SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR PS KHAEMBA DURING THE OPENING OF THE SECOND TRANS NZOIA COUNTY ASSEMBLY ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2017, AT THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY CHAMBER

mwangi willy Governors Blog, News

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR PS KHAEMBA DURING THE OPENING OF THE SECOND TRANS NZOIA COUNTY ASSEMBLY ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2017, AT THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY CHAMBER

The Hon. Speaker,

Hon. Members of the County Assembly,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today I am elated to stand before you to renew my commitment to you, as your elected leader. Mine is a solemn commitment to building a vibrant County that supports the aspirations of each and every resident, irrespective of their individual or collective situations.

May I take this earliest opportunity to sincerely thank all those who voted for all of us who were elected as Leaders. In the same vein, please allow me to congratulate all the members of the County Assembly on their election and nomination, whichever is the case. Equally, I also congratulate the Hon. Speaker, Leader of Majority, Leader of Minority, and all the chairmen of the house’ standing committees for their election to these coveted but challenging positions. We all have a responsibility to serve the people of Trans Nzoia in return to their trust in us. This we shall do as the County Government of Trans Nzoia regardless of our political affiliation, ethnicity, religion or social status.

Mr. Speaker Sir,
The journey that we have started portends a lot of great things for our beloved County. But truthfully, these great things will only come if we invest our time, energies and efforts in the right places and with the right amount of commitment. This is the commitment that each and every one of us will be required to exemplify; We owe it to each other. We owe it to our County. On my part, I pledge to work in a consultative, non-partisan and committed manner.
Mr. Speaker Sir,

This morning provides us with a unique chance to reflect on the gains and failures of the first term of devolution. Quite frankly, we had many successes, and I commend everyone, who gave their best to enable us achieve our goals. But as it were, we also had number of failures, most of which were as a result of our own making as a people.

Admittedly, the successes brought us close to our dream – that of a prosperous Trans Nzoia County. On the other hand, the failures haunted us like a ghostly shadow that constantly distracts us from our main focus. It’s often very annoying, yet there’s something one can do about it.

Principally, we failed to support one another to realize faster development for our people, mainly because we chose to give prominence to our narrow political interests rather than those of the people who elected us into office.

I particularly recall the grand-standing and the perpetual meddling and interruptions by court cases as well as attempts by certain political groups to derail the development agenda that we had set forth for our beloved County.

I hope this has ended with this election.

As elected leaders, we owe a duty to the people; to deliver on the mandate that they have given us. Politics can now take a back-seat until the next election. We must all join hands and work together, harnessing our unique strengths and different ideas, for the betterment of Trans Nzoia County. As such I now extend of collaboration and partnership, across the political divide. I also would wish to extend a hand of friendship to our political opponents and urge them to work together with us for the sake of our people. I am fully committed to working with all leaders for the betterment of our county and Country in general.

As pioneers of devolution, we were faced with serious institutional and capacity weaknesses that at time hindered good performance. I pledge to use experience gain to strengthen institutional and capacity weaknesses and maintain very high standards, I encourage the house to support the executive in achieving this goal.

Mr. Speaker Sir,
I will not be forgiven, if I fail to talk about our achievements. They are the reason we are here today.

You will agree with me that our biggest achievement over the last four years – which marked my inaugural term and the first four years of devolution -is our obvious success in building a strong foundation for sustainable development. We have done what needed to be done to set this County on a pedestal of accelerated growth.

Our development agenda, as envisioned in the Kazi Kwa Mpango Manifesto, which we shared during our election campaigns, is solidly founded on sustainability and seeks to address both the short-term and long-term needs of the people of Trans Nzoia County.

With this fresh mandate, we will stop at nothing until the real fruits of devolution are fully realized, across all sectors of the economy.

The next five years will allow us an opportunity to implement innovative ideas in our agricultural sector, with the intention of doubling the current yields tenfold. We have put in place appropriate measures to enable us achieve desirable results within acceptable timelines. We will also double our efforts towards crop diversification and value addition.

Similarly, we have also made considerable investments in acquiring farm machineries, adopted new farming technologies and initiated a diversification program, which is set to propel us into a first-world kind of agricultural productivity. I am particularly keen on improving our extension services so that we can impart knowledge in the farmers as we share ideas that are next generation in nature.

I wish to therefore appeal to you to open your minds to new ideas, because it’s worth it.
In as far as infrastructure is concerned; we will double our efforts to improve the road network with the intention to ease transportation of goods and movement of people throughout all seasons. I have no doubt that a majority of you may have witnessed the new road construction and maintenance equipment, which are providing this service in a cost-effective fashion. We have assigned a set of equipment to each Sub-County, all of which are available upon request by members of the public and are at hand to provide the service on demand.

Mr. Speaker Sir,

I am a firm believer in the provision of quality and affordable healthcare.

You will note that over the last four-and-a-half years, we have made commendable progress in the healthcare sector and we are now on the verge of becoming one of the few counties in Kenya that have the right infrastructure to provide quality and affordable healthcare.

