SPEECH BY H.E. JOSEPH OLE LENKU, GOVERNOR, KAJIADO COUNTY, DURING THE OPENING OF THE FIRST SITTING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY, FEBRUARY 12TH, 2019.
It is a very warm Kajiado afternoon and I want to trust that our hearts are as warm too; as warm because it is not, necessarily, as a result of our human efforts but God’s divine guidance that we have seen and are here today as leaders ; the servants of this great and blessed County.
In a sense, the first sitting of the third Session of this assembly accords us a prime opportunity to, yet again, come together as one, the leadership of this County, to chart a way forward; to provide direction; and to share ideas.
When I cast my eyes around this assembly, I see honorable members in very high spirits and, indeed, raring to go! It is not lost to me, nevertheless, that, as we start our new session, the past session was characterized by the much needed unity of purpose between the County Executive and this County Assembly.
As your Governor, Mr. Speaker, I can’t ask for more but stand here happy to testify that the journey of Uniting Kajiado, which we started, in earnest, in the beginning of my tenure, is still on course.
Therefore, we are a united people. We are no longer held down by the baggage of the unholy alliance of political division and tribalism. Ours is a relationship in which our people’s interests, needs and plight come first; it is a partnership which creates an enabling environment for us – the Executive and the Assembly – to fulfill our respective mandates as enshrined in the Constitution.
It is this partnership, I can confidently say, that is propelling our County to lead among those counties that are, gracefully and quickly, departing from the path of ordinary performance into a completely new path of transformation and positive scores as key indices of our development.
For example, Sir, we are on record, as the first county to ever hold a “One Year in Office” public report card ceremony for our performance.
This is a fete which, as your governor, I cherish. It is the clearest indicator of our total commitment to accountability to the great people of Kajiado.
Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, we are prominently in the list of counties that have spent enormous amounts of money on development. This far, in our current financial year, our County’s Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), indicates that we spent more than half a billion shillings as development funds in the first half of the 2018/2019 Financial year.
Needless to say, about 503 Million shillings was paid out to contractors for either ongoing or completed projects in our departments of Roads, Education, Agriculture & Livestock as well as Health. This is the highest ever in the history of our devolved unit.
Our efforts are not just focused on the efficient and effective expenditure of development funds but also matched with our revenue collection determination.
During the first half of 2018/2019 financial year, our revenue collection continued to rise impressively. For example, between July 1 and December 31, 2018, our revenue collection shot up by 163 per cent. In that period alone, we collected 368 Million shillings compared to 138 Million shillings collected during the same period in the previous financial half year.
This performance has been rated by the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) as the second most improved County in the country. With these great strides, I look forward to more revenue collection, especially after setting up a directorate of revenue which will now report directly to my office.
It is not just the sterling performance in the financial sector which is putting Kajiado on the national map. Our continued investment in equipping our healthcare institutions, improving infrastructure, recruiting and training personnel and updating systems have enhanced our county’s healthcare availability, accessibility and utilization.
In recent months, Mr. Speaker, our County was rated as having the highest increase of the patients seeking health services in County health facilities. A report which analyzed hospital visits and citizens perception of county health facilities which compared January 1-June 30 (2017) and January 1-June 30 (2018) showed an increase of patients in our health facilities by about 45 per cent.
Furthermore, 187,271 patients sought medical services in our top five hospitals in the second half of 2018 down from 129,512 patients the same period in 2017.
These figures are records from Kajiado Referral Hospital, Ngong, Kitengela and Loitokitok Sub County Hospitals as well as Ongata Rongai health centre.
This is a confirmation that our people are utilizing our health facilities more than ever before. In fact, Sir, a reknown private hospital had to close their branch in Kitengela township after many residents opted for Kitengela Sub County Hospital.
There is a lot more positive things happening in our County. We shall continue to top the charts among our fellow counties.
We continue to seek support of this honorable assembly to scale higher heights in the delivery of services for our people.
I am very well seized of the constitutional oversight role that this honorable Assembly plays.
Thus, on behalf of the Executive arm of our Government, I welcome the Assembly to constructively, and I repeat constructively, keep my Executive Committee Members on their toes, especially on the full implementation of our development priorities, plans and projects.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, allow me to sound up, specifically, the Assembly’s Committee on Implementation; Please, take and scale up your rightful role in the implementation of our development projects. You are our people’s ‘eyes’ in what we do as a Government. Keep us on the go! Keep us on the run! Your support is extremely critical in fast-tracking the pace of our development.
Let me now turn to our legislative agenda: The robust working relationship between us and this Assembly has enabled us to, equally, come through with a number of very useful legislations.
For example, I signed three bills into law on January 29, 2019.
(A)The Kajiado County Administrative Structures Act (2018)
(B) The Kajiado County Inspectorate Service Act (2018)
(C)The Kajiado County Emblems and Names Act (2018).
With all these, Mr. Speaker, I am, extremely glad that we have started this calendar year on a very high legislative note. I look forward to more Bills from my County Executive. I am, really, seized of the fact that some of our largely devolved sectors, such as Health, Agriculture and Livestock experience operational gaps that require legislative streamlining.
