Dear Nyeri residents, here is the maiden speech of our Deputy Governor.

INAUGURAL ADDRESS BY DEPUTY GOVERNOR CAROLINE KARUGU AT NYERI TOWN HALL GROUNDS ON 4 MAY 2018.

Excellency Governor of Nyeri County

Cabinet Secretaries

Principal Secretaries

Speaker of the County Assembly

Honorable Members of the National Assembly

County Commissioner

Honorable Members of the County Assembly

Religious leaders

Business leaders

Distinguished Citizens of Nyeri County

Invited guests

Good Afternoon

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am deeply humbled to stand before you this afternoon, having just taken the oath of office of the Deputy Governor. I take up this responsibility with great enthusiasm.

Allow me to begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to Governor Mutahi Kahiga for appointing me to serve as his deputy. I also wish to thank the County Assembly of Nyeri led by the Honorable Speaker for their approval. Behind the glare of formalities, there are thousands of prayer warriors who have been making constant intercessions; hundreds of foot soldiers who have put in a good word for me; and keyboard warriors who have leveraged on technology to objectively support this cause. I highly value your immense support and I say Asante sana.

I am fully aware of the expectations the people of Nyeri and the great deal of work that lies ahead of us. I deeply share our aspiration to economically empower the people of Nyeri through a transparent and accountable government. This aspiration is captured in our county’s vision of “A wealthy county with happy, healthy and secure people’

It is also underscored in the programs that our County Government has laid out in the County Integrated Development Plan, and which are truly aligned to Vision 2030 and the Jubilee Party’s Manifesto.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s areas of focus now popularly known as the Big Four have a special connection with us, as a county government and are well captured amongst the priority areas that our Governor identified at the beginning of his term. Nyeri County is a county dominated by farmers therefore food and nutritional security is a top priority. Universal Health Coverage is a key priority area in view of the shifting disease patterns and the increasing burden of non communicable chronic diseases.

The commitment to increase access to affordable housing; and the expansion of the manufacturing sector to create more jobs for our youthful population resonates with the vision of the county and priority areas of focus.

We appreciate the support the national government is providing and specifically the close attention that the President and his deputy continue to give to this county. In particular, I am delighted by the fact that Nyeri county has been selected as one of the four counties to pilot for the Universal Health Coverage program.

Similarly, our county government has developed cordial working relationship with other counties. These partnerships will enable the county to gain from knowledge exchange and expand market for our produce. In 2015, the World Bank through a survey ranked Nyeri as the second best county in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. As a county government, we have a responsibility to ensure that this wealth is not only grown but also felt by our people.

Dear Nyerians

Our county government is laying a strong foundation that will be used in the coming years as a springboard for achievement of our vision. We therefore urge you to be patient as we put in place this necessary foundation. However, I am happy to report that our county government has made strides in fulfillment of the transformative plans that have been outlined in the current Annual Development Plan. Recent recruitment of over 600 Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) centre caregivers, gravelling of over 100 kilometers of earth roads across the county, procurement and distribution of over 160,000 seedlings of macadamia and avocadoes trees to farmers; and rolling out of the staff code of ethics and conduct, are key milestones amongst many others.

Let me relay my appreciation to the Governor and the entire county government team for the progress made over the last six months.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The calmness and serenity that we have witnessed after the mighty handshake between the President and the Leader of Opposition is a powerful reminder that cohesiveness and unity are key ingredients to development.

As individuals, we are wired to have various differences. Nevertheless, we must remember to focus more on the things that connect us and less on the things that divide us.

As a county, it is a perfect time to once again reflect on our shared vision and refuel our tanks with dedication, unity, commitment and hope. In the spirit of spreading the message of unity, and following the example set by the President and the National Assembly I would like to ask all of us to extend a handshake of peace and harmony to each other.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must continue to work together to address the real challenges facing the people of Nyeri: unemployment especially for our youthful population, declining productivity of our agricultural farms, increasing burden of out of pocket health expenditures, and uncoordinated urban development. Towards this end, the county government will fast track programs aimed at providing well researched and sustainable solutions.

