The Senator, Nyeri County
The County Commissioner and members of the County security team
Members of Parliament
Speaker of the County Assembly
Members of the County Assembly
Members of the County Executive Committee and
Staff of the County Government of Nyeri
Our esteemed service men and women in uniform
Religious leaders and leaders from all other sectors
All distinguished citizens’ of Nyeri County
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I wish to express my great pleasure today as I join my fellow citizens of our great County of Nyeri to commemorate this very important day in our national calendar; Mashujaa Day. Mashujaa Day was originally called “Kenyatta Day” in honor of our first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. However, the name was changed after the 2010 constitution was promulgated in an effort to expand the day’s meaning from honoring only those who took part in the independence struggle from Britain to honoring all our heroes and heroines including our modern day heroes and heroines.
My Government will this day mention in honor and salute all our Nyeri County modern day heroes who have made us proud and continued to excel nationally and internationally and locally in various aspects.
The first Shujaa that I propose to honor today is the late Dr. Wahome Gakuru for his immense contribution to the development of Nyeri County and Kenya at large. He left us a clear vision for the County. Kenya will continue benefitting from his contribution to the Vision 2030. We shall hold a Half Marathon on 11th November in his honor and make it an annual event. The proceeds of this race will go to projects in the health sector that he held dear to his heart. May the Almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace and continue blessing his family.
It behooves upon me to make special mention of Samuel Gathimba from Othaya who has put Nyeri on the international map by winning the African Gold Medal in Nigeria in the 20km walk race. Purity Ngina the young PHD holder in Bio-mathematics from Kieni East, too put Nyeri on the National map with her fantastic academic prowess.
Stephanie Powers the president of William Holden deserves a special mention for her significant investment in the community around Gakawa where she is assisting many needy pupils and setting up kitchens, libraries special classes and normal classes in five schools for community use.
Nyeri County distinguished itself as the epicenter of the Mau Mau liberation movement led by the legendary Commander, Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi Wachiuri. In his memory, we have Dedan Kimathi University, Kimathi Road in Nyeri town and of course Kimathi Stadium, and more recently the Dedan Kimathi Ihururu open air market.
The movement put Nyeri County on the international map and inspired many others to fight for their nation’s freedom including Nelson Mandela the Global Icon during his 27 years incarceration.
Mandela in his own words visited Kenya to pay homage to the Mau Mau for the gallant struggle they waged to defeat the British colonialists between 1952 and 1963. Mandela had been drawn to Kenya by three aspects of the Mau Mau:
1. He wanted to visit Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi’s grave.
2. He wanted to see Kimathi’s widow, Mukami Kimathi (who is ailing-may God give her healing)
3. He wanted to meet the former Mau Mau commander, General China (Waruhiu Itote).
I wish to pay homage to all Nyerians who lost their lives, or limbs and those who bravely withstood detention. It is as a result of their courage and determination that we enjoy our freedom today.
To all our freedom fighters please take courage in the knowledge that your struggle was not in vain. You suffered torture and humiliation in inhumane detention camps like Gathigiriri and Manyani. Families were broken all over this County and those you left in the villages were hounded into colonial villages and their rights grossly abused.
The citizens of this County suffered immensely. Take comfort in the knowledge that your struggle and your pain shall continue to inspire us to be bold in confronting the struggles of our time. The struggles of our time are different from yours but they are equally challenging and enormous.
I am greatly humbled by the support that my Government has received from the Nyeri Citizenry since I took the oath of office as the 4th Governor of Nyeri. We have soldiered on with a great resolve to succeed and deliver the promises upon which we were elected into office. We have formed a stable and complete Government with the all substantive officers fully in office to serve the people. I want to pass my appreciation to the cooperation that we have received from the County Assembly of Nyeri and all the elected leaders in the National Assembly and Senate thereby creating an enabling and peaceable environment for the County of Nyeri to thrive.
We are at the onset of the 7th year since the inception of devolution and now started the second year since we took over Government. We have made enormous strides towards the realization of the objects of devolution. Key amongst these objects is the involvement of the people in decision making.
We have established a Civic Education and Public Participation Unit domiciled in the Governor’s office. My Government has adopted an open door policy in the management of public affairs.
We have also developed the Governor’s Mobile Application that allows full interaction with the executive complete with a direct feedback mechanism.
We are in the process of gazetting a Complaints Handling Committee in our aspiration to run a transparent Government at all levels.
Finance & Administration
In the financial year 2017/18, Nyeri County registered revenue growth of 18.2 % from the previous year which translates to Kshs.117 million. The total revenue collection amounted to Kshs.760 million, which is the highest ever since devolution started. It’s important to note that Local revenue determines the amount of money that the County receives from the National Government to run our budget and implement our development programs.
