A SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. ZACHARY OKOTH OBADO ON THE OCCASION OF MADARAKA DAY AT THE RONGO SUB COUNTY STADIUM ON JUNE 1, 2015.
The Senator, Migori County, Hon Dr Wilfred Gisuka Machage
The Women Representative, Hon Dennitah Ghati
The Deputy Governor, Hon Nelson Mahanga Mwita
The Hon Speaker County Assembly
The Hon Migori County Assembly members
The Hon Members of the County Executive
The Hon Members of the Public Service Board
All County officers
Ladies and gentlemen
Fifty two years ago today, our great nation-Kenya regained its self-rule, after nearly a century of painful struggle. We pay tribute to the men and women who gave all they had so that we might be free, and we will always remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This nation is their gift to us. On that first day of our self-government, we rallied behind leaders who demanded not just sovereignty, but also freedom from ignorance, poverty and disease. Ours is to complete the journey they began.
The road has been long. But while we cannot claim that every Kenyan lives in dignity and freedom, there is no doubt that we have made immense progress.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This county will not progress if we, the leaders, do not lead in vision and action; our Vision of a Vibrant and Prosperous county is coherent and articulated well in our policies. The dream we all must bear is that of a county in which basic human needs are attended to; a county in which hunger, deprivation and injustices are unknown; a county in which every citizen has an opportunity to grow to their greatest potential.
To realize our collective dreams and serve our people effectively, we must continue setting aside our social, political and economic differences in the period of our tenure in office.
Ladies and gentlemen, it depresses me to note that fifty two years after independence, many of our people in Migori still live in mud-walled huts, our children attend school in mud-walled classrooms; while illiteracy and waterborne diseases abound.
We look down in shame whenever we take visitors into our homes lit by kerosene lamps, which our suffering children use to study. We must work together to change these scenarios. Indeed, this county’s ambition of creating a modern economy and contributing to the realisation of Kenya’s Vision 2030 will remain a mirage if our responses to the universal challenges of ignorance, unemployment, poor infrastructure, disease, poverty, hunger and environmental degradations addressed.
We must together initiate programmes that will not only address basic human needs but will also improve, not just literacy, but also the education of our young people, create jobs, wealth and ensure food security, reduce the disease burden, upgrade our infrastructure and promote sustainable use of our resources.
In spite of many challenges, the spirit of our people has been amazing! Our children have often scored well at national examinations and ventured into professional areas that make us all proud. It is our duty to support their efforts by providing an enabling environment. Against this backdrop, my government has given out overKsh80 million worth of scholarships offered to needy children through the Ward Development Fund initiative. This has ensured that many disadvantaged children attend schools.
My government also rolled out a new programme-the Governor’s Scholarship worth Ksh20 million,which will go a long way to assisting bright but needy students. In a nutshell, my government has spent overKsh100 million in supporting education for our children.
This amount will be increased each year to ensure more of our children access quality education to help build a better and richer Migori.
Ladies and gentlemen, to enhance education at the devolved levels-in this case -polytechnics and Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centres, we are in the process of completing construction of 10 new polytechnics, which will bring the total number of polytechnics in the county to 23. These polytechnics will provide professional training for our youth and equip them for crucial and productive roles in the economy.
We are also building 120 new ECDE classrooms, which have been well distributed in the eight sub counties, with each ward getting three classrooms.
Ladies and gentlemen, my government is in the process of ensuring that we construct more ECDE units in all the 660 public primary schools in the county. This will be done through devolving resources to the grassroot where school committees are directly involved in the supervision of the project.
We are sure this will guarantee employment to our local populations in the constructions, while there will be more prudent use of resources as malpractices often associated with tendering processes will be contained, if not completely eliminated. In the same vein, all tenders are now advertised at the ward level and also in other media with national reach.
Ladies and gentlemen, creating wealth for our citizens is a priority of my government. That is why I have often stated that our intention is to create a 24-hour economy in Migori.
Such an economy would ensure our people trade and grow their wealth in dignity and to the best of their ability. Towards this noble goal, my government will construct a total of 16 market shades; two in each sub county at a cost of Ksh80 million. Older markets constructed under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) and those built by the defunct Local Authorities, are also being renovated or refurbished where necessary.
The construction and renovation programme is in addition to an earlier one which started last year, in which youth and women groups were contracted to build 80 latrine units and 8 toilet buildings at various market centres at a cost of Ksh48 million. I am glad to note that although there were hiccups at the commencement of the programme, some of the projects have been completed and paid while the remainder is on course.
