The Wajir County Government today organized a series of events to mark one year of devolution.
A public forum was held in the morning at Wajir guest house that gave the public the chance to interact freely with all their elected and appointed leaders that culminated in a question and answer session.
A procession to the county assembly followed where the Governor gave his ‘State of the County’ address.
The event was attended by the County senator Hon. Abdirahman (Olow), the County Women representative Hon. Fatuma, MP for Wajir East Hon. Abass and his Wajir West counterpart Hon. Abdikadir Ore and all the elected and nominated county assembly members.
Below is the full speech of the Governor Hon. Ahmed Abdullahi.
SPEECH OF THE GOVERNOR ON THE STATE OF THE COUNTY
DURING THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
By H. E. Hon Ahmed Abdullahi
Hon. Members of the county assembly,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Today we mark exactly one year since my inauguration and swearing in into office as Governor of Wajir County. Thus, today is the first anniversary of the County Government of Wajir and indeed for all County Governments in Kenya.
County Governments across the country are today, each in their own way, celebrating that anniversary. Next week, we will all gather in Kwale to jointly reflect on the milestones covered and the challenges confronting us.
As we mark a year of our existence, we should reflect on the objectives as captured in article 174 of the constitution of Kenya 2010.
a) To promote democratic and accountable exercise of power.
b) To foster national unity by recognizing diversity.
c) To give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance the participation of the people in the exercise of the powers of the state and in making decisions affecting them.
d) To recognize the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development.
e) To protect and promote the interests and rights of minorities and marginalized communities.
f) To promote social and economic development and the provision of proximate easily accessible services throughout Kenya.
g) To ensure equitable sharing of national and local resources throughout Kenya.
h) To facilitate the decentralization of state organs, their functions and services from the capital of Kenya.
i) To enhance checks and balances and the separation of power.
Indeed devolution of resources and power was and is intended to bring about equity.
As we mark our one year anniversary, I am proud of the achievements we have attained to date. We have formed the key pillars of both arms of our government and each of our ten departments of the executive has made strides. The assembly too has made very good progress.
We have developed a County Integrated Development (CIDP) and an annual budget whose implementation is at an advance stage. In summary, the highlights of our departmental work thus includes the following;-
Provision of water to our people continues to be the single most important challenge we face.
We have so far drilled twelve boreholes; another 36 have been contracted and are at various stages of drilling. 18 new water pans with total capacity of 480,000 cubic meters have been dug. We have embarked on a programme to desilt the old pans across the county. Further we have constructed three sand dams in Gurar to conserve water and recharge the shallow wells.
For better management of our water resources we have established Wajir Sewerage Company. (WASCO)
We have invested in acquisition of new and repair of existing water trackers and boreholes equipment and have tracked water to a total of 158 settlements for the last four months as a drought mitigation measure.
Rural electrification still remains a devolved function that is yet to be transferred; consequently, resources for electrification have not been transferred to counties. The county government has established nine flood lights in Wajir town to bolster security. Plans are underway to install 100 solar street lights in all sub-county headquarters before the end of the fiscal year.
ENVIRONMENT: FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE
We have established indigenous tree nurseries to increase indigenous forest cover and have commenced the planting of wind break trees. Some of the centres already covered include Hodhan, Makoror and Arbajahan
Mr. Speaker, we have invested heavily in revitalizing the health sector.
We have recruited 170 new health care workers and increased the headcount of our staff from 230 to 501. We have operationalized our district and sub- district hospitals in Wajir town (which now for the first time ever work for 24 hours) Habaswein, Bute, Griftu, Buna, Korandile and khorofharar.
We have opened new facilities which were previously closed for lack of staff and equipment including but not limited to Haragal, Kotote, Jowhar, Basir, Anole Abdiwaaqo, Tesorie, Argani, Kursist, Buder, Godama, Ingirir Lesayu and Madho.
Construction of new dispensaries is underway in Baladul Amin, Burmayo, Salema, Lolakuta, Halane and Beramu.
Mr. Speaker to address maternal and child mortality, we have 30 new maternities extension under construction and have given ourselves a deadline of 15th April to operatationalise them.
We have purchased and await delivery of 8 new ambulances for the sub- counties.
Our facilities are now well stocked with medical supplies, and we have constructed out the completion work of our medical training centre MTC.
The construction of the Regional National Public Health laboratory supported by the World Bank is progressing well.
Mr. Speaker, we have given ourselves till the end of this fiscal year to fully commission the operating theatres at Habaswien Bute and Griftu hospitals.
To retain and attract specialized health care workers, we are in the process of agreeing on a training framework that will sponsor our doctors for specialization under a bonding for a fixed term arrangement.
ROADS AND PUBLIC WORKS
The design of the 25 km tarmac in Wajir town and its environs is ongoing and the actual roadwork will follow soon.
Road work at various stages of completion include- graveling of 191.3 km, grading of another 176.7 km construction of 30 drifts and bush clearing of 930.4 km.
In addition, the county is purchasing road equipments and machinery to deal with the acute shortage of the same.
