SPEECH BY H.E. JOSEPH OLE LENKU, GOVERNOR, COUNTY GOVERNMENT OF KAJIADO, DURING THE JAMHURI DAY CELEBRATIONS ON DECEMBER 12, 2018, AT NGONG STADIUM:
Our County Commissioner, Mr Kipkemei,
Our Hon. Members of Parliament;
Hon. Speaker of our County Assembly;
Hon. Members of the County Assembly;
Our officers of the County Executive Committee & County Public Service Board;
The great & respected people of Kajiado;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today, more than 55 years since our country threw off the chains of colonialism and created our great Republic, we have come here as a free people. A people free to celebrate and commemorate this remarkable achievement by the founding fathers of our Republic; a free people in a free Kenya and, indeed, a very free Kajiado.
Friends: It is the unrelenting spirit of our freedom struggle which produced our Republic that we commemorate and rededicate ourselves to today. This is the spirit which has given us the perpetual urge to fight for freedom and victory over grinding poverty, crippling diseases and rampant unemployment; it is the same spirit that has kept us determined to transform our lives, governance and economy.
It is this same spirit which affirms that our journey towards a good and prosperous life, towards a highly developed Kajiado, has not always been easy. The road has neither been straight nor easy. However, inspired by the struggle of the heroes and heroines of our independence struggle, we, too, will keep going; we will keep trying; and do so because it is said that defeat is only for those who stop trying!
I am extremely glad for the various courageous warriors of development who have, willingly, joined me in this arduous journey of developing our county. Our area MP, Hon Joseph Manje, is for sure, a giant who never tires in helping our people; our members of the County Assembly from this region and others, you are great and honorable leaders!
My dear brethren: The freedom, for which our independence leaders paid the ultimate price to realize, makes our county what it is today – a free land and a home to everybody!
Ours, especially here in Kajiado North, is a socially vibrant, multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan county, a Kenya ndogo of sorts. We are all here – the Maasai, Kikuyu, Kisii, Akamba, Luhya, Luo and therest of Kenyans – together and united as residents of Kajiado. Indeed, we are the face of Kenya!
This is the kind of unity which strengthened the resolve of our founding fathers to build a nation out of multiple classes, ethnicities and races. Out of many, became one; we became one united nation of Kenya.
This is the same unity which continues to-date to inspire confidence in us in order to keep moving forward no matter what; this is the unity that I, relentlessly, preach and stand for as your Governor!
My Cabinet, from the beginning of my time as governor, bespeaks of this unity by bringing together people from different communities and political affiliations.
Ladies and gentlemen: We all live here because of the promise that this Pastoral Paradise, Kajiado County, offers. A promise of a place to call home in a country where land sizes are shrinking; a promise of raising up our families and giving them a good life; a promise of a blissful countryside and thriving town; a promise which we really cherish and relish as the people of Kajiado.
It is in this connection of raising up our families, therefore, that I want, from the deepest depth of my heart, to wish our standard 8 children, whose examination results came out recently, Godspeed in their secondary school education and training.
May God, the Almighty, continue to shine His countenance on the faces of these little angels; may He grant it that they all be selected to various secondary schools of their choice. Those yet to know their fate, we will work tirelessly, day and night, to make sure they go to school; Our County Government has an elaborate bursary scheme that will come in to assist those that face fees challenges.
Talking of the opportunities for a home that Kajiado offers, here, Kajiado North, is home for me too. I have a very personal attachment and extremely fond memories of this place. While I was born in Oloitokitok, it is here, in neighboring Nkaimurunya Ward, that I have lived for all of my adult life. I started my family here; all my children were born here in Kajiado North! I still have visible traces of my life in this area; my dear friends, I am, simply, one of you! That is why I insisted that this year’s Jamhuri celebrations in Kajiado North, my home!
Friends, I am here to appreciate you, my fellow home mates, for your unwavering support during my campaigns for governor.
There are many of you seated here today, with whom we spent many days together during the campaigns; there are many of you here who walked with me every step of the way until we achieved victory; there are many of you who chose to have faith in me and my leadership from the word go.
I owe it all to you guys! My vow, brethren, still remains – I will serve you; I will remain your safe pair of hands in times of need; in times of difficulties! As our independence heroes and heroines made Kenya a safe haven for all of us, I will make Kajiado a safe haven for you and your families to thrive! We are a free people whose lives are improving every day, we are ripe for prosperity, and ready to build a strong future for our children.
I will do all I can to preserve that freedom and walk with you until we have achieved our development goals.
Ladies and gentlemen: For too long our county has been plagued by water problems and our towns are suffering from the stench of garbage. Water shortage and non-functional or non-existence sewerage disposal system is our utmost challenge. This is a challenge which we must confront. I repeat, we must confront! It cannot, must not and will not wait a day more!
That is why I want today to speak frankly and directly about this menace. We appreciate that as opportunities abound in our county, so do our challenges. Kajiado serves Nairobi, our nation’s capital, as a bedroom extension.
Indeed, we are the backbone of our capital’s economic success and as such numberless workers in the city live and do business here. This has overstretched our water and sewerage systems.