Ladies and gentlemen, as part of our efforts to realize the 24-hour economy, my government has awarded tenders for street lighting at a cost of Ksh160million and work is ongoing.
The lights will be located at all urban centres and markets across the county. With the street lights, we expect security to improve across the county. To strengthen the capacity of traders, increase savings and strengthen cooperatives, my government will intensify training of traders and support investment through savings in cooperative societies.
My government will soon launch a programme aimed at empowering cooperatives through capacity training, recruitment, better management practices and audits.
As a first step, all cooperative societies and SACCOs have been directed to ensure that all their payments are cashless. They are required to have mobile money payment platforms and those that can, to transact through other online payment platforms. This will help reduce fraud, increase loyalty and reduce the number of societies collapsing due to loss of confidence in leadership.
Ladies and gentlemen, our propensity to save must far much outweigh that of our consumption. My government has started an aggressive mobilization exercise in which Wananchi are urged to join or form SACCOs and design strategies that will enhance saving as we also look forward to setting up adequate funds in our budget in the next FinancialYear to assist the SACCOs. We are also actively encouraging youth, bodaboda and other informal groups to form SACCOs, with subscriptions to major countywide SACCOs of similar interest.
In that regard, I am happy to report that SACCOs have been formed for bodabodas in all sub counties and my government has to that effect distributed a total of 200 motor cycles to the SACCOs and has immediately created more than 200 jobs to the youth.
We are also encouraging women to organise themselves into cooperatives and SACCOs so that support can be sought for them. It is our hope that in the next Financial Year, adequate funds will be set aside to benefit such organised women groups.
Ladies and gentlemen, my government has increased efforts to attract investors into the county. As an agricultural economy, we realize the importance of value addition industries for our people, which will directly lead to better prices for our products. We have, therefore, been in discussions with various investors interested in doing business with us and have received encouraging responses in the energy sector.
For instance, investors are interested in harnessing wind and solar energy; hydro power; safe mining; potato and tobacco processing, coffee and maize milling; beef, dairy and fish processing, among others. We believe that this interest will translate into tangible investments that could help improve the lives of our people.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have previously stated my government’s commitment to improving the quality of life in Migori through provision of safe and clean drinking water.
We started this programme last year with the rehabilitation and construction of several boreholes and water pans across the county and supply of water harvesting tanks to several public institutions. My government is shortly going to distribute additional 80 water tanks various wards.
My government has started spring protection measures throughout the county to protect our water sources and provide clean drinking water. Our major goal is to bring clean and safe drinking water near the mwananchi.
In that respect, this Financial Year, we have set aside funds for distribution of water in Migori, Rongo, Awendo and Isebania towns to benefit as many people as possible. This will help increase our revenues and also ensure sustainability of the water projects.
Indeed, if we enhance our water harvesting techniques, we can provide more income generating activities like irrigation, aquaculture and livestock keeping and so ensure food self-sufficiency and improve income.
I am happy to announce that my government has already acquired a new drilling rig which will soon be received and commissioned to start work.
On infrastructure, Ladies and gentlemen, a reliable transport network is crucial to the economic development of any society. We are aware that although major roads have not been devolved to the counties, we must nevertheless try to improve our local networks as negotiations continue for more functions to be rightfully devolved. It is in pursuit of this spirit therefore that my government, in the last Financial Year, opened up over 400kms of unclassified roads in all wards at a cost of Ksh200 million.
We also completed tarmacking the Posta-Ombo Road circuit apart from construction of a bitumen road section at the County Headquarters.
We are also in the process of constructing nine foot bridges in various wards and will soon commence construction of two bypasses to decongest Migori town.
Ladies and gentlemen, in our efforts to improve economic activities along the lake and the county at large, we are conducting pre-feasibility studies on lake transport in Lake Victoria; opening 40 new roads and gravelling of roads in all wards; and constructing bridges and box culverts in various wards. We are also working closely with the national government to have more roads built even as we work on the faster completion of the Kehancha-Migori-Muhuru-Sori and Ogwedhi-Awendo-Oria bitumen roads.
My government will facilitate Public Private Partnership in the construction of roads as well as rolling out the construction of bodabodashades in major towns and trading centres.
Ladies and gentlemen, my government is working with the national government to ensure that our airstrips at Kendege in Kehancha and Lichota in Migori are expanded. In this regard, I am also putting on notice all those people who have encroached on road reserves to move out as the government will soon open up roads in these areas and any eviction will be at the cost of the culprits.