We have contracted the construction of our county headquarters and office blocks for all sub- County and ward administration blocks.
Mr. Speaker, so far we have revived the polytechnics by buying learning materials introducing relevant courses such as electrical and plumbing. The enrolment has risen from 50 students to 275.
We have recruited over 300 ECD teachers who will proceed for training in April and have constructed ECD schools and classrooms across the county. Our ongoing projects include model ECD schools in which we are investing a total ksh. 92.8 million this year, recruitment of 100 PTA teachers for primary schools, five fully equipped workshops in the sub- county polytechnics.
We are spending ksh. 30 million on bursary for secondary and university students from disadvantaged families and constructing dormitories for Wajir School for the deaf.
Mr. Speaker, the grades posted by our children in both primary and secondary schools is worrying. To this end, the county government is sponsoring a stakeholders and all county leaders education conference in May this year aimed at deliberating this matter and coming up with practical steps to immediately reverse this to end.
AGRICULTURE AND VETERINARY
The department has constructed hay shades to boost strategic hay reserve, trained over 640 community annual health workers provided Knap Sack sprayers for tick and pest control, renovated livestock markets which for the first time will have amenities and facilities opposed to just being on open meeting space. One modern livestock market is currently under construction at Afar mile livestock corridor. We have vaccinated over 600 heads of livestock against common livestock diseases and the exercise is still on-going in some of the sub-counties.
38 farms fitted with small scale drip irrigation construction is underway in 5 irrigation schemes for water harvesting structures to irrigate about 300 acres of land.
Completion of the export slaughter house and the ternary at Buna is also underway.
INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
The department has institutionalized ICT in the Government set up and in spite of not inheriting a single computer or printer from our defiant local authority we have today been recognized by the CRA as one of the counties that handles over 90% of all transactions on the governments IFMIS and G-pay platforms.
We are constructing 5 community centres in Eldas, Griftu, Habaswin, Tarbaj and Bute and are planning to extend the Fibre Optic to Griftu and Eldas.
In addition we are establishing a data centre and implement a health management information system and increasing mobile network coverage by partnering with service provider in this field.
We have formed a land dispute tribunal and stopped the grabbing of public land and implementing the Wajir town spatial plan. Spatial plans and surveying is also underway for all the sub- counties. The first phase of this is surveying and regularizing Wajir town plot data for issuance of title deeds an initiative we are undertaking with co-operation of the national land commission.
TRADE AND WILDLIFE
We have constructed six fresh produce markets across the county and have established a sharia-compliant revolving fund of ksh. 150million. The disbursement should, Insha’Allah begin in the first half of April. Over forty co-operative societies have been established with the help of the department.
PEACE BUILDING AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Mr. Speaker, the County Government has been at the fore front in dealing with conflict. We have established a peace and conflict resolution directorate in my office with a full time director and a council of peace elders.
We have resettled the internally displaced in Burmayo and Gunana and have invested in the resolution of clan- dispute in Eldas and Wajir north.
We are pursuing peaceful mechanism to resolve the border dispute with our sister and neighboring counties.
The assembly too has done well. We were amongst the first counties to vet and approve nominees for appointment to county public serve board. The assembly approved the budget in accordance with article 207 and approved the CIDP, in line with its constitutional mandate.
Mr. Speaker, like all start-ups, devolution has not been without challenges both globally in the country and specifically in our county.
Foremost the expectation of the citizen that devolution will be a panacea to all their problems and will have instant solutions needs to be checked.
County governments have not been adequately funded to carry out all their functions.
Mr. Speaker the institutions and organs of leadership created in good faith under the constitution continue to bicker over boundaries of their mandate and the county government have borne the biggest brunt of the targeted war of misinformation and propaganda. However, I want to assure you that the key tenets of devolution are well protected by the constitution and it is only with the blessings of the Kenyan voters through a referendum that such amendments can occur.
In our case, as a county, we continue to struggle in attracting qualified persons with the necessary technical skills to perform certain duties. Our advertisement for hiring of additional doctors, anesthetists or even internal auditors and payroll mangers did not attract qualified persons of the caliber we were seeking.
The need for further decentralization of our functions and provision of our services per article 176 of the constitutions is not complete. To this end we will soon be posting administrators in all the wards.
Mr. Speaker, the one year anniversary is indeed a time to reflect on what we have learnt, what we need to research more,what we have accomplished and what we need to do better. The need to reflect and reason is also required by our faith as cleared to us in Quran ; 2; 164
“Indeed, in the creating of the heavens and earth and the alteration of the night of the day and the great ships which will sail though the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rains, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every moving creature and directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heave and the earth are signs for a people who use reason.
In conclusion, devolution is to a great start in Kenya and in Wajir County.
Let’s all work together towards addressing its challenges, which if approached in good faith by all, are not insurmountable, so that we realize its greatest benefit for our people.
God bless Kenya, God bless Wajir County, God bless you all
Photos and full speech courtesy of Wajir County Gvernment press service