President William Ruto had no faith in the National Government Administrative Officers (Ngao) upon taking over power, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said.
Gachagua said Ruto had vowed not to involve the officers in the delivery of his mandate to Kenyans on grounds that they were used to ensure he doesn’t ascent to power.
“Ngao officers were badly used to cause mayhem in the country before, during and after the general elections. They were used to sell the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), collect BBI signatures, disrupt meetings and enforce arbitrary arrests of Kenya Kwanza leaders,” said Gachagua
He added: “Prof Kithure Kindiki and I were forced to hold several late meetings with the President to try and convince him that they are good people if deployed positively but can do worse things if ordered otherwise. We pleaded with him to give us just six months to streamline them and we hope he will change his mind and work with them.”
Ngao officers include regional commissioners, county commissioners, Deputy County Commissioners, Assistant County Commissioners, chiefs and their assistants.
The Ngao officers are in charge of the national government functions as well as chairing security committees within their areas of jurisdiction.
Gachagua was speaking at the Kenya School of Government in Lower Kabete during the sensitisation of 12 counties on the phase-one fertilizer subsidy programme.
The meeting was attended by DCC’s, ACC’s, Chief Officers, County Agricultural Officers and County Cooperative officers from North and South Rift counties.
“The previous administration especially those in the interior ministry had no idea of how to use Ngao officers in service delivery for the benefit of Kenyans as power had gone into their heads,” said Gachagua
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He went on: “They used to insult me that am just a mere District Officer (D.O) in the campaigns and now am the Deputy President. They are now accusing me of appointing many Ngao officers to government and I have no apologies for that. Just be good and don’t bring shame to me as I am your guarantor to the President.”
Gachagua also announced that 12 counties which are the breadbasket of the country have been selected to receive government-subsidized fertilizer in phase one of the programme targeting 2.1 million farmers and 4.7 million 50-kilo bags of fertilizer.
The counties are Kakamega, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Narok, Nakuru, West Pokot Bomet and Migori.
“The 12 selected counties in phase 1 is a pilot programme to see whether we can produce enough food for everyone and in turn lower food prices. Phase two will be rolled out immediately to the rest of the country. Those receiving the fertilizer will only be registered farmers and will receive it through an e-voucher,” said Gachagua
He added: “We want the country to be food secure for our administration to succeed. If farmers get fertilizer on time, we shall get good yields and have enough food. Nobody wants to govern a hungry nation as that is a threat to the security of the country,”
Simon Chelugui, the Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Micro and Small Enterprise said that the country consumes at least 52 million bags of maize annually but the production capacity stands at 40 million bags, saying the 12 million bags deficit is what is normally imported.
Chelugui said Kenya Kwanza government is determined to ensure that Kenyans generate their own food and in turn stop asking for relief food.
He said with the current data of farmers, they will receive fertilizers through cooperatives, saying the move is to eliminate cartels and unscrupulous businessmen who used to buy the subsidized fertilizer and stock it in their agro-vets and then sell it at exorbitant prices.
Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka, the Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman on Agriculture said that as county governors, they will ensure that the subsidized fertilizer reaches genuine farmers only, saying for that to happen, the ongoing registration of farmers must be above board.
“With accurate information on who is eligible to get subsidized fertilizer and anyone without an e-voucher should not get it as a way of eliminating the cartels. Let’s also decentralize fertilizer picking points so that many farmers can access it,” said Lusaka
He said Ngao officers are the right people to oversee the full implementation of the programme.