Indeed my government is working closely in partnership with the national government towards the expansion of Kakrao-Kisii Roadand also with theWorld Bank towards the provision of more reliable electricity through the Slum Electrification Programme at a paltry cost of Ksh1, 000per household.
Fellow citizens, Migori will no doubt be a hub of business activities when finally the Kenya Pipeline Corporation, in partnership with my government commissions an oil depot in Migori town which will go a long way to reducing the cost of doing business in the county. This venture will attract business from as far as the neighbouring Tanzania.
Ladies and gentlemen, a health of a nation is measured by the health of her people. We, therefore, have to continually strive to improve delivery of health services to our people in order to grow economically as it is only a healthy people who can participate more effectively in economic activities.
As a government, we aim at ensuring that all our people access quality and affordable healthcare in all parts of the county. We are, therefore, constructing new as well as renovating our old health facilities.
It is in pursuit of this that we have renovated 20 health centres and 124 dispensaries across the county.
We have completed the construction of a facility for our new Migori Medical Training College (MTC) at the County Referral Hospital; completed construction of a general ward at Uriri Sub County Hospital and also completed construction of a waiting bay at the County Referral Hospital.
My government has also completed construction of a general ward and ablution block at KegongaHospital; started the construction of pediatric ward at the county hospital and completed construction of a mortuary and expanding the KehanchaSub County Hospital. We have also constructed a surgical theatre at RongoSub County Hospital and is awaiting installation of equipment and subsequent operations.
Other ongoing projects include; a surgical theatre at Awendo; general ward and ablution block at Karungu; male surgical ward at the county hospital; Nyatike Sub-county hospital offices; general ward and ablution block at Ntimaru; Rapogi dispensary; Obama dispensary in Central Sakwa; drug stores in Suna East; Nyamilu dispensary in Suna West; Otati dispensary in Kanyasa; Got Kachola dispensary inWasweta II; Omullodispensary in Central Kanyamkago; Kokuro dispensary in Central Sakwa; Kamsaki dispensary in South Kanyamkago; staff quarters NdegeOriedo dispensary in East Kamagambo; Midoti dispensary inSuna East; Bonde dispensary in Awendo; Nyametembe in KuriaEast ;Iraha in Kuria West;NyarohainKuria East and Gosebe- Kuria in East.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the next FinancialYear, my Government will renovate all general wards in our County Referral Hospital.
This will also be part fulfillment of a resolution by the Senate that each county should have a Level Five Referral Hospital.I am happy to report that my government has acquired medical equipment forour hospital worth Ksh30 million. This has been supplemented by additional medical equipment received recently from our partners, the Kenya Relief Organization also worth over Ksh30million.
The equipment will be distributed equitably across the county. This has further strengthened our resolve to pursue friendly policies that facilitate Public Private Partnerships to support our development.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are aware we inherited dilapidated infrastructure in some of our facilities, like the Kehancha Hospital. We have set aside funds for the renovation of such facilities including repair of leaking roofs and fencing them to improve the security of patients, staff and the facilities. We also inherited some dispensaries that were constructed under various Constituency Development Fund (CDF) programmes. My government has made provision for staffing and supply of medicines to these institutions. Our investment in medical training will also continue and more funds have been allocated for the completion of the Migori Medical Training College (MTC), whose third class since inception has already reported.
Ladies and gentlemen, my government will improve maternal child health through the construction of a maternal child health clinic at the county hospital.
This is a Millennium Development Goal to reduce both the infant mortality and maternal death rates. Other targeted areas in the Health sector include; a hospital kitchen at Nyatike Sub county Hospital; construction and equipping of a referral laboratory, dental and ear nose and throat unit at the County Referral Hospital; complete a stalled theatre at Isebania; and build a chapel for the County Referral Hospital mortuary.
We will soon be receiving a mobile clinic through the Beyond Zero initiative to help our delivering mothers.
Ladies and gentlemen, encroachment on public land by individual investors has been happening across the County. Some of the land reserved for public infrastructure development has been grabbed by individuals. My government is committed to stopping any further grabbing of public land and towards this goal, fully supports the recently appointed Migori County Land Management Board, which we hope will resolve outstanding land cases and ensure public land is protected. I am also glad to inform you that Migori is listed as one of the land registration units.
The department of Lands has been encouraging county development by availing land to serious institutions that have asked the government for the same. We have therefore provided land for development of a forestry research institute at Lichota and an industrial park in the same area. Trade and nutritional benefits accrued from the presence of these institutions in our county will undoubtedly be enormous.
