February 25th 2018

Entertainment / Celebrities

University academic Joseph Mburu gears up for Trans Nzoia governor's seat

Dr Mburu, who was born and raised in Bungoma County, says he knows the problems in Trans Nzoia where he has a home and will be ready to tackle them if elected governor.

By David JagongoMonday, 10 Apr 2017 11:30 EAT

Trans Nzoia gubernatorial aspirant Prof Joseph Mburu.

A university academic, Joseph Mburu, has announced his decision to contest the Trans Nzoia gubernatorial seat in the August 8 general elections. Dr Mburu, who was born and raised in Bungoma County, says he knows the problems in Trans Nzoia where he has a home and will be ready to tackle them if elected governor.

Ensuring the long-suffering maize farmers in Trans Nzoia County get an fair deal and an incentive to keep them growing the crucial staple food is top of his agenda, and he wants to address affecting farmers including land tenure, squatters issues and infrastructure among others.

The political science professor at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, is determined to face the incumbent Patrick Khaemba of Ford-Kenya, a party allied to NASA coalition co-principal Moses Wetangula. The don, who once announced his bid for the presidency on a People Economic Empowerment Party ticket, said he will leave the question of ticket to party officials.

''I once announced my presidential bid, but sometimes changes do occur. The government refused to register my party, I have therefore put my presidential bid on hold, I am instead in the Trans Nzoia gubernatorial race," he told the Kenya Free Press in Nairobi over the weekend. "The party on whose ticket I will vie for the Trans Nzoia seat are the ones to make the announcement,'' he said.

The former civil servant talks passionately about the plight of maize farmers in Trans Nzoia, Kenya's breadbasket, blaming the government for  not giving the farmers enough support in the production of the key cash crop and staple food. ''There is no reason why a 90 kg bag of maize fetches below Sh3,000, yet growing maize is relatively expensive. It costs Sh10,000 to grow an acre of maize per season, yet it only yields Sh5,000 per season, which a big loss to the farmer'', he said.

Another issue he will address if elected governor is the ban on the sale of green maize and restricted of the same to dry maize which he says denies farmers the much-needed cash. To address the problem, Dr Mburu wants the ban lifted saying he will install deepfreezers in which maize will be stored and sold as green maize, a move that will make a difference in the farmers' earnings.

''Farmers will earn Sh100,000 per acre per season if they store and sell green maize as opposed to the much lower returns yielded from the sell of dry maize'' he said. His target is to ensure 40 percent of maize grown in the county is sold as green maize. Making Trans Nzoia a case study and turning Kitale town into one of the urban areas Kenyans will yearn to visit is also the don's top priority.

''We want to make all roads lead to Trans Nzoia. We are blessed with good weather, there is no reason why Kenya should import maize. I also plan to put up factories in the county and create jobs for the youth," he said. Still on farming, Dr Mburu has in mind stepping up of sukuma wiki (kale) production for export to Europe where there is high demand for the vegetable and harnessing of poultry farming, through production of traditional chicken in the next five years.

He believes his stint in the public service and teaching experience in Canada have given him great insight into how a prosperous nation should look like and what this entails. At Moi University, Kenya (1999) he taught Human Resource Management - staffing, promotion, discipline, staff evaluation. In the public service (1991-2003), he served as: Assistant Secretary, Office of the President, seconded to the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Finance.

He coordinated economic development cooperation between the Government of Kenya and a large number of foreign governments and international development agencies including the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank (ADB) Group (ADB, ADF & Nigeria Trust Fund), The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), OPEC, BADEA, Abu Dhabi, and several other donors.

On the emotive land issue, he is blaming the squatter problem on poverty, bad governance and rip off which some members of land buying companies ripped off by company officials. He takes issue with unfair distribution of land, which saw senior government officials dish out large chunks of land to their cronies. This is an issue that he promises to tackle.

"Good tidings are coming to Trans Nzoia through me. I will wipe out poverty, unemployment and clean up and beautify Kitale Town," he promised.


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