H.E. Hon. Peter Munya's Speech For Meru County On Kenya @ 50 Celebrations, 12th December, 2013
I am pleased to join you all during this auspicious occasion when our beloved country is celebrating 50 years of self rule and independence. Indeed this is the day we commemorate achievement of full independence as a free people and free nation for the last 50 years. Our sovereignty and independence was hard won and we have a duty as a people to cherish and defend it at all times.
This year's Jamhuri Day is the first one to be celebrated under the new system of devolved government. Uniquely, the celebrations coincide with our country’s Jubilee celebrations that make it quite exceptional. May I call upon all of us to pay special tribute to the courageous men and women of this country who struggled to liberate our beautiful country Kenya. Sincere compliments go to our founding fathers who struggled to eliminate colonialism and through blood and selflessness ensured Kenya stood as a self-governed state.
Let us also in a special way remember our African Fallen ICON H.E. Nelson Mandera who has since departed to be with the lord in a moment of silence. He is recognized at this moment in time as a true
African father who lived entirely and sacrificed his life for the sake of mankind. They best way to honor him is by emulating his selfless dedication and committing ourselves to truly and diligently serving our people with love.
As a community we remember our gallant leaders who fought the Mau Mau war to liberate this great nation. Further in struggle for Multipartysm, we cannot forget the strides and struggle by our own, Hon. Kiraitu Murungi and Hon. Gitobu Imanyara who together with other citizens of good will fought to bring about Multipartysm. As we celebrate Kenya @ 50 may I remind our people that we have a responsibility to safeguard the gains made by these brilliant men whose efforts we enjoy today. I have no doubt in my mind that as a people we are committed to ensuring that the hopes and aspirations of our citizens are realized.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we celebrate jubilee as a nation, May we also celebrate our many brave men and women of Meru County who made considerable achievements in sports, conservation and preservation of our culture and traditions. I urge all of us to honour the memories of these fallen heroes by playing our relevant roles in constructive nation-building and more by giving prominence to the needs of our people.
As Kenyans and People of Meru, let us 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 a combination of professionals and competent workforce to spearhead its development plans. It is imperative to note that almost all offices have already been established as required by law. This indeed is a milestone and we applaud all who have supported us in one way or the other to realize our dream.
As Meru County Government, we have made tremendous development landmarks in all our sectors. The achievements so far should be a reason to take pride in as we join other Kenyans in celebrating the 50 years of successive progress.
Sports is key in our agenda and we have made remarkable growth by successfully organizing the first international marathon in the country since devolution came into being. Nurturing, developing and exploiting talents for export is key to ensure that we offer employment to our youth. To this effect, we have started a talent academy programme that has attracted international coaches to ensure quality of training besides absorption to the National Talent Academy. Rehabilitating and upgrading of our stadium is critical in our endeavour to promote sports within and without. We have undertaken to develop Kinoru and Maua stadiums to international standards. Soccer tournaments are on-going at the ward level and sports equipments have been purchased for these groups.
It is important to note that Meru County has the largest baseball complex in the world and we have embarked on its rehabilitation in preparation for the African baseball championship on August, 2014. Further, the county has successfully rolled out Street Children Initiative that is a success in Meru Town, a model that is to be replicated in all other major towns within our county. I am pleased to reiterate the business community’s commitment to ensuring that all street children are accorded decent living and have access to formal education besides rehabilitating them to live a gainful life as responsible citizens.
In the Education sector, the county government continues to invest heavily for the benefit of our youth. We have finalized the process of recruiting 813 ECDE teachers and construction of 90 ECDE classrooms. Further, establishment and equipping of all the youth polytechnics is on-going in an endeavour to impart technical skills to our youth in order to empower them to start small scale enterprises. The ministry has undertaken provision of assistance devices and equipments to special schools and special units. This is to accord every child an opportunity to learn and improve their lives regardless of their status. These investments in education can only bear fruit if our young people are gainfully employed. In this regard, the ministry of education, youth/women and co-operative enterprises has partnered to give seed capital to the youth after graduating from the polytechnics.
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. To this end, the County government has signed a contract with Malyasian government to construct 300k road network within our county. 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. Further, to bring sanity to our traffic industry, plans are complete to construct parking lots in all major towns that will decongest our towns besides revenue generation. Lighting of our towns and sewerage system management programmes are complete and implementation is underway. We are also moving into an era when the unused renewable energy sources in our counties such as wind, biomass, solar and geothermal energy, will be harnessed to transform our county into a regional energy powerhouse.