At the centre of our service delivery agenda is good governance. I pledge to support the Governor in ensuring that we embed good governance practices in all the decisions that we will make. I will constantly remind my colleagues to always evaluate decisions against good governance, transparency and accountability.

Dear Nyerians,

You are all aware of the capital intensive projects that our county government has earmarked for the next five years. We acknowledge that these projects cannot all be internally financed. We will therefore be seeking for investors and development partners to join hands with us to accomplish our vision. To this end, I will be particularly keen to assess internal structures, systems and controls that support the governance of our county. This will go a long way towards instilling investor confidence and attracting the much needed capital injection. I pledge to promote transparency and trust in the County Government of Nyeri and work to build confidence that our public resources are utilized wisely

I am aware that the County Public Service Board is at the tail end of recruiting members of the County Audit Committee in line with the Public Financial Management Act. The culmination of this process will see our County joining the ranks of the very few counties that comply with this good governance practice aimed at strengthening public financial management and risk management. Our county government’s plans to tap the experience of professionals and eminent persons from the county of Nyeri through the establishment of the County Economic and Social Council will further enhance good governance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our beloved county of Nyeri is blessed with amazing qualities: a people of enterprise, breath-taking natural features and unmatched resilience. Scouting Movement Founder Baden Powel saw it, Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi fiercely fought to protect it, Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai underlined it and the Retired President Mwai Kibaki enlivened it.

This unique heritage endows us with a responsibility to shape the future and to leave this county better than we found it. We are all very proud to be Nyerians. Each and every one of us has an equal stake in the county’s development.

I will support the Governor in ensuring that we listen to the concerns of Nyerians – our children in the EDCE centres, our working parents, the hawkers, the farmers, the small business owners and even our respected senior citizens.

Dear Nyerians,

I am deeply passionate and committed to the cause of education and would like to see every person (man or woman, boy or girl) acquire a modern education. I look back with great nostalgia to the days when Nyeri would persistently top the country in education. This opportunity to serve the people of Nyeri as Deputy Governor presents an amazing chance for me to plug into the conversations and decisions to restore the county’s lost glory in education.

Having attended foundational schools in Nyeri has shaped a great deal, the person I am today. At this point, I wish to express my great appreciation to the teachers and parents of this county who seldom receive acclaim for their great work. I was raised at a time when a child belonged more to the community than just parents, and therefore I place high value on the role of the communities we live in.

Let me take this chance to extend a warm welcome to thousands of Nyerians who were educated in this county to return home and support the county. I am aware that we are blessed with top notch professionals, enviable scholars, high achieving entrepreneurs, and great leaders, who continue to make outstanding contributions in the country and beyond. I thank them for their contributions and at the same time invite them to join us at the county level and enrich our efforts to drive this county forward.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Empowerment of women and youth is particularly close to my heart.

My appointment is a clear demonstration that the leadership of Nyeri County led by Governor Mutahi Kahiga is committed to empowering women. Indeed, empowering women leads to empowerment of the entire community. To echo Kofi Annan “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of Women” to this end, I pledge my full support to initiatives that will drive the gender and youth agenda. .

Dear Nyerians

The late Prof Wangari Maathai encouraged us to be like the hummingbird. The seemingly insignificant bird with little wings and small beak that does not sit and watch as the planet goes down the drain. I wish to confirm to the Nyeri people that I like the little hummingbird have found the little thing I can do to help my people.

When I was only 8 years old, I proudly joined the Brownies, the section of the Girl Guides Movement for little girls that is aimed at nurturing young ones to develop their ambitions, their sense of achievement and the skills they need to succeed in life. At that tender age I together with my fellow Brownies made a promise – a promise that I would do my best, to do my duty to God and my country, to assist other people and abide to the law.

On that same breath today, I wish to pledge to the people of Nyeri, that I will do my best as their Deputy Governor, to serve them with diligence and to abide by the Constitution of Kenya.

God Bless Nyeri

God Bless Kenya

Thank you very much