Ladies and gentlemen, environmental conservation is a major priority of my government and we have therefore given out free tree seedlings throughout the county in a homegrown reforestation programme. My government is planning to enhance our disaster response and preparedness by purchasing a fire engine to be based in Migori town. We shall also improve garbage collection and management by purchasing a specially-built garbage collection truck and land for a dumping site, and provide bins and skips for all urban centres in the county.
Ladies and gentlemen, I recognise that agriculture is the mainstay of our county’s economy and we must invest in it to be able to grow it not just for economic benefit but to also assure our people of food security and employment. I am deeply aware of the challenges our farmers face and will make every effort possible to address these challenges. Some of the challenges include, expensive farm inputs and equipment, exploitation by middlemen and lack of markets for our produce.
To address this, ladies and gentlemen, my government has put in place measures to provide farm inputs such as certified seeds, fertilisers and provided tractors that can benefit youth and women groups who have consolidated their farms. My government has also provided tissue culture bananas in a Ksh20 million programme to enhance food security.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have purchased tractors whose service has been made available to farmers at an affordable cost to boost our efforts in food production.
Other measures to improve food production and security will include provision of seeds for traditional high value crops; purchase of green houses for select farmers and groups; establishment of coffee nurseries in Rongo, Kuria East and Kuria West sub counties; promotion of horticulture materials supplied in the county; establishment of fruit tree nurseries; micro irrigation; fish pond development; promotion of honey production; poultry improvement; dairy goats and dairy cow multiplication; one cow per sugar cane farmer concept.
Ladies and gentlemen, to take control of our livestock and improve earnings, my government will construct slaughterhouses and become involved in seeking investors and market for livestock and related products.
My government will make efforts to improve the breeds reared in the county and ensure farmers can acquire them to improve milk and beef yield.
The department of Livestock recently acquired Artificial Insemination equipment that will be used by field officers to serve farmers. We shall constantly and effectively continue to monitor diseases like foot and mouth, anthrax, blackwater, and east coast fever by continually vaccinating our livestock to control the spread of the diseases. In that connection, my government has bought and distributed 150 dairy cows to farmers in our sub counties except Nyatike due to its climatic condition. The initiative has seen each ward receiving between 5 and 6 cows. Livestock farmers in Nyatike Sub County are, therefore, encouraged to adopt the Artificial Insemination (AI) which is suitable to change the dairy breed in the area.
Ladies and gentlemen, my government strives to provide leadership and policy direction in resource mobilisation and management for quality public service delivery. This is in keeping with the legal requirement that citizens must be involved in formulation of policy and development projects.
We are, therefore, providing a framework for the creation of institutions, systems and mechanisms for human resource utilization and development in a manner that best enhances service delivery by the county public service and its institutions.
Over the last two years, the public service has ensured payment of personnel salaries and other allowances in time, which has ensured staff, are not demotivated by late payment.
There is also enhanced management, coordination and supervision through the newly established devolved units. It has undertaken special programmes such as conflict resolution activities and peace building initiatives successfully. To ensure the public gets access to services, my government has built several ward and sub county administrators’ offices and has developed a basic ICT infrastructure, which will ensure timely communication and efficient delivery of services.
Ladies and gentlemen, to enhance revenue collection, my government will automate tax collection system, which will take into account functions devolved by law to the counties. I have also instructed the Finance department to put in place measures to control resources such as cutting down the recurrent budget so as to increase allocation to development programmes.
With these measures in place, and the programmes that have been started by my government, I am confident that Migori is on course to become a county of choice; that our people will develop to the best of their ability and that challenges like disease, poverty and ignorance, have finally met their match in the policies and activities started by my government.
All this however, Ladies and gentlemen has not been achieved without challenges. My government has had to deal with contractors who are extremely slow in their work while others have been doing a shoddy job on our roads and constructions.
I am, therefore, asking wananchi to help us locate these irresponsible contractors by being vigilant and reporting them to respective authorities. Let me caution here that should such contractors be brought to our attention, my government will not only blacklist the companies involved but also the individuals behind the firms.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my sincere hope that we as a county seeking development and improvement in the lives of her people, cannot afford to engage in negative politics and incitement. We have to appreciate the ethnic diversity of Migori and use it as strength and fabric that breeds cohesion while understanding that while competition is healthy, we must allow the weak and minority to be part of the relay race.
Let us, therefore, join hands to build our county by bringing our diversity to the table and use our distinctions to our advantage for ours is a land of variety and a melting pot for culture and diversity.
May God bless you all, May God bless Migori.
Thank you once again,
H.E. HON. ZACHARY OKOTH OBADO,