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Saturday, 30 Dec 2017 21:24 EATabdirahmancajab@gmail.com
Yussuf Dayib Ali has taken his position as Wajir County’s chief officer for water resources development with a commitment to lead a transformation in the county’s water sector within the current administration.
Yussuf, who until his appointment was a long-serving consumer protection and quality assurance manager at the Kenya Bureau of Standards, shared with Members of the County Assembly during his vetting a vision of public-private partnerships in the drilling and maintenance of boreholes and water supply systems.
One of his first priorities in office will be redesigning the management model of the Wajir Water and Sewerage Company (WAJWASCO), which has the overall mandate of managing water resource use and conservation in the county.
WAJWASCO, which is wholly owned by the county government, has an important role to play in modernising the county’s water resource use and provision of services to the people, Yussuf said, hence his seeking a better model of management and improving the resources at the company’s disposal.
After the long vetting by County Assembly Special Ad Hoc Committee, the house finally on Thursday approved Yussuf’s appointment, along with 24 other chief officers, paving the way for their appointment by Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud.
Governor Mohamud gave the 25 officials their appointment letters immediately after the approval by the assembly at an elaborate ceremony that was attended by the members of the assembly and other top county staff.
In an interview with this newspaper at the Wajir Palace Hotel, Yussuf expressed his appreciation for the appointment and said he would serve the people of Wajir to the best of abilities. He particularly thanked the governor and the leadership of county assembly led by the Speaker, Leader of the Majority, Clerk to the Assembly and MCAs.
Yussuf said Wajir County has a long-standing water problem particularly in the Wajir Town’s central business district which he said should be comprehensively resolved to spur the town’s growth. He spoke of a research carried by the World Bank which showed that Habaswein Sub County had enough water to supply water for CBD centre.
Saying that water development was a concern to people throughout Wajir, he said he would soon initiate consultation with community elders, political leaders and religious leaders of the area with the goal of winning support on how the water could be harnessed. He said the process will be funded by the World Bank.
Among his goals in the water ministry will be to set out a Strategic Plan for the department with the help of county leadership, the national government, the water ministry staff. He also wants to engender strong cooperation with national and international Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) actors for experience sharing, resources and capacity building.
“We need above everything else a good strategic plan for the five years to solve the water crisis in county. Whatever we do, our results should be unquestionable at the end of the current administration,” he said.
Yussuf plans to decentralise the water department to the sub-county level rather than centralise operations in his office. “The lower decisions are made concerned projects and interventions, the better it will be for our people, since the main goal of the ministry is service to the people,” he said.
Yussuf said the department is currently expecting seven water bowsers from the World Bank. He said the department plans to identify one permanent water source in each sub-county that will distribute the resource to all wards rather than wasting funds in many dams.
“With a proper plan and a good technical team, we will change the face of Wajir County by having enough water in the entire county,” he said, explaining that on matters of borehole operation and maintenance, he will work with private sector engagement.
He said that Wajir County currently had 115 water trucking centres but these will be increased and boosted particularly during droughts. “We want to minimise water trucking issues by finding out better ways to have permanent solution in water issues,” he said.
The chief officer also spoke of plans to engage experts including engineers to survey the areas where the boreholes are to be drilled before the design stage. This is because the county has had cases where a place is drilled only to find that there is no water there.
“We can only address such problems by doing proper research before we do drilling,” he said. In addition to working with experts, he said there was a great need to increase participation of the community, and in this regard, he will form a County Water Forum that will bring together members of the public and other stakeholders in the water sector in order to have lasting solutions in water.
He is also keen to make his office more accessible to stakeholders in the water sector, saying that the department will seek to take up views and ideas from all the people in the county.
Yussuf has a rich background in quality management system, having served most recently as head of market surveillance in the Coast Region for KEBS, having been promoted from junior ranks since his appointment there in 2004.
He holds an MBA in Strategic Management from JKUAT and a Bachelor of Technology in Applied Chemistry from the Technical University of Mombasa.
Abdirahman Rashid Farah is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County