However, because of the ongoing efforts of my Government our urban centres are headed for renewal. Our Ngong and Kajiado municipalities are now a reality. Two days ago, our Municipal Management Boards were sworn into office after approval by our County Assembly last week. I thank our Speaker Mheshimiwa Osoi and our MCAs for approving all the nominees and thus accelerating the operationalization of our municipalities.
These boards are critical in seeking resources from the World Bank and other international donor agencies to finance capital projects on areas of infrastructure, water and sewerage systems. I urge them to quickly settle into their office and make the fixing of our sewerage systems a priority.
We have increased our efforts, particularly, in water supply. A few weeks back, as you may be aware, we declared sale of salty water in our county illegal. This is primarily to protect our people’s health. My administration has already taken up the implementation of this directive. We have started to construct boreholes properly fitted with desalination facilities to increase the supply of fresh water for domestic, public and animal consumption. The first of such boreholes is in Kitengela.
As we drill new freshwater boreholes, my Government has embarked on mapping out the already existing salty water boreholes to be immediately fitted with desalination equipment.
Friends: It goes without saying that this venture of desalinating our boreholes will require heavy capital investment and deployment beyond my Government’s fiscal capacity. Alone we cannot manage to do much. We call upon our development partners in the fields of health, water, sanitation and finance to join us to run this invaluable programme. We cannot afford to wait another day! The impact of salt to our health and that of our children cannot afford us the luxury of sitting on the fence on this one.
As we desalinate our boreholes, I am extremely, concerned with the rampant, not least the very reckless, disposal of waste and raw sewerage to the public spaces, roads and walkways. This is as much a gross violation of our health rights as it is a total disregard to our environmental and public health regulations.
The poor sewerage disposal is a challenge we are all facing – rich and poor; young and old;across the breadth and width of our county urban centres. I know that even if you can argue that you are not affected by this menace in our public spaces, you know someone who is – a child who has missed school because of a cholera attack emanating from raw sewerage; a neighbor who can seldom leave the house for being confined by the chocking stench of sewer effluence;
Or even a shopkeeper or kiosk owner who has lost all his livelihood because of sewage water outside his shop!
Therefore, we must do what is necessary to fix this problem! We have to get it right this time round; we have to do it! We have to and we are determined to find a lasting solution to this problem. For example, our efforts are directed towards the decommissioning the dumpsite here at Ngong.
The Kajiado Integrated Solid Waste Management funding has been approved by the Italian Government. Together with our National Treasury, we are now moving to the last stage of signing the financing agreement by the two governments. The tendering process to decommission this dumpsite will commence in a few months. The residents of Ngong will soon have this menace removed from their lives!
My friends: I will now talk about land. I have been concerned by the rampant cases of land fraud. Many families are embroiled in endless court disputes over land simply because unscrupulous people have devised cunning ways to falsify documents.
I will not watch as genuine investors in Kajiado County are conned of the lands they have rightfully bought through the principle of willing buyer/willing seller. My administration will protect all those who buy land genuinely and will support those who have found our County to be worthy as their new home. I urge all people with land cases to try arbitration and seek the assistance of our County Land Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. Together, we will safeguard our land and ensure that investments are secure so that our county can grow.
Ladies and gentlemen: As we move to transform our county we have put a number of projects in place. Many roads are under construction, particularly here in Kajiado North; universal healthcare under Mbuzi Moja, Afya Bora has been enthusiastically received by our people; programmes to grow and preserve hay to feed our livestock during the dry season are already in place as well as efforts to create access to markets for our agricultural produce.
All these changes and many more that I cannot mention here directly speak of our resilience as Kenya. Every time we are faced by challenges, we rise up to the occasion to sort them out. Over a half a century ago, when we were faced with imperial oppression, we beat the British in their game of domination;
when ignorance assailed the breadth and width of our society, we set ourselves on the path of educating our people and produced the most educated people in Africa; and more recently, when we were faced by the threat of tearing apart our nation, during the 2007/08 post-election violence, we quickly agreed to set aside our differences and put our country back together again!
That’s indeed why I am more optimistic for our nation, Kenya and county, now than ever before. Our President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, and his government has relentlessly supported us and developmental projects. Recently, he chose to celebrate next year’s National Madaraka Day Celebrations in our county headquarters, Kajiado town! We welcome you all and other Kenyans in advance for next year’s Madaraka Day celebrations.
Therefore, friends, as I stand here and look to months and years ahead, I see a future that is brighter. There are good and prosperous times ahead. The hatred on political party lines which dominated our social atmosphere up to recently is now behind us and in this post-handshake era; our ethnic differences which for so long and in so many ways pitted us against one another are, increasingly, becoming history; and the days of opposing government only to win political mileage are verily, verily, bygones!
And now, friends, ladies and gentlemen, in one unwavering accord and resolute, let us join hands together to develop Kenya; let us join hands together to develop our great county of Kajiado.
I wish you all a happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.
Thank you and God bless you all abundantly!
H.E. Joseph Ole Lenku
Governor, Kajiado County