The Senator, Honourable Members of Parliament, Honourable Speaker of the County Assembly, the County Commissioner, Honourable Members of the County Assembly, members of the County Executive Committe, , members of the Judiciary, the County security team, religious leaders, members of the Fourth Estate, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to join you on this important day to commemorate our 54th anniversary of the national heroes and heroines; people who gallantly fought and some laid down their lives during the struggle for independence and freedom from the oppressive colonial rule. The liberty, freedom and human dignity that Kenyans enjoy today is wholly credited to the unrelenting struggle, sacrifice and suffering meted to our heroes by the British colonial oppressors.
Coming here today to pay tribute to the fearless men and women who fought for our country’s independence is a commendable show of patriotism and I thank you all for coming.
Fellow County men, a day like this is a great source of motivation to each one of us because it reminds us the virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice, which are important pillars of the stability and unity of our nation. This occasion reminds us to appreciate that the freedom and human dignity we enjoy today must be jealously guarded. It is our duty, therefore, to serve this county and the country with total dedication and to put the interest of Kenya above all other considerations.
The road to independence was not a smooth one. It was a long, torturous and excruciating journey travelled by the selfless, courageous and patriotic Kenyans some of them who hailed from Trans Nzoia County notably MASINDE MULIRO who fought gallantly alongside the founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta until we attained independence.
MASINDE MULIRO set aside personal ambition and interest for the good of our generation and his patriotic act was emulated by the second liberation heroes led by the late former vice president MICHAEL WAMALWA KIJANA and GEORGE KAPTEN among others who followed the footsteps of Masinde Muliro. I stand to salute them all and the only befitting reward we can accord them is to collectively live up to their dreams and vision by sacrificing our narrow interests for the sake of our country and county.
Our founding president at independence told us that as a country we faced three major ENEMIES of progress namely illiteracy, disease and hunger. We have since then made remarkable progress in reducing illiteracy, preventing and controlling diseases as well as improving on our food security thanks to the tremendous expansion of the Kenyan economy and we are proud to be recognized as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
HOWEVER, these significant steps notwithstanding, more enemies of progress like corruption, tribalism, bad politics, changing climate and many more have emerged. From the initial three challenges, we now have more lethal development challenges that threaten our vision of a highly industrialized country with high quality of life. These calls for a paradigm shift in our conduct of government and private business if we have to effectively tackle and overcome these challenges to guarantee the economic comfort of today and the security of the future generations.
Fellow county men, let us dedicate this Mashujaa Day to celebrate our homemade MASHUJAAs drawn from the different spheres of life who have greatly contributed to the development of our county especially our athletes led by the current Cherangany member of parliament WESLEY KORIR, legendary PAUL ERENG, BEN JIPCHO, MOSES KIPTANUI, TERESA KIPCHUMBA, and ANNE CHEPTANUI and other unsung heroes.
We cannot forget the efforts of the private sector players who have created thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities for our people in supermarkets, gas stations, hospitality industry, jua kali, transport sector, construction and education sector among others.
HEROES OF OUR TIME are numerous and they surround us wherever we are; a doctor or a nurse, in a remote village being woken up in the middle of the night to go and attend to a critically ill patient is a hero; the only car owner in a far flung village who unconditionally wakes up past midnight to offer his vehicle for emergency services is a hero; a person out of Mother Teresa’s heart offering to pay school fees for the less fortunate child is a hero; people who have set up orphanages and rehabilitation centers are heroes, people who have initiated charity causes, Awareness campaigners and Peace champions are heroes, Thespians and musicians are heroes, Farmers who ensure there is sufficient harvest to feed our county and country, Investors who spur our local economy by investing heavily are all our heroes.
To all other Kenyan’s with hearts of gold, we celebrate you because without your commitment and dedication this day would be meaningless. I therefore, take this moment to declare all of you HEROES (MASHUJAA) of our present day and seasons before us. This day is marked to observe your unsung deeds and personal sacrifices that have gone as far as changing people’s lives for the betterment of society.
Distinguished guests,
As we celebrate this year’s Mashujaa day, it is important for each one of us to note and appreciate that since the advent of devolution a lot has been achieved. It would only be a non-resident of Trans Nzoia that would be blind to all that we have done together as a people. We are proud and confident in what we have realized to date. Indeed we are now moving towards better access to food, shelter, education, health, security services and soon we shall attain a better standard of living for our people.
To ensure effective coordination of government business throughout our County, we have established and staffed 5 Sub County offices and 25 Ward offices. Wananchi are therefore encouraged to seek services and general information regarding government development programs relevant to their specific areas from these offices. I urge you all, to always take part in public participation when invited to do so. It is in these fora that you express what you want the County Government to do in your constituency or ward.
The underpinning dream of our nationalists and freedom fighters was to have a united Kenyan in which all Kenyans enjoy freedom, democracy and prosperity. It is so gratifying to see Kenyans from all ethnic communities walking proudly in Trans Nzoia County going about their businesses unperturbed by their ethnic, economic, religious or political differences.
Successful conduct of business and economic development of any society is hinged on SECURITY; every citizen must feel secure, both of person and property. I sincerely commend the work of the county security agencies for the good work done in securing Trans Nzoia.
Although security is a function of the national government, we cannot shy away from complementing the efforts of our security team at the county level because it should be our collective responsibility. To this end, my government has installed streetlights in Kitale town and all major towns and market centers. Last year on a day like this I reported that we are in the process of installing 26 high mast floodlights and I am glad to note that such works have been completed and all our urban centers are well lit. This has greatly improved security in the county and increased business hours.
Ladies and gentlemen
My administration recognizes the important role that EDUCATION plays in the county growth and development. Whereas our responsibility in education is confined to the Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), we have done much more.
In the ECD sub-sector I note with satisfaction that we have so far constructed 100 classrooms as a means of establishing a firm foundation of education for our children and in the last financial year we hired 800 ECD caregivers to take care of the increased enrolment in the centers from 22,000 before devolution to 35,000 pupils this year. We have adopted modern EPS technology of constructing ECD classrooms. The technology is faster and cheaper compared to the conventional construction technology.
Of great importance is the need to develop technical skills among our youth necessary for self reliance, self employment and employment creation by establishment of appropriate facilities and infrastructure. My government has constructed twin workshops in 25 youth polytechnics which have all been equipped by the necessary tools and equipment to facilitated skills training even in the remotest villages. We recently hired 145 tutors for these polytechnics to handle increase in enrolment. Demand for technical skills in the construction, textile, garment making, plumbing, automobile, electricity, beauty industries is enormous yet supply even for the export market remains low. Investment in this sector is aimed at filling this gap and I call upon parents to enroll children in these centers.
Moreover, my county government established the ELIMU BURSARY FUND as a way of improving access to education by the poor and needy but bright students. So far a total of Kshs 248 million (68 million in F/Y 2013/2014, 68 million in F/Y 2014/2015 and 100 million in F/Y 2015/2016) has been disbursed to the Fund benefitting more than 20,000 students in secondary schools, colleges, universities and TVET centers. This year we have set aside 115 million for the same fund.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A healthy population is a sin qua non for a prosperous county. We have made great milestones in the HEALTH SECTOR aimed at ensuring that our people get affordable and easily accessible health care services. Many of our people lose lives and incomes because of the long distances they have to cover in order to access referral services in outside the county.
My government is constructing the county Teaching and Referral Hospital which will able to handle all referral cases not only in the county but also from other counties and neighboring countries. I am glad to report that the construction of the hospital is well on course despite the numerous politically instigated court cases aimed at frustrating the realization of our dream for an ultra-modern world-class hospital. A time like this next year, the referral hospital will be fully operational.
Once complete, the referral hospital alone will have a total 350 beds and 6 theatres for inpatients against the current capacity of 300 beds in the whole county. In addition it will have MRI machines, and can employ up to 400 medical practitioners.
We have similarly renovated the Mt. Elgon, Kwanza and Kachibora hospitals while renovation works are on-going at the Kitale District Hospital. We are also constructing 25 new health centers countywide.
We have endeavored to ensure medical supplies of drugs and other equipment remains steady in all our health facilities and we have digitized the management of drugs in the hospitals.
I want to once again announce to the county that my government purchased ambulances for each sub-county and these vehicles are readily available for use free of charge by citizens during emergency cases. You should never make any payments whatsoever for use of the county ambulances.
Our county economy is primarily based on AGRICULTURE and the focus of my government has been on the creation of incomes and wealth based on agriculture. For a very long time we have over relied on maize production as the chief driver of our economy. The subsidized Mavuno fertilizer has been instrumental in increasing maize yield from a low 15 bags per acre to as much as 30 bags per acre and I encourage our farmers to continue using this less acidic fertilizer to realize optimum yield.
For a long time we have been exporting our maize in raw form only to buy back processed products at high prices yet we can do value addition right here in Trans Nzoia. We have made deliberate efforts towards value addition to our crop. For example my county government funded the establishment of Nzoia Grain Millers to the tune of Ksh. 500,000. We have also secured foreign investments from Turkey for the establishment of more maize mills.
To minimize on post-harvest crop handling challenges, we have established a number of maize stores in all the sub-counties together with maize driers and this will cut off brokers and middlemen from exploiting our farmers. It is my hope that the national government the National Cereals and Produce Board will do its best to offer our hardworking farmers better prices for maize.
As a means of reducing the cost of agricultural input, we purchased mechanization machineries that are available to farmers at subsidized rates. In addition, we have procured machineries to champion conservation agriculture by for example using chisel plough instead of the wasteful conventional disc plough.
However, ladies and gentlemen, overdependence on maize has proved to be untenable due to erratic weather patterns and unstable maize prices. It is because of this that I have championed diversification in agriculture as a way of cushioning farmers from the risks of mono-cropping. We have introduced crops such as tissue-culture bananas, coffee, tea, and avocado to offer alternative sources of income.
In the livestock sub-sector, I launched subsidized Artificial Insemination (AI) services aimed at improving diary production. The services are readily available in each of our 25 wards.
Fellow county men,
Many of our freedom fighters laid down their lives fighting for LAND that had been alienated from them by the imperialists. It might seem obvious that 54 years since independence every Kenyans should be having full ownership of land yet a great majority of our people in Trans Nzoia does not have effective control of their land parcels due to lack of ownership documents. My government has invested Ksh. 40 million in the land titling program to process the titles and so far we have issued titles to Matunda, Tulwet and Birbiriet farms while 88,000 titles ready for issuance by the president and I commend the national government for the cooperation and urge the relevant agencies to step in and resolve outstanding land issues in Chepchoina and Suam areas to pave way for titles.
As we put in place measures and mechanisms to modernize and increase our agricultural output, it is necessary that accessibility of our farmers to the markets is also facilitated. In the first financial year of our existence as a county government, we experienced numerous challenges in the ROADS sector with unscrupulous contractors colluding with corrupt government officials to fleece the county and this forced us to cancel road works in the last financial year.
I am glad to announce to the county today that we have streamlined the roads sector by purchasing road construction equipment worth Ksh. 500 million. We have so far distributed the machineries to the sub-counties where each sub-county has got two graders, a tipper, a roller a water boozer and an excavator. I have personally launched road maintenance works in Kiminini, Cherangany, and I am optimistic that by March next year we shall have overhauled the entire road network in the county by working on 900 kilometers.
Ladies and gentlemen, during the last Mashujaa Day celebrations, I announced that the construction of the Kitale modern bus park was to commence soon. I am glad to report that the construction works began and the park is 75% complete. I call upon the contactor to expedite the process so that our friends in the transport sector can be relieved of the congestion in town. The bus park will hold more than 10 buses, close to 400 matatus, about 300 boda bodas, 200 tuk tuks and taxis, and 1000 small scale traders at a go.
Our constitution recognizes access to clean and safe WATER as a fundamental human right. My government has endeavored to supply water to residents and I am glad to report that in the last three years we have connected over 175, 000 Trans Nzoians to clean and safe water via 285 km of pipes through gravity schemes harnessing water from our twin water towers of Mt. Elgon and Cherangany Hills, 12 water storage tanks with combined capacity of 1 million liters, 52 springs, 31 water kiosks, and 22 hand dug-wells. The purchase of water drilling rigs by the county government has complemented the gravity schemes and we continue drilling water boreholes for schools, hospitals and market centers for example at Tuigoin, Kapkoi, Kiptuimet, Mubere primary schools, Kipkeikei AIC Girls, St. Teresa’s Bikeke, Sinoko village, Kwanza hospital and Sinoko among other regions. A total of 20 boreholes are operational and we are targeting 50 more. Kitale town is an important urban center not just as the county headquarters but also as a crucial commercial hub in the North Rift as a transit center to Uganda and South Sudan. However, the town remains so heavily congested and poorly planned that only re-planning and expanding of the town will restore its glory. We have elaborate plans for town and our long negotiations to get some land from the Kenya Prisons and Kenya Railways Corporation are almost yielding fruits. Our town must be properly planned and expanded to meet the demands of a 21st city.
Our focus on improving the business environment and empowering the informal sector remains undivided. We continue investing in building the capacity of the medium and small scale enterprises and Jua Kali sector as a way of improving economic development and employment creation. My government has constructed markets sheds in 18 wards this will greatly contribute towards trade in the wards.
In recognition of the power that is inherent in collective effort, my government has supported a number of SACCOS such the vibrant Trans Nzoia Women SACCO and the Boda Boda SACCO among others. I encourage each one of us to belong to a grouping that is engaged in pooling resources for economic empowerment.
Fellow County men and women,
This is only the fourth year of devolution and existence of the county governments. At the beginning of devolution our hopes were hopes and expectations were high. We have experienced numerous inter-governmental institutional challenges which have delayed our take-off. Nevertheless, we are proud of what we have achieved in laying the foundational framework of development endeavors of the second term. When time for popular assessment of what my government has done comes, I am confident that you will give us mandate for a second term.
As I finish, I challenge our elected leaders and those seeking leadership mandate to always put societal interest before self interest. Let us conduct our political business in peace and decorum and avoid empty rhetoric. And to all the patriotic wananchi I urge you to go out there, identify your own Mashujaas and fete them in whatever way you can!
As I conclude, I take this opportunity to wish all K.C.P.E and K.C.S.E candidates of 2016 the best wishes. Be our heroes. As for residents, please be good ambassadors of this county and join me and my government in the noble task of nation building.
Thank you all and…..