This improvement can be attributed to improved transparency, strong enforcement measures, timely and reasonable interventions and political good will. The following measures will continue to enhance our collection including expansion of the revenue base, identification of new revenue streams and reduction in litigations by engaging all stakeholders in formulation of related and acceptable legislation.
I have recently launched The Nyeri County Electronic Revenue Management system dubbed NyeriPay.
This is another great milestone in our journey to deliver the promise, as captured in our revised County Integrated Development Plan 2018- 2022. Approximately 9 out of every 10 people in Nyeri County own and operate a mobile phone irrespective of their age. NyeriPay is therefore convenient to all our residents. We are one of the Counties that boast of the best internet connectivity through the length and breadth of our County. NyeriPay will go a long way to reduce theft and revenue leakages that we have experienced in the past. By reducing cash transactions, we shall seal all the loopholes. We believe this will enable us to meet the revised revenue target of 1.2B in this financial year.
It is important to note that counties have lost a significant share of their resources from the National Government when the National Finance Bill 2018 was passed by parliament. This therefore calls for austerity measures from my Government and creativity to raise more resources away from the traditional sources of money so that we can continue to implement development programs. I am setting up a team that will be trained to identify diverse alternative opportunities available and raise funds for the County to fund our programs.
Transparency has remained a key guiding principle in my Government. Nyeri County has been celebrated as one the only 4 out of 47 counties that have made transparent their budget making processes according to the International Budget Partnership Kenya (IBPK). We further received a trophy during the recent LAP-TRUST AGM held in Naivasha being the BEST County that has paid ALL pension contribution arrears due to our employees. We are a County that takes care of its workers.
The County has 3,092.73 Km of classified roads with 478.25 Km of bitumen, 2,492.85 Km gravel and 121.63 Km earth surface. In order for the roads to be fully utilized, bridges and culverts have been constructed at various crossing points. We have invested heavily in grading and murraming our rural roads and tarmacking our towns starting with Nyeri Town, Karatina town and Mukurweini where we have also done a brand new bus stop to give the town a new look that is conducive for doing business. We will continue on this ambitious programme of gravelling at least 8km per ward.
We have engaged in an ambitious plan to refurbish and modernize our markets across the entire County. This will create ambience and good working conditions free of liter and properly sheltered as they engage in trade.
These includes: Roofing of the side canopies of the Nyeri Open Air Market; Renovation and re-roofing of 27 shops and one hotel at the Lower bus park; Re-roofing of Mudavadi old market; Construction of modern shades at Ihururu markets; Improvement of sanitation facilities in Gachatha, Nairutia and Kimahuri markets; Fencing and murraming of Ihwagi market; and construction of stalls at Karogoto market.
We are proud to have received the inaugural commercial flight from Nairobi to Nyeri. Travelers from Nyeri region can now fly directly to Nairobi after the County Government launched the first maiden flight at the Nyaribo Airstrip. At Sh3,000 per trip, tourists, business people and other travelers will get to the capital city in less than 25 minutes compared to taking a three-hour journey by road. We believe this will be a game changer in positioning our County as a tourist and investment hub for the region.
My Government has set aside Sh. 50 million to help local youth and women set up small business enterprises. We have decided to increase the Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) from Sh. 30 million to Sh. 50 million to “reach as many youth as possible” to start income generating activities and create job opportunities.
Since the Government does not do business neither does it do lending, it is imperative to set up the fund and have it up and running to assist our youth and unlock the entrepreneurial spirit of our people.
My Government has continued to provide safety nets by offering Bursaries to needy students in Boarding Secondary Schools, Colleges, Universities, Vocational Training Centers and Special Schools. We disbursed cheques worth 40 Million to various institutions and have provided for 100 Million in the current financial year to increase our reach. We have made it a policy to include day scholars in this bursary scheme because we believe in the principle of equity and reaching the neediest in our society.
Nyeri children under the Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) have received considerable and deserving attention from my Government. Research shows that money invested in Children in those formative years have the highest returns on investment as well as savings in social costs. A critical time to shape productivity is from birth to age five, when the brain develops rapidly to build the foundation of cognitive and character skills necessary for success in school, health, career and life. Apart from employing 830 caregivers my Government has committed additional funds towards putting up more ECDE classes, facilitating the improvement of the already existing 426 centers and to provide teaching and learning materials. We will also look for funds to provide snacks for the learners.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The health sector in Nyeri County has received a significant boost by being included as a pilot County for the Universal Health Coverage program, which is being rolled out through a deep dive strategy. I believe the UHC interventions coupled with our own investment in the sector will make Nyeri a leader in provision of quality health care. We have initiated a raft of projects aimed at strengthening our capacity to deliver quality and effective health care services and benefit optimally from the UHC program. We have just completed a rapid project for face-lifting our County referral hospital’s outpatient unit. Similar works are ongoing at all the other Level 4 hospitals across the County. We anticipate that these projects, once completed, will enhance the level of care and the patient experience at the hospitals.
