SPEECH BY KIRAITU MURUNGI, GOVERNOR OF MERU COUNTY DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 2ND COUNTY ASSEMBLY OF MERU AT THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY CHAMBER, COUNTY ASSEMBLY OF MERU BUILDINGS, MERU, ON 28TH SEPTEMBER, 2017 Honourable Speaker, Deputy Governor, Honourable Members of the County Assembly of Meru, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to address you on this auspicious occasion of the inauguration of the second County Assembly of Meru. Let me begin by congratulating all of you for being elected to the County Assembly. I wish you the very best in the discharge of your oversight and legislative duties and functions as honorable members for the next five years. As I have said before, I want to Make Meru Great. My desire is to make Meru one of the most democratic and prosperous counties in Kenya. I want to open a new chapter in the history of Meru- a chapter of strong and mutually rewarding friendship and cooperation between the County Executive and the County Assembly, and between the County Government and the National Government for the maximum benefit of our people. For many years now, our people have been waiting for adequate water, for better roads, for better schools, for better hospitals, for more jobs and more money. We have given them a new hope that these things will happen. The expectations are very high. We have no choice. We must deliver on our promises. For us to move quickly and succeed, we must change the way we think and the way we do things. It cannot be business as usual. We have to abandon old thinking, and old-fashioned development models borrowed from the past. We have to work together as leaders and institutions. We have to humbly listen to our people, and do what is urgent and important for them. We must manage our limited resources prudently and stimulate growth and productivity of our people. As the members of the County Assembly, you are critical players in the politics and governance of this County. You are a powerful instrument for reform and our socio-economic transformation. I want to work closely with you to make Meru Great. Our relationship should not be merely based on the Constitution and the County Governments Act. We are looking forward to a deeper and more meaningful relationship based on friendship, mutual respect, mutual consultation and cooperation, for the benefit of those who elected us. Mr Speaker Sir, allow me to thank the Committee on Appointments for the speed with which they moved to vet our nominees for County Executive Committee. It is my hope that the House will move quickly to conclude this process, as a lot of work lies ahead of us. We have to boost the productivity of our people. We have to build the destroyed kiosks. We have to continue modernizing our markets. We have to revive cotton and coffee sectors. We have to support miraa farmers. We have to expand our dairy sector. We have to strengthen our co-operatives. We have to re-invent our tourism sector. We have to add value to our agricultural products such as potatoes, bananas and fruits. In all these and others, we need your ideas and support. My Government will soon be bringing to this House papers and bills for approval, to enable us to implement key pledges made to the people of Meru. These include the Supplementary Budget estimates to accommodate Kshs. 1 Billion for water this financial year. We shall also need your support for the Meru Youth Service, the Ward Development Fund, the Women Fund and the Disability Fund. We have also promised to radically transform the governance system of this County. My government is focused on widening the scope and space for consultation by involving the people and their leaders in decision-making. We will establish institutions from ward level to county level to enhance participatory planning. We shall establish the following development boards to provide a forum for consultation between different county leaders: a) Meru Economic and Social Council (MESC); b) Meru County Development Board; c) Sub County Development Boards; d) Ward Development Boards; e) Meru County Agricultural Development Board; f) Meru County Roads Board; g) Meru County Tourism Board; h) Meru County Health Board; and, i) Town Management Boards. These boards will not exercise any executive powers but they will play key advisory and recommendatory roles in coordination and harmonization of development plans and projects to ensure that the people democratically participate in their own development. Peace and security is a condition precedent for any development. Regular and predictable cycles of drought in Northern Kenya have caused permanent tensions, insecurity, violence, deaths, untold suffering and economic destruction in the Tigania and Igembe areas along Meru/Isiolo border. I have already discussed this matter with the President and action is being taken through the County Commissioner’s office. The County Government is supporting this effort by providing vehicles and some rangers. We need to do much more. We shall engage with the leaders of Isiolo County to seek a lasting solution to this perennial resource conflict and to promote peace, security and economic co-operation between the two counties. In the meantime, I shall be seeking additional resources through the supplementary budget to increase our capacity to deal with emergencies, droughts, and other unforeseen man-made or natural disasters. Having been a member of parliament, I understand the need to promote and protect the dignity of this House. My government will support honorable members to improve their working environment and service delivery to the people. Let me once again wish you success in the discharge of your mandate, as we work together to Make Meru Great. Thank you. God bless you all, and God bless Meru. Kiraitu Murungi GOVERNOR










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