H. E The Governor’s Speech during this year’s Jamuhuri Day held at Molo Stadium
H E GOVERNOR SUSAN KIHIKA SPEECH DURING THE 59TH COMMEMORATION OF JAMHURI DAY AT MOLO STADIUM, MOLO, NAKURU COUNTY ON DECEMBER 12, 2022
The County Commissioner
Ladies and gentlemen
It is my privilege and honour to be with you today as we commemorate the Jamhuri Day, the day on which 59 years ago we gained our independence.
On that day in 1963, our fore fathers secured our liberation from the colonialists and embarked on a long journey to rid the country of the challenges of poverty, ignorance and disease with the noble intention of placing Kenya on a path of economic growth. Along the way, there have emerged social, economic, intellectual, political and cultural challenges that which successive regimes have attempted to surmount in their pursuit of taking the country to the next level.
Today, we are gathered here to reflect on the achievements we have recorded, the unresolved obstacles and the emerging challenges which call upon our collective resolve and commitment to dig deep into our resources for the sake of current and future generations. It is incumbent on us to consistently review our approaches to development, find innovative ways to tap from the resource in our surroundings and apply them in a manner that provides solutions to the challenges before us. Change is a constant that we must all embrace because without the ever changing diagnosiswhich must be correct–to the malaise that ails our society, tackling the challenges before us will remain an elusive journey.
The theme of this years Jamhuri Day is Embracing Innovation in Service Delivery. In 2010, Kenya heralded a fresh blue printthe Constitutionto guide our approach towards finding solutions to the economic, social, political and cultural challenges facing Kenya and how to deliver better services to our citizens. One of the radical changes in the 2010 Constitution was establishment of Devolution as the new paradigm to govern, harness resources and deliver services to wananchi. County Governments, indeed, came into existence to efficiently deliver services to citizens within their localities. It meant that the tasks of facilitating access to healthcare, accessible roads, clean and safe water, access to education, better farming and enterprise development, land use and access to electricity among many issues were the duty of County Governments.
Ladies and gentlemen
The radical innovation in the 2010 Constitution means that for all of you gathered here, the first port of call for Government services to its citizens is the Nakuru County Government. It means that the economic growth, the political stability, the security, the homogeneity of our cosmopolitan society and efficient delivery of services is a function that you and I, have a complete say over. It is our dutyyou and Ito steer Nakuru to higher heights, to the top of all counties in Kenya and a key player in regional growth. I call upon each of you to help restore the Nakuru of yester years: the Nakuru which was an industrial hub and a centre of vibrant agricultural production which was home to the biggest manufacturers, factories and key state corporations which contributed in a big way to the Gross Domestic Product of this country.
Nakuru County, allow me to say, is blessed with abundant resourcesboth natural and human capacitywhich can be harnessed to drive the pursuit of eliminating the identified obstacles to development and trigger a new wave of economic growth and stability within its jurisdiction. It is for this reason that when I was campaigning for Governorship in the last elections, my pledge was to help place Nakuru County of the path for wholesome growtheconomically, socially, technologically and culturally. Nearly four months in office, my administration, inspite of the legal challenges that are being placed on our way, is up and running to deliver on its pledges.
We have embarked on journey to provide an enabling environment for our entrepreneurs, farmers, manufacturers, small and micro medium businesses, mama mbogas civil servants, professional and investors to contribute effectively towards the economy of Nakuru. Firstly, we are embracing the concept of ease of doing business. We have put in place measures to simplify and quicken the issuance of licenses for investors and bring to an end the torturous process of licensing business which has affected our rating of attracting investment and in our jurisdiction. We are in the process of consolidating all types of business licenses into once single business that will apply in this county which will come into force early in the New Year. The new single business license will be approved in 48 hours after application, highlighting our mission to raise our efficiency in business licensing.