The Mwai Kibaki Teaching and Referral Hospital in Othaya upgrade to a Level Six Hospital is another win for the County of Nyeri.
We now have the opportunity to get the highest level of medical care within the County. This will reduce the burden on PGH and increase the quality and attention that our patients receive.
The challenge of providing quality health care is one we have embraced boldly and we are making progress everyday towards this end. This is evidenced by the hands on approach that we have taken in this sector. We campaigned on this premise and we have every intention to deliver our promise one step at a time. We are committed to reducing the burden of disease by making 100% enrolment to NHIF where we are paying over 7000 cards for the elderly and people with disabilities.
The agricultural sector is the backbone of our economy. The investments that are carried out have a great multiplier effect as every household is impacted. The trickle-down effect of any investment in the sector is felt far and wide. My Government has more than doubled the allocation to the Agriculture Sector in full appreciation that it is the backbone of the economy of our people. We have procured and supplied over 160,000 seedlings for macadamia and avocado as a catalyst to the farmers to encourage them to buy and plant more.
On the same note we have distributed more than 20 tonnes of potato seeds, distributed 100 bee-keeping starter kits, 2000 chicks. These projects have achieved over 80% success rate and monitoring through our extensions services is ongoing.
We are alive to the fact that our soils are heavily depleted due to over use and intensive farming over the years. Our first corrective measure was to supply 100,000 tonnes of agricultural lime that will be applied by our farmers towards moderating soil acidity to improve crop productivity.
In the dairy sector we have installed six milk coolers to avert post-harvest. We have also launched portable AI kits to improve the quality of our cows. These initiatives are anchored on the extension services program that we have revamped through provision of new vehicles and re-training of staff.
I take this opportunity to applaud our President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta for choosing Nyeri once again to pilot coffee reforms. This comes with benefits that have already started trickling to our farmers.
We already have subsidy fertilizer through this program at Kshs 1,500 instead of Kshs 3,000 per bag as previously sold. This will boost production which has been our rallying call……….
Production! Production! Production!
Our cooperative societies have the capacity to mill 500,000 tonnes of coffee but we are only milling 40,000. Currently we have Othaya, Barichu, Rumukia and Gikanda coffee societies that have their own milling factories. We plan to boost at least one of the mills so it can handle all the necessary value addition for the County.
We are currently hosting a team from the Ministry of Cooperatives that is in the County for a whole week to audit cooperatives and give recommendations. We are committed to building the capacity of the cooperative management to become an honest and efficient work force that is driven by the economics not the politics when handling farmer’s hard earned resources. We shall guard farmer’s resources jealously and will not hesitate to take administrative action on wayward officials. Corruption is a cancer that has caused underdevelopment in this country.
We shall fight it with the same zeal that we have seen with the National Government both at the County offices and even in the grassroots like the cooperative movement.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We appreciate that nearly 50 % of our County is considered as ASAL with Kieni sub counties covering the largest area. Water has continued to be a challenge. This was recently exacerbated by the directive from the CS water stopping water abstraction. extraction. I joined the governors from Central Kenya Economic Block where we are members and made a strong statement and the situation has been arrested and our people continue to get water. However, we appreciate that this water is not enough and must be augmented by sinking boreholes. In the last financial year we sunk 15 boreholes to add to the 7 existing ones. During this year we have budgeted for 7 more boreholes bringing the total to 29 boreholes. Of those 16 are ready to be installed by solar immediately to enable water to be pumped to all the users. We have also constructed 14 community water tanks to beef up our water supply system. Our 5 water companies (Nyewasco, Omwasco, Tewasco, Mawasco and Naruwasco) continue to play a significant role in drinking water connectivity to better our County average connectivity of 67%.
Nyewasco has done Nyeri proud by winning the Best managed WSP year in year out setting a great example of what Nyeri can do with better management of our resources. Today we also celebrate NYEWASCO as a shujaa as well!
As we entrench our efforts to build a better developed, healthier, and secure County, we count on your support to emulate the fortitude and patriotism of our heroes so that we may all prevail against the looming threats of lassitude, nepotism and corruption. To the heroes of our County who are still living amongst us, we remain indebted to you. You are a constant reminder that we need to serve with selfless dedication.
I urge you to treat this recognition not just as an honour, but also a responsibility to always comfort yourselves in a manner befitting this high standard.
And to our young heroes and heroines, students sitting for their national examinations, I wish you all the best of success.
God Bless Kenya
God Bless Nyeri