards of education as well as ensure peace prevails in the area to attract investors.

“For us devolution is a Godsend and we have no time for the politics aimed at taking us back to the days of marginalisation.  The destiny is in our hands and we must use resources prudently,” Kerrow said.