To add a new gloss to the attraction of investors to our county, we have prioritized the provision of land and in some areas rezoned the use of land for industrial use. We have more than 1,000 acres of land for industrial investment within the Special Economic Zone in Naivasha. I am glad to report that our pursuit to develop the Naivasha SEZ recently got a boost when H E Dr Willam Ruto, the President of the Republic of Kenya, secured financial support for it when he toured South Korea last month. The Naivasha SEZ embodies the vision of converting Nakuru County into an industrial hub with industries, banks, hotels, and housing estates earmarked on the piece of land. We expect, once complete, our residents, among them techno-savvy youth, women and professionals to get an opportunity to realize our vision of Made-in Nakuru manufacturing and innovations.
Similarly, plans for the development of an Industrial Park in Naivasha, by the Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) will reach a defining stage this week as the feasibility studies on the 4,500 acre park are announced. The Industrial Park, will carter for both small, medium and heavy industries which will benefit from electricity provided by KenGen at a tariff of Kshs5 per kilowatt. The availability of land and cheaper electricity will, indeed, give Nakuru County an edge in the attraction of investors both locally and internationally. We have also taken the decision to rezone land for industrial purposes and I want to mention Salgaa as one of those targets. I am sure that you have witnessed the industrial investments that are coming up in Salgaa. Moreover, the County Directorate on land has also adopted the ease of doing business model and made it possible that once you apply for land for industrial use, your application will be approved within 14 days.
Am also happy and pleased to announce that by the end of this year, the County Government had tarmacked 16.11 km of roads. Currently, there are 10.71km of roads being upgraded to bitumen standards in urban centres across the county to facilitate easier access for investors. It is our intention to improve the standards of roads to boost industrialization. To ensure accessibility during the rain period, we constructed and rehabilitated 10 km of storm water drainages mostly along newly constructed paved roads. Indeed, we have prioritized Nakuru City and municipalities of Naivasha, Gilgil and Molo whose drainage systems have been overwhelmed by increased storm water.
To free our business enterprises from fiscal hurdles, I recently met the management of the Kenya Revenue Authority in this region over of nine businesses had been closed down over taxation disputes. I am happy to announce that six of the nine business enterprises have been reopened and the remaining three will soon be reopened. It is my considered view that whereas paying taxes is cardinal requirement of any business, the same should not be used to stifle business from flourishing. Indeed, I made it clear to KRA that our aim is to work together to help businesses grow as they pay taxes. As we work to strike a balance between payment of taxes and business growth, I wish to call upon you, as I do to all owners of enterprises in the county, that we should pay your taxes timely. It is sad that our revenue collection across the board stands only at 10 per cent as at the end of October. We have collected a total of Kshs 251 million against our set target of Kshs2.28 billion by the end of June 2023. While I pledge to provide a conducive business environment, I call upon all business people to pay taxes for us to serve you better.
Allow me, at this juncture, to commend on security and the issue of matatus in Nakuru City as we head into the festive season. We have suffered spate of cases of robbery and violent attacks in the recent past. I want to report that I have held numerous with County Commander of Police and his team of commanders from all the sub-counties in our jurisdiction. I have been assured of the measures that the police have taken to contain the multiple gangs which had sprung up in different areas to cause insecurity. We agreed that where the face logistical challenges, my administration will assist in logistical support to facilitate the security teams to patrol Nakuru City and guarantee the business community and residents security. I also urge you, in your own way, to assist the police to provide security to allow for all residents.
Regarding the issue of matatus in the Central Business District, after holding consultations with the matatu owners, operators and the County Police Command, we have come up with a win-win solution for all stakeholders and residents. From this week, we are going to allow matatus back in town but they will operate under a raft of conditions which, if breached, will see them evicted for the second time. The matatu Saccos accepted that the return to town is a temporary measure as we construct a modern bus park at a cost of Sh260 million which was expected to be completed in 18 months time. They have also signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) binding them to operating in an orderly manner and respect for the rule of law. I pledged to allow matatus back to town and I have kept my word.
