DURING THE 57th MADARAK DAY CELEBRATIONS MARKED ON MONDAY, THE 1ST JUNE, 2020
Wananchi Watukufu wa Marsabit:
The 1st day of June 1963 is a memorable date in our national calendar as our great Nation, Kenya, regained its self-rule, after 70 years of colonial rule. That is why we set aside every 1st day of June to remind ourselves of the day when all our struggles finally culminated into freedom.
Today marks the Fifty Seventh year since we joined the global community of independent countries with the freedom to directly manage our affairs and shape our destiny as a Nation.
As a Country, we thank the Almighty God for all the love and favours He has bestowed upon us – as a people and as a Country. All through the 57 years of our independence history, we have always seen the hand of God in guiding our nation.
Equally, we pay tributes to our freedom fighters for their struggles and all the pain they endured to secure our freedom.
On this day, I also want to pay profound tributes to all those who have had the historic responsibility of leading our country.
From the founding President to the current President H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, our Nation’s leaders have delivered their parts in advancing the ideals of our independence. It is because of the cumulative wisdom of our leaders and the Divine Guidance that for 57 years Kenya has been a nation of political stability and an economic powerhouse in the region and remained a beacon of peace in a continent beset with conflicts.
Fellow County Men and Women:
This year, we celebrate the Madaraka Day within a different atmosphere amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. Unlike the past 56 celebrations, this year’s Madaraka Day will be marked while staying in our own homes since the containment of the novel coronavirus requires the practice of social distancing.
No matter how you celebrate, this day offers us the opportunity to share with each other the strides we have made and the challenges we may have encountered this Financial Year.
Admittedly, this year comes as the year of great challenges. From the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the invasion by locusts to the difficult fiscal context, the year 2019/2020 has negatively impacted on everyone in every corner of Marsabit.
The year begun with the standoff between the Senate and the National Assembly over the allocation of shareable revenue which delayed disbursement of funds to counties until October 2019. The delay made it almost impossible for us to undertake development projects and support recurrent expenditures including payment of salaries to County Government staff.
Further, the Presidential Directive issued during the 56th Madaraka Day celebrations required the counties to settle all the pending bills in totality. Whilst the directive was well in line with Section 41 (2) of the PFM Act 2012, which requires that debt service payments be the first charge on the County Revenue Fund every year, its implementation greatly affected the county governments’ operations and development programmes.
The situation was particularly overwhelming for county governments with huge pending bills including our own County which inherited pending bills of over Kshs. 1.2 Billion from the first County Government. However, the pending bills were progressively budgeted for and most part have been settled over the previous financial years leaving us with about Kshs. 808 Million of verified Pending Bills as at June 2019.
I am happy to report that we have fully complied with the Presidential Directive of 2019 on Pending Bills and have incorporated all unpaid bills into the current budget through a revised supplementary estimate, which estimate has since then been approved by the County Assembly.
It is important to note that inclusion of the pending bills in the current budget has forced us to suspend a number of development projects planned for the year including those requested by people across Marsabit as Ward Priorities.
I wish to express my utmost gratitude to the County Assembly of Marsabit and all MCA’s for all the support and cooperation during the budget revision process. We will see to it that all the suspended projects will be prioritized in the next financial year.
It is also our commitment that all the verified pending bills will be paid before the end of this Financial Year unless otherwise affected by the delays of funds from the National Treasury.
While still on the matter of Pending Bills, we have received complaints that there are number of completed projects across the County for which no payment has been made or are not captured in the system as part of the Pending Bills.
I have directed the CEC Member for Finance and Economic Planning to institute a mechanism for redressing such omissions. Everyone who has done work commissioned by the County Government and/or offered genuine services to the County Government should present their claims to the County Treasury or to the Ward Administrators of their respective wards.
Fellow County Men and Women;
Despite the financial challenges I enumerated, I am in deed pleased that our operations and delivery of all essential services have continued with minimum interruptions. We have ensured that all the development projects which rolled over from the previous years have remained on course.
We have equally provided emergency responses across our county as and when required – from the flash floods occasioned by heavy rains we have experienced in the past months to the invasion by the desert locusts.
Through our relief and emergency programme and with the support of our partners, including World Food Programme, World Vision, Redcross, PACIDA, Kenya Dryland Education Fund among others, we have supported over 40,000 households with food and non-food items.
Under the Scholarship Programme, we paid fees for over 500 secondary students who included all the 248 beneficiaries from last year as well as this year’s 254 successful applicants.
Our key flagship projects such as the Medical Training College and construction of the fish factory at Loiyangalani and the Sololo Level IV Hospital remain on progress, while the re-designed Marsabit Market is nearing completion.
Further, all the transformative programmes we initiated in the health sector including free ambulance services, medical insurance for county staff and vulnerable members of our community, dialysis service and improved diagnostic capacity at the County Referral Hospital have been sustained.
In the course of the year, we opened 17 health facilities across the County and we have also managed to avail essential medicines and medical supplies to all health facilities in a sustainable manner.
We have equally made substantial investment in the health sector especially in view of the outbreak of COVID 19 and the required measures for response and containment of the disease. Your government allocated Kshs. 60 million through the supplementary budget to procure assorted supplies and equipment required for the prevention, containment and management of the Coronavirus. Our fight against this new disease has also been bolstered by the support from many of our development partners and local NGOs and we thank them all for the collaboration and the generous support extended to us.
Over the past 2 months, we have improved the human resource capacity in the health sector by employing about 180 health professionals including Medical Doctors, Nurses, Clinical Officers, Laboratory Technologists and Community Health Assistants among other cadres. Further, with the support of the National Government, an additional 78 health professionals will be recruited in the first week of this month.