Spinning to other sectors of development, we have developed and validated the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) which contains the development blueprints for all sectors in the county. Planning for all major towns is complete awaiting its launch for implementation. With adoption of the CIDP, it is quite evident that development in every sector as per the plan is assured.
The sensitive land issues have been sorted out in most of the areas and titles are being processed for all land that has been demarcated. Additionally, all public land has been mapped out and documentation into the government assets register underway. This will allow the county government to undertake development of various institutions with ease due to available land for use.
Meru County Government department of water, environment and natural resources recognizes water and environment as two sides of the same coin and our foremost heritage essential for socio-economic development of our County. To achieve this, our water will be managed as follows:
a) One company will be constituted from existing water companies to supply water to all sub-county headquarters;
b) Every sub-county shall have an Environmental SACCO comprised of all rural water projects. Environmental SACCOs will deliver water and sanitation services to the rural areas as well as establish commercially viable tree nurseries in every ward.
The county government continues to plan and implement water and sanitation infrastructure. To this end therefore, I have the pleasure to invite you in the commissioning of Thuura-Giaki and Gitoro-Kambakia water projects and a launch of Timau town water project early next year. The exact dates will be communicated.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have completed preliminary mapping of our surface water sources and hydrogeological investigation for ground water sources based on satellite imagery are in progress. Also we have embarked on engineering designs for Tigania and Maua distribution systems and expression of interest for consultancy services for designs of sub-county wide water systems will be advertised soon.
To better improve our environment and make it more regenerative we continue to clean our towns, plant trees, develop sewerage systems, create recreation parks and look for ways to make our solid waste a resource. Ladies and gentlemen, let me take this opportunity to inform that we have secured funding for Makutano trunk sewer line and soon I will be launching the project and we are planning a concrete yard to continuously produce pipes for sewer expansion. The phase 1 of Nteere Park was launched a fortnight ago and a design for Maua Park in conjunction with the Directorate of University community collaboration of JKUAT is in progress.
On other natural resource fronts especially minerals, we continue to redouble our efforts in exploration on what the county is endowed with. Ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to inform you that the national mineral clinic will be held in Meru sometimes next year in February. Presently, we are working together with Geological Survey of Kenya and Esri Eastern Africa in an effort to map out this resource .Once this is done we plan to form a co-operative of small scale miners.
Ladies and gentlemen, to further ensure more benefit from our national forests, we plan to get concession for backlog plantation in Mt Kenya ecosystem and develop it through plant establishment and livelihood improvement scheme (PELIS).
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. 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.
The Meru county government implemented a very successful polio vaccination campaign and about 85% of children under 5 years within the county have been vaccinated. Phase two is under way to ensure every child under five years is vaccinated. Mapping of health facilities needs is complete and equipping of all facilities as per the budget is continuing.
Agriculture is the backbone of our economy. Plans have been put in place 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 branding of our value added products. 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.
Prudent management of resources is paramount if we have to achieve any meaningful development. Controls have been put in place to seal leakages in the revenue collection process. To achieve this, we have partnered with co-operative bank to automate revenue collection process through Point of Sale (POS) system. Further to enhance our revenue portfolio, we have carried out census of the existing and potential sources of the local revenue that is due for launch next week. To ascertain the county government assets, we have embarked on the process of determining the valuation rates, assets identification, assets tagging in order to build a data base for current and future use.
Empowerment of women and youth is critical in our agenda. This will be achieved through establishment of women, youth and general traders co-operative societies in each sub-county to accord our people access to 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 and an on-going exercise that will 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 primacy. This will be achieved through engagement of Public Private Partnerships to ensure we revive all the hotels and tourists attraction sites so as to earn revenue for our county. 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.
Lastly, may I reiterate that security is significant within our county and in the country. We have in the recent past experienced insecurity in our borders. This is a challenge that has been taken quite seriously and we urge our security forces to ensure provision of adequate security to our people as well as property and especially during this festive season. I assure you that my government will fully defend its boundaries and enhance peace throughout the county. 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.
Finally, as the year comes to an end, it is my sincere hope that we will all take time to rest and reflect on our achievements, both individual and collective. I also appeal to motorists to avoid speeding and driving while under the influence of alcohol during this festive season. May I call upon all of us to relax and enjoy the holidays with moderation. I also urge you to remember and help the less fortunate among us.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous, peaceful and blessed year 2014.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL.