Speech By H.E. Hon. Peter Munya, Governor Of Meru County During The Mashujaa Day Celebrations, 20th October, 2013
I am pleased to join you for the first Mashujaa Day celebrations in Meru County since the devolved government came into being. This is an extremely important day in the calendar of our activities as Kenyans when we reflect on our history and dedicate ourselves to deliver to future generations the aspirations of our nation’s founding fathers. It is a day that sets out to appreciate the long journey that we have travelled since independence and in the process honor our heroes who wretched it from the colonial rule to ensure that we stood as a sovereign state.
Ladies and Gentlemen, on this occasion, we recall our history that is full of our people’s collective and personal efforts and sacrifice. We commit to memory with a lot of gratitude the heroes of our freedom struggle who made incredible sacrifices so that we may attain self independence.
It is important to note that as we look back at the sacrifices our Mashujaa made on our behalf, let our overall aim be to take stock of where we are coming from, where we stand and crucially where we are destined to end. This indeed would be an ideal way to honour our Mashujaa’s as true Kenyans.
Ladies and Gentlemen, at this juncture may I pay glowing tribute to two outstanding Meru County heroes who made considerable efforts towards the struggle for independence and whose death came as a result of freeing us from colonialism. General Field Marshal
Baimungu and General Mwariama were the first Mau Mau Generals in the early 60s and who together with other brave men and women liberated this country. I urge all of us to honour the memories of these fallen Mashujaas by playing our relevant roles in constructive nation-building. May I reiterate our commitment to ensure that we recognize our heroes through erection of monuments within our towns and naming some of our streets in recognition of their efforts and unforgettable good work.
May we also in a very special way salute the gallant efforts of the many heroes and heroines who over the years have continued to render exemplary services to our nation in different fields. Importantly, may I acknowledge and appreciate all parents who have raised great men and women of this county whose services in difference capacities have gone a long way in transforming our county and our beloved country Kenya.
As we celebrate this momentous day in our calendar, may we reflect back on the journey the county governments have walked through to reposition themselves for service delivery. This walk seems short but yet too long to those of us who started it. The Meru County Government has made remarkable progress by putting in place systems and structures that support the functional units of the government. It is impressive to note that various offices were established as required by law. Further, competent and professional personnel were sourced from the labour market who have since occupied these offices and have continued to discharge their duties effectively and efficiently. This indeed is a milestone for us and we salute all who have supported us in one way or the other to realize our dream.
Recently, Meru County hosted the first county marathon, the highest prized ever in Kenya. May I call upon all of you to join me at this moment to celebrate all the heroes and heroines who came first in every race and made us proud. This event coincided with the international marathon where our own Kenyan, Mr. Kiplagat dominated the race by emerging the winner. I salute our sports men and women who have continued to fly our flag high in international competitions. This indeed is the spirit that we would love to nature and emulate in every undertaking.
Further, in our endeavor to address unemployment, we pledged to nature talents within the county through various sporting activities and to ensure that we make Meru County a sports hub for sports export besides income generation. It is from this background that the county government in its calendar of activities has planned to establish talent schools, sports academy and a sports university through which diverse talents that exist in our young people shall be natured.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our heroes and heroines are the youth and women in our county who have contributed immensely to the development of our county through small scale businesses. It is and remains our continued commitment to ensure that we empower these groups through grants to enable them grow their small businesses and become self-reliant. This will reduce the overreliance to formal employment that is not easy to come by.
In order to empower the economy of our county, Education for the young children is key as these are our future heroes and heroines. Plans have been put in place to ensure construction of Early Child Development facilities in every ward that will accord our young children decent learning. This will be followed further by engagement of 813 ECDE teachers to ensure that we have quality education for the young children. In addition, it is our commitment to establish and strengthen youth polytechnics to equip the learners with knowledge and vocational skills and ultimately re-brand the youth polytechnics to become talent and innovation centres to address the technical needs of the county. I commend our public universities for creating an enabling environment for academic excellence and research to thrive. In this connection, may I salute our own higher learning institution, the Kenya Methodist University for their immense contribution in the academic arena that has brought the future of our children here.
Most importantly, the many unsung heroes and heroines in our county are the many farmers who despite the unstable climatic challenges, get up every morning to farm in order to provide for their families and to ensure that farm produce get to our markets. Plans are underway to modify our farming methods by adopting modern technologies that is less labour intensive and one that yields high results. We are also taking other concrete steps to make our domestic food production more efficient through mechanization and a deliberate shift from rain fed to irrigated agriculture. This will be through Agribusiness and training shall be offered to our farmers to impart knowledge and empower them to embrace sustainable agricultural innovations. It is paramount to note that agriculture is our core focus hence the need to establish agribusiness training centers in our polytechnics. This will help our youth and largely farmers to get genuine inputs and technology and take agriculture as a business.
Spinning to other sectors, We have continued to place emphasis on infrastructure development. This includes ongoing efforts in road construction and ensuring that our rural roads are mortorable to ease communication. Expansion of our roads is a major project that we have embarked on to enhance accessibility to all major towns. In addition, the county government is working with KURA and World-bank to ensure construction of a 30 Km By-Pass that is destined to pass through Meru Town. I appeal for your cooperation as this involves demolishing of existing structures that are sitting on road reserves. Further, to better plan for our towns, the county government has embarked on construction of parking to create some order in our major towns and ease congestion. It is important to note that road construction is an expensive venture for any government. It is on this backdrop that we have engaged other international countries to explore efficient and cheap technologies to be used for road construction. This will ensure construction of more roads with limited resources and enhance participation in economic activities at relatively lower costs and unleash the untapped great potential of our urban and rural economies.
Lighting of our towns is a priority to us that will promote economic activities and transform our county to a twenty four hour economy besides reducing insecurity within and outside our borders. Further, we are engaging investors to create cheap energy from our waste products thereby ensuring adequate energy supply to our community. It is prudent to note that Northern zones of Meru county are rich in wind which can be harnessed for energy and plans are underway to actualize this dream.
With regard to development of our towns, we have developed the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) which contains the development blueprints for all sectors in the county. Much has not been done in terms of urban planning partly due to the fact that it is a costly affair and also there was lack of focus by the defunct local authority to take planning as a precursor for investment. Meru town spatial planning has been done that is to be launched soon for implementation. With the launching of the CIDP, a clear roadmap towards development in every sector is assured. This entails development of our markets.
Land issues remain an emotive issue that needs to be addressed if meaningful development is to be achieved. We shall endeavour to ensure that all remaining county land is demarcated. Further, the county government has initialized a plan to ensure all land owners within our county have been issued with title deeds and all public land have been mapped for documentation into the government assets register. This will allow the county government to undertake development of various institutions with ease due to available land for use.
Health is a key Social Pillar for both the National and County Governments. And today, every Kenyan has a right to quality health under the Kenya Constitution, 2010. We enjoy these rights because the Heroes we are cerebrating today, made great sacrifices in blood and treasure for Kenya to attain independence and equitable development. To ensure residents of Meru County have access to quality health services, the County Government has developed a 5-year plan and is investing Ksh. 900 Million this financial year alone towards health care. But, we can only achieve our common aspiration of having a healthy population in Meru County if we all make contribution.
In our efforts to economically empower our people, measures have been put in place to revive all co-operative societies within the county. Further emphasis have been put in place to ensure establishment of Sacco Societies in every Sub-county to accord our people good opportunity to access cheap credits. I appeal to all of us to embrace this concept to ensure we promote our businesses and increase self employment besides reviving our economy. In addition, construction of all major market centres into modern status is our priority to ensure conducive work environment for our business people. This model will also cushion our produce and commodities in the market against rains and other forms of destruction.
Improvement of tourism within our county takes precedence in our plans. Engagement of Public Private Partnerships is a concept that we are reviewing seriously to ensure we revive all the hotels and tourists attraction sites so as to earn revenue. Our county has rich traditions and attractive sites including our mountains that are largely spoken about within and outside the world. It is my commitment to ensure that all untapped strengths are realized within the shortest time possible and position ourselves as a Pride County for tourist attraction.
The county government has taken robust steps to enhance revenue through creation of more local markets for both livestock and agricultural products. In addition, the county government is in the process of creating outpost market to eliminate the middlemen. This will enable access to employment for our youth and better returns to our famers. Further, we are in process of identifying, valuing, labeling and automating all government assets including land to enhance accountability and prudent management.
Meru County Government recognizes water and environment as two sides of the same coin and our foremost heritage essential for socio-economic development. To this effect, we envisage a county with some water for all forever. To achieve this, we are currently embarking on planning and mapping out of water resource systems and our present and projected future water demands to guide in efficient and effective investment amid scarce financial resources. To better improve our environment and make it more regenerative we are embarking on afforestation and reforestation programmes, improved solid waste management, sanitation and sewerage development and introduction of cleaner technologies and organic fertilizers. On other natural resource fronts especially minerals, we continue to redouble our efforts in exploration on what the county is endowed with. As a starting point, feasibility of commercial mining of sparkling mineral water (moonyo) that we drink and give cattle will be carried out.
Lastly, may I reiterate that security is critical within our county if meaningful development is to be achieved. We have in the recent past experienced insecurity in our areas bordering Tharaka Nithi and Isiolo Counties respectively. This is a challenge that has been taken quite seriously by engaging our security personnel to ensure provision of adequate security to our people as well as property. I assure you that my government will fully defend its boundaries and ease the current animosities. However, this will not be achieved by our forces alone. Each one of us has a role to ensure that no one amongst us, is used to disrupt our peace and stability. We should all be vigilant and as true patriots, ensure that we identify the bad elements among us. The hospitality of the people of Meru must never be abused by some awful elements.
In conclusion, Maintaining peace in this time and age would be the best way to honour the memories and legacies of our heroes and heroines who have gone before us and who continually dreamed of a better and more prosperous Kenya.
Long live Meru County, Long Live Kenya!!!
Thank you and God bless us all.
HON. PETER MUNYA
GOVERNER - MERU COUNTY