Ladies and gentlemen
Provision of better healthcare and access to health facilities was a key pillar in my manifesto during the campaigns. Nakuru County boasts of 16 hospitals, including one Level 5 hospital and 112 rural public health facilities. To address the critical lack of medicine and related services in our public hospitals, last month, I flagged off a consignment of medicine and related technologies worthy Kshsh48 million to all our public health facilities. Two more consignments to the tune of Kshs100 million and Kshs50 million are on course to be delivered to all public health facilities by the end of this year. I pledge to you all that our public health facilities will not run out of medicines and medical technologies. I, however, want to call upon the administration of the respective hospitals to ensure they serve the public and not divert the medicines to private facilities. We will, in due course, construct more health facilities in our sub counties to ensure our people have access to medical care. We are partnering with organizations and institutions within out County to ensure we provide better health services to our people. As we bring healthcare closer to you, ensure that you register with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to access services from our hospitals.
As we expand our health facilities, Nakuru County recorded was an increase of new HIV infections among children aged 10 to 19 years from 185 in 2019 to 297 in 2021. This is inspite of an overall slight drop in new HIV infections between 2019 and 2020 of about 5.6 per cent. The increase in HIV infection among children child marriages in some of our communities have been normalized. Parents are happy to receive bride prices for girls as young as ten. To win this battle, we have to fight those behind these vices and shun outdated cultural norms. When a young girl gets pregnant, she has had unprotected sex, exposing her to unexpected motherhood and the possibility of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. She will also lead to school dropout, joining a lifelong cycle of poverty. To reverse the triple threat, we are going to put our foot on the gas and accelerate of efforts to teenage pregnancies, increasing new HIV infections and sexual and gender-based violence. And it centres on the kind of innovative, community driven solutions that we are going to put in place. We must rescue the affected girls and ensure they are taken back to school while building a solid community system that will end these challenges at the County and national levels. The era of looking the other way and letting perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence walk scot-free must end.
Early childhood education, I must admit, plays a key role in preparing our children for primary, secondary and higher education learning. To cement and entrench this, my administration is in the process of seeking partnerships to launch a school feeding program in all ECDE schools in the county. We are aware that most households in the county are unable to provide meals for children in ECDE schools. We also intend to intend to increase the rate of girls retention in schools through provision of bursaries. I call upon organizations to chip in and help us increase the girl-child retention in schools.
Turning to farming, the Kenya Kwanza Government prioritized provision of low cost factors of production to help our famers to maximize profits from their endeavours. One of the key steps is the provision of quality seeds and subsidized fertilizers to farmers. It is worrying, however, that in my tours around the county, I discovered that farmers were being forced to travel to Nakuru City to access cheap fertilizers. To solve this problem, I have made plans for fertilizers to be delivered to each constituency. This, however, is subject to the farmers in those constituencies who would have forwarded their purchase requests through their respective Members of County Assembles (MCAs). Upon reception of the purchase requests, lorries will be provided to deliver the requisite fertilizers to a store in each county to cushion our farmers from paying extra costs. Further, I have encouraged farmers to form groups to assist them access credit and markets for their farm products. As I mentioned before, we are constructing new roads and repairing existing ones to ensure our farmers access markets.
Allow me, at this juncture to turn to a worrying trend which is aimed at slowing down my administration in delivering on our pledges to the people of Nakuru. Some individuals have gone to court to block the County Assembly from vetting nominee members of County Executive Committee (CEC). A similar litigation has been filed against nominee Chief Officers. In all fairness, I have nominated a CEC from each constituency, except Kuresoi South where the Deputy Governor comes from since I am restricted to 10 ministers. These individuals behind the law suits are demanding millions of shillings to withdraw the cases. May I assure them that I will neither be intimidated nor blackmailed. No one will chose my team for me. I hope the courts find justice in their final ruling on this matter to allow me carry out my duties.
As I come to the conclusion, I know that there are hundreds of our elderly people, orphans, and single mothers with low incomes and poor families who may not enjoy this Christmas like many of you. I want to announce that through my efforts, I am putting together a package in partnership with organizations and individuals of good will to place a smile on their faces this festive season. Next week, I will disburse the proceeds to the needy people in all constituencies to ensure they enjoy this Christmas. To all of you here, may I take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
H Susan Kihika
Governor, Nakuru County Government