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Scorecard: Governor Mwadime transforms agriculture, healthcare

 Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime flags off vehicles for the water protection police unit at Maji house, Nairobi on May 2, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Taita-Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime outlined his achievements during his State of the County Address Thursday, amid a rift between the executive and assembly.

On Wednesday, the MCAs approved an impeachment motion against Planning, Mining, and Energy CEC Elizabeth Mkongo over alleged incompetence.

MCAs who spoke to The Standard said up to four CECs would face the same fate in the coming days. They claimed that the executive had failed to deliver election pledges due to some incompetent CECs.

Ms Mkongo is facing impeachment for allegedly failing to complete development programmes and land valuation roll, after public participation ended a year ago.

In the impeachment motion tabled before the assembly, the CEC is also accused of failing to address the squatters and boundaries issues in the county, grappling with historical land injustices.

The motion against Mkongo, a close ally of the governor, was sponsored by the Lands Committee chairman, Anisa Mwakio, in a session chaired by the assembly Speaker Wisdom Mwamburi.

Mwadime put up a brave face as he faced the MCAs to outline his achievements and development plans for the people of Taita Taveta.

He said his administration has focused on food production, health, and education by hiring more staff in the sectors and giving incentives to drive the country’s economy. 

“We have recruited 30 new medical professionals in different cadres and renewed contracts for 125 medics under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme to boost healthcare services,” he said.

Mwadime noted that the county government had also promoted 330 healthcare workers, moved 33 healthcare professionals from contract to permanent basis and renewed contracts for 80 support staff.

“The County Department of Health Services work force stands at 1,542 both medical professionals and those offering support services,” he said, adding that he had also addressed salary delays.

He announced that the county had cleared pending bills for statutory deductions such as health insurance contributions, PAYE, and retirement benefits for the staff.

“I am delighted to inform this honorable House that our prudent utilisation of resources has re-ignited the confidence of our strategic partners, not only in Health but across all departments,” he said.

On agriculture, the county boss said he has recruited and deployed six new field extension officers.

“Another remarkable achievement is the successful distribution of over 10 tons of pasture seed to more than 100 farmer groups, farms, and ranches,” said Mwadime.

The governor noted that 3,008 farmers have been trained and supported with pasture and fodder seeds while 873 youths have been trained on livestock farming.

“My effort has led to the establishment of 1200 acres of land with pasture and fodder, along with the provision of small-scale fodder and pasture harvesting and conservation equipment,” he said.

He said the county government will also supply 5000 bags of 50kg range cubes to support livestock keepers in the arid and semi-arid areas that have been affected by drought.

“Additionally, over 1,500 farmers have been trained and supported with 3 tonnes of pasture seeds of various varieties,” the governor told the House.

He, however, noted the past year has been marked by significant challenges that have tested the resilience and resolve of the county.

“The prolonged drought, the adverse impacts of relentless El Niño rains, and the economic hardships occasioned by the strain of inadequate financial resources, coupled with a huge backlog of pending bills, have presented formidable obstacles to our progress and prosperity,” said Mwadime.

On education, he said as a result of the harsh economic times faced by majority of the residents, bursaries have been the only means through which thousands of students can access education.

In the fiscal year 2022/2023, a total of Sh100 million was disbursed, with each ward receiving Sh5 million.

“This essential funding has had a direct impact on the lives of 21,705 students across secondary schools, colleges, and universities,” he said.

The governor revealed that through cooperation between the executive and the assembly, he has doubled the bursary kitty from Sh100 million to Sh200 million.

“We have acquired 30,000 library books, meticulously processed, and distributed to schools across the county. This initiative aims to foster a robust reading culture amongst our Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) learners, laying the foundation for a lifelong love for literature and learning," he said. 

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