November 23rd 2017

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In bold speech, Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi pledges robust measures for food security

"We will work vigorously towards attaining a food secure and peaceful County through the development of sustainable rain fed and irrigation agricultural models thereby enhancing strategic grain reserves for Wajir County."

By Abdirahman Rashid Farahabdirahmancajab@gmail.comWednesday, 27 Sep 2017 14:08 EAT

Wajir County Assembly in session: The new Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud opened its second yesterday. (Photo credits: Siyad Ismail).

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud opened the first session of the second assembly with an impassioned commitment to revamp food production systems in the county, transform the current state of healthcare systems and promote sanitation and access to safe drinking water.

In a speech that put premium on food security, health development and education, the governor acccused the former administration of doing little to promote food security in the region. He said, "It is not that we do not have better options to increase productivity and address food insecurity, but it is because beneficial and right approaches have not been put into place. It is quintessential to note that under my leadership we will undertake projects and programs aimed at improving our food security and we will not accept Wajir County to a begging society during drought and famine.

"We will work vigorously towards attaining a food secure and peaceful County through the development of sustainable rain fed and irrigation agricultural models thereby enhancing strategic grain reserves for Wajir County."

Governor Mohamud, a former cabinet minister in the national government said he would need the cooperation of MCAs in order to deliver on his agenda, saying he was impressed by how seriously the legislators took their jobs. "I am delighted that you have embraced your responsibilities individually and collectively in various leadership positions in the County Assembly with passion and commitment in your capacity as the speaker of the County assembly, representatives of your respective wards and representatives of gender, youth and the disabled persons to represent special interest groups," he said.

On health, he said, "We will facilitate 24-7 ambulance services that are efficient, reliable and accessible to all people including maternity emergencies and progressively decentralizing the services to ward level.

"My Government will therefore propose an effective County Health Management Policy Framework that among other things will guide the establishment of Wajir County Hospital Referral Board, Sub-County Hospital Managements Boards, Heath Facilities and Dispensaries Management Committees to introduce professionalism, value for money