Whereas challenges are still eminent, I believe that we are closer to achieving a desirable healthcare regime that will give our people a better life. It is in this second term that we will complete and operationalize the Trans Nzoia County Teaching and Referral Hospital, which is a huge investment. The construction work is almost complete but it will require heavy resources to equip the facility in order to operationalize it. May I note that the national government has started warming up to the project and is willing to help us equip the facility but this will be on the basis of our initiative to make this a regional facility.

This is a state-of-the-art facility that will bring down the cost of medical care and provide a healthcare economy that will yield jobs for our people. We are ambitious in our plans and we want to go further and establish a training facility that will act as a pool for knowledge for our people.

Mr. Speaker Sir,
Access to clean and safe water is a basic right. During the last term my government invested colossal resource in harnessing water through the gravity schemes, spring protection, borehole sinking, well digging and construction and rehabilitation of water tanks. These efforts realized an increase in access to clean and safe water from 17% to 35% of the households in the county. The county government also acquired two water rigs that will go a long way in improving access to water. This term, with your support we can move access to 50%

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Kitale town remains the center for all our economic activities. Over the last few years, the urban population has grown exponentially, yet there has been very little infrastructural development. This has occasioned a strain on the existing infrastructure, most of which is colonial. Our plans to expand the center have been frustrated by the lack of sufficient land for development. Similarly, the existence of many squatters has also disadvantaged a good number of our people from unlocking the real value of land.

It is for this reason that we reached out to entities that own large tracts of land, with the intention of negotiating for land to be used in the planned expansion.

Unfortunately, a majority of these negotiations have taken longer, but I am glad that President Uhuru Kenyatta recently honored our request by allowing the Kenya Prisons to relinquish their land to us. I believe that this is a great step and will go a long way in giving us the much-needed room for expansion.

We pledge to plan and develop appropriate infrastructure and allocate the land in a very transparent and consultative manner to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. We will also continue engaging with other government agencies such as the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), Kenya Forestry Service and the Kenya Railways. The same applies to the challenge we have with the Kitale airstrip, which requires more land for expansion. Once expanded, the airstrip will accommodate bigger planes and improve both cargo and passenger movement to the benefit of our local economy.

Strategically, we have initiated a comprehensive urban spatial planning that will give a new order to our towns and markets to create a conducive environment for business and social activities. Already, we are in the final stages of operationalizing our ultra-modern bus terminus and business park, which will decongest our town and provide a sense of order in the public transport sector.

I want to pledge here today that I will ensure that the bus park is operationalized soon. We will also expedite the construction and completion of the business park, which will alleviate the challenges facing small businesses within our town.

There are greater things ahead.

Mr. Speaker Sir,

The youth remain a critical pillar in our growth as a county. Whereas the youth function has not been devolved, I feel obliged to take up the responsibility of providing them with a dignified future, in the face of widespread unemployment and the obvious uncertainty that clouds their current situation.

We have set up an innovations hub called Elgon iHub, which is designed to provide a platform for innovation and business incubation. We will be equipping this hub with all the necessary facilities and explore partnerships that will spur growth of ideas.

Meanwhile, we will also explore partnerships with institutions of higher learning, to establish training centers for soft skills and other specialized training, so as to allow our young people gain knowledge that will market them beyond our borders.

In addition, we will establish a high-level technical training institute which will provide middle and high-level skills to our youth, so as to create self-employment and also be competitive in the local and foreign job markets.

Let’s support this cause.

Mr. Speaker Sir,

I wish to note that the implementation of any large project involves among other things, consultancy and capacity building. The last county assembly was allergic to and insensitive to the importance of this component. As a result, this component was always removed from the budget. I hope this time, the house will find it necessary to embrace consultancy.

Mr. Speaker Sir,
The County Government is a legal entity and its management is anchored on legislation. Although the last county assembly did well in many areas, the area of legislation remained a challenge. Some of the key bills from the executive were never approved for example the liquor licensing bill of 2015. Over 10 bills still pend at the house for approval. Hon. Members, request that the second house becomes more proactive ready to pass legislation necessary for running the county.

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Trans Nzoia County is a highly cosmopolitan County. We have all Kenyans living here and coming off from a charged election, it is prudent for us to reach out to one another and seek reconciliation. I am ready and willing to champion cohesion among all residents of Trans Nzoia County so that we can pull together as we have done in the past.
We are very lucky that in our diversity as a people, lies the greater strength that is the cornerstone of our success.

Let’s embrace it!

My government will be an inclusive one and will seek to provide equitable opportunities to every community in this great county. This is my open commitment.

As I conclude, I wish to remind everyone that the repeat presidential elections come in about a month’s time. As you are aware, the country politically charged. As politicians of this county, let’s preach peace and cohesion despite our political affiliations.

May I wish all of you success as you start your five year term and hope that you will exploit this opportunity to make a difference in the leadership of this County. You are the hope of your electorate. Be the positive change agent that your voters chose you to be.
Thank you!

May God bless Trans Nzoia County!
May God bless Kenya.