We have strengthened disease surveillance activities within the county and at the border points. As of yesterday, our surveillance team have screened about 300 travellers coming into Marsabit. Of these, about 240 persons were screened at various entry points into Moyale while about 60 were screened at Merille.
Further, 48 suspected cases have been placed under quarantine, of which 35 persons have been tested for COVID-19 while 13 are currently in quarantine facilities. So far, all the samples taken in Marsabit have tested negative for COVID 19.
I am happy to state that we have witnessed a great deal of dedication from many actors in the war against the coronavirus. I salute the County’s surveillance team and the entire health fraternity for their enduring commitment and show of professionalism during this period.
We also observed a unique cooperation between the communities, the Office of the County Commissioner and the law enforcement officers. I cannot applaud them enough. I must mention that, from the enforcement of curfew regulations, screening of travellers, arresting of suspected individuals to the timely response to alert signals from the community, our police service has been an integral part of our surveillance effort from day one.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Whereas no positive case of Coronavirus has been detected in Marsabit, we are still far from safe. The virus has already been detected in 34 counties. In fact all counties surrounding Marsabit have reported a positive case of the disease.
It is vital that we remain vigilant as ever. I request that wherever we are, we continue to sustain our cooperation with the police officers and the health surveillance team by providing information on suspected cases and all individuals from outside Marsabit coming into our locality.
Beloved People of Marsabit:
The outbreak of COVID 19 is not the only challenge confronting us. The invasion of the County by Desert Locust from early January has been detrimental to the pasture situation in Marsabit. So far, about 45,000 ha of grazing land is estimated to have been affected by the locust invasion, which also affects over 4,000 households relying on livestock. Unfortunately, in spite of the various control intervention, the locust is still with us. The County Government will continue to support the surveillance and control effort aimed at freeing the county of desert locust. The County Government will also support the affected communities during and post desert locust period so that normalcy and livelihoods are restored.
In the month of March, we also witnessed an outbreak of an acute respiratory syndrome that is affecting all ages of camel but very severe in calves and weaners particularly in the sub-counties of North-Horr and Saku. High numbers of deaths have already been registered in Yaa Gara and Turbi areas of North-Horr and in Dokatu area of Saku. In addition, there is an outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease being reported in cattle around Hurri hills and Forole while active cases of Foot and Mouth Disease are still in Saku Sub-County.
The County Department in-charge of Livestock has been intensifying veterinary response for the control and treatment of these diseases through mass vaccination and de-worming of livestock across the County. We appeal to all stakeholders to provide the necessary support.
Beloved People of Marsabit:
Insecurity continues to be a challenge in our county. It is continuously slowing our development and violating our fundamental human rights. It is unfortunate that in this county our ethnicity has been misused to breed hatred and cause conflicts – year in, year out. I want to condole with families across our county that have lost their loved ones due to the unending senseless conflicts. We should all understand that any loss of innocent life in any part of this County is a loss to all of us.
We must return to reason TOGETHER and act TOGETHER to prevent the kind of bloodshed and horrors we have witnessed in the past. We must all turn our backs upon the ugly past and look to the future.
We must say enough is enough to those who want to sustain conflicts, wars and hatreds in the name of revenges.
There is absolutely no need for any further agony than has already been created.
Let’s all rise to the clarion call to save ourselves, our county and our children from future agonies.
I appeal to all the leaders and elders, the elites, youth and students, all Marsabit men and women – those living within the county and those who are outside but who still regard Marsabit as their home – to respond to the call for peace and act together to end all conflicts in our midst.
I also want to appeal to the national security team in Marsabit to take their rightful place in the maintenance of law and order. Whilst law cannot make people love each other, timely actions by law enforcement team can prevent people from killing or harming each other.
So, I want to urge our County Commissioner and the County Security Team, that in times of tensions, your endeavour should be on forestalling violence and preventing it from happening, and if it happens despite your best efforts – bring the perpetrators to book.
Beloved People of Marsabit:
As you are aware, our President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta and the former Prime Minister, RT. Hon Raila Odinga last year launched an initiative that aims to create a united nation for all Kenyans living today and the future generations.
The two leaders stood together and urged every Kenyan and every political leader to compete without using ethnic profiling or by promoting ethnic hatred or using the ethnic card that pits one group against the other.
They did so because they appreciate that Kenya is a republic majorly because of her citizen and land mass it occupies and therefore any political pursuit by any Kenyan leader must seek to unite and bring on-board all Kenyans without leaving behind any section of this Country.
There is no doubt that bringing the Kenyan people together demands that we face our challenges with great courage, and openly discuss the past failures that have set us apart. We must unconditionally commit ourselves to the recovery of our social fabric; the recovery of the community and a genuine sense of nationhood.
We all know that we in Marsabit have had our fair share of negative antagonism. We have witnessed a continued deterioration of ethnic relationships, much of which has been engineered by the political class.
This is the time for us to come together in the spirit embodied in Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and work to find solutions to the challenges that confront us; as a people and as a County.
We must now put our antagonism behind us, conquer the tensions amongst us, and come together to build our County.
As your Governor, I assure you that I will devote my every energy to enhancing social harmony and peaceful coexistence among the diverse cultures and communities of Marsabit. I want to re-affirm my commitment to work with the all leadership of our County, young and old, men and women from all shades of political opinions to facilitate efforts towards fostering a meaningful, sustainable and durable peace, love and unity in our County.
I call upon all the leaders from across the entire political divide to now rise above political partisanship and join hands in building bridges to a United, Prosperous and Cohesive Marsabit County.
May God bless you all and may God bless our County.