In the offing, we have;
The Health Services Bill
The Community Health Services Bill
The Public Health and Sanitation Bill
The Livestock Sale yards Bill
The Agricultural Mechanisation Services Bill
The Agricultural Training Centres Bill
The Animal Welfare Bill and
The Livestock Policy Bill.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, today, I want to direct the CEC Members of the departments concerned to immediately start working closely with the County Assembly, to ensure that the next time I address this Assembly, these bills will have been enacted into laws.
While still on our legislative agenda, I note, with a lot of concern that the Kajiado County Environment Management Bill went through the entire legislation process in the last administration. A lot of tax-payers resources and Assembly time were spent up to Assent stage. However, it remains in limbo.
Some bit of scrutiny of this proposed Bill reveals that it provides a concrete approach in addressing the critical area of sustainable environment and waste management.
Our County continues to experience exponential urban growth and the main provisions of this Bill remain relevant to our day to day mission to keep our environment clean and sustainable, more so in our urban centres.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we do not have to re-invent the wheel. I DIRECT the CEC Members in charge of Environment to immediately engage stakeholders, review the entire Bill and give us a document I can sign into law. Honorable members of this Assembly, please, give that Bill a special attention to enable us dispense with it.
While I am cognizant of the fact that the Executive has a bigger role in preparation of Bills, I have noted, with a lot of satisfaction, the introduction of several Private Members Bills.
These Bills are a clear demonstration that the Honorable Members in this Second Assembly are willing to partner with the Executive to make life better for the people of Kajiado.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker I wish to, personally appreciate the following Honourable Members for taking up the challenge of formulating Private Members Bills;
Hon Joseph Masiaya for the Corporate Social Responsibility Bill;
Hon Onesmus Ngogoyo for the Water Harvesting Bill
Hon Winnie Sein for the Charcoal Burning Bill.
Hon Amos Peshut for the Urban and Physical Planning Bill.
I urge them to work closely with all stakeholders and ensure the Bills see the light of day at the earliest opportunity.
Beyond our legislation agenda, it goes without saying that our County is in a strong partnership with the National Government in our development programmes.
Out of this robust cooperation, H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta accorded us a golden chance to host this year’s National Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1st, 2019.
We much appreciate this important gesture in our unfailing relationship with the President; Just yesterday, I hosted the National Celebrations Executive Committee from the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to kick-start the preparations for the Madaraka Day, 2019. We take pride in this honour.
That’s not all. Our County has been selected to host the Annual Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) Conference that brings together 29 counties. We are ready to host this event at Amboseli National Park in August. We seek the Assembly’s support in this endeavor.
Our focus this year will be to address water concerns, consolidate health care gains and land reforms. Our water plans got a major boost last week when H.E President Kenyatta appointed prominent personalities from our county to key water institutions in our country.
I, therefore, congratulate my predecessor Hon Dr David Nkedianye, Mr Kakuta Maimai, Hon Moses Ole Sakuda and Mr David Kitasho for their appointments. With these new appointments, I am convinced we have able representation in key water agencies and I hope this will boost our bargaining power in the mission to provide water to Kajiado residents.
Finally, let me speak about what, I think, many of you in the Assembly, really, want me to pronounce myself on, loud and clear! And that is none other than the most unfortunate of the crises of our time – The Tax Evasion Crisis by Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd.
From the outset, let it be known, in case of any doubts, that our County Government has the legitimacy to engage all stake-holders and corporate within our jurisdiction in carrying out our mandate of making life more valuable and meaningful to our people.
As we welcome and give all incentives to investors in our County, it is paramount that such investors abide by our laws, rules and regulations as well as respect for our people’s dignity, rights and freedoms.
Soda Ash in Magadi is one of our major natural resources in the county bestowed to us by God Almighty. For years, it has been a lifeline for many generations.
Despite the long history of soda ash mining in Magadi, I am pained, as your leader, to say that I take great exception to the treatment of our people by Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd.
Their activities, to say the very least, have no regard for our people; they have, simply, earmarked us for removal and extinction from OUR LAND; OUR HERITAGE.
It is unimaginable and beyond human expression that a corporate guest to our land, Tata Chemicals Magadi LTD, just ten days ago, had the courage, to destroy, in fact, to demolish, our county office block. This office block was an output of a public consultative engagement process. It is ironical that this meeting was attended by representatives of Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd.
This company has completely disregarded the following laws;
(A)The Finance Act
(B)The Public Health Act
(C)The Mining Act
The impunity displayed by this company bespeaks of corporate greed that has never been seen here in Kajiado and elsewhere in the world; It manifests a conspiracy of big business and corporate injustice against the Maasai community; this can’t be anything but an institutionalized bid to marginalize us further in our own homeland.
As leaders, we cannot take this anymore! Protection of our people takes precedence over everything else, including corporate profits. We aren’t the type to be compromised at the altar of grossly exaggerated Corporate Social Responsibility; we aren’t so ready to be blackmailed in order for corporate entities to evade their tax obligations to the County.
We shall, as usual, offer all our support to investors who fulfill basic requirements such as tax obligations. It is the only way we can trade; The only way we should deal.
It is time to say NO! It is time to say NO to Tata Chemicals Magadi LTD; It is time to say NO to exploitation by mindless corporates; it is time for us all, in unison and one accord, to say NO!
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I want to let this honorable Assembly and the world out there to know that as FOR ME AND MY PEOPLE, we have said NO; We have said NO to the activities of Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd! They must pay up what belongs to our people!
God Bless You All.
God Bless Kajiado County!