Pledges to boost agriculture and health dominate celebrations

NYS band members entertain guests at Jaramogi Sports Grounds in Kisumu on December 12, 2022. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Governors have pledged to increase funding to agriculture, health and infrastructure to boost development.

Speaking during Jamhuri Day celebrations, Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii said his administration will back policies that will see local producers earn more.

The county, Bii said, is working on modalities to enhance value addition for products and said over 200 kilometres of feeder roads have been graded to ease movement and access to markets.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, Governor Wisely Rotich said agricultural extension officials have held forums with farmers with a view of enhancing production of high-value crops.

Rotich said he has made negotiations with the National Cereals and Produce Board seeking to establish stores to ease access to fertiliser and other inputs.

In Nandi, Governor Stephen Sang emphasised the need to adopt innovation and creativity in the agriculture sector.

“We cannot continue demanding that the government supports maize farmers, yet we have other cash crops. Farmers should engage in other agricultural activities that are beneficial to them,” he stated.

However, in Nyanza region, Governors Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira), Ochillo Ayacko (Migori) and Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) did not attend the celebrations.

Nyamira County Commissioner Michael Lesimaam and Masaba North sub-county Deputy County Commissioner Maurice Otunga led the celebrations at Gesima in Kitutu Masaba.

Lesimaam warned parents against Female Genital Mutilation.

“This is a festive season, and we expect that parents heed warnings not to expose their children to acts that will deprive them of their future happiness,” Lesimaam said.

In Kisii, Governor Simba Arati said his focus is on food production, water services, infrastructure, housing, agro-processing and affordable healthcare.

“However, to ensure efficiency, prudential financial management devoid of corruption is central in our operations,” Arati said.

Five people were arrested on Sunday evening for allegedly planning to disrupt the celebrations in Kisii.

Traders in Migori County said the hard economic times could not let them join the celebrations.

“Life has become hard. We were told that the price of maize flour would go down, but we have not seen that materialise,” said Benson Mnangwe, a boda boda rider.

Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga, County Commissioner Moses Lilan and Deputy Governor Oyugi Magwanga condemned violence in the county.

“Cases of gender-based violence in this county are appalling. I urge the church and all stakeholders to initiate this conversation to help us end the vice,” Wanga said.

In Kisumu, Deputy Governor Mathews Owili disclosed that for the first time the county will use drones to supply drugs to flood-prone areas, which are inaccessible by road.

“We are going to be the first county in Nyanza to use drones to supply drugs to far-flung areas cut off by floods,” he said

At Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa urged the national government to quicken the release of the equitable share for the seamless running of counties.

“I have since communicated officially to the Principal Secretary National Treasury to process these arrears to enable Kenyans to continue enjoying services,” he said.

Busia Governor Paul Otuoma said he had instructed the county treasury and the health department to operationalise the Facility Improvement Fund to enable hospitals to respond to medical emergencies.

Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka pledged to revolutionize agriculture to make it sustainable and profitable to them.

In Mt Kenya region, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru accused bar owners of defaulting on remitting Sh100 million revenue.

“I have been silent for three years, during the Covid-19 period I had waived licence fees, but since Covid-19 is not with us anymore please pay the revenue,” she said.

In Muranga, Governor Irungu Kang’ata said the liquor licensing application will be conducted online in efforts to eradicate the rogue operators.

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika defended her list of executive nominees.

“Let me work with the people I want so that you will judge me at the end of five years. Someone who didn’t vie for the seat I am holding now wants to decide who I should work with,” said Kihika.

In Kericho, Governor Erick Mutai demanded the cancellation of title deeds of at least 1,700 acres of land located in Samburet, which he claimed was allegedly hived off public land.

“The land was allocated under the watch of former Lands Cabinet Secretary. We now demand cancellation of the title deeds and the property reverted to the public,” he said.

Dr Mutai argued that his demands shouldn’t be construed to mean that his administration wants to kicking out multinational tea firms from the county.

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir in his speech vowed to end perennial complaints about salary delays from county workers.

“I have already made arrangements with a bank, which will be paying the workers on the 25th of every month as a way of addressing the perennial problem,” said Nassir.

In Taita-Taveta, Governor Andrew Mwadime decried low revenue collection and blamed this on pilferage of public funds by revenue department officials.

Governor Dhadho Godhana of Tana River said the county has spent Sh264 million to combat drought.

[Reports by Anne Atieno, Eric Abuga, Stanley Ongwae, Benard Lusigi, Juliet Omelo, Jane Mugambi, Boniface Gikandi, Kennedy Gachuhi, Niko Tanui, Titus Too, Edward Kosut, Willis Oketch, Renson Mnyamwezi and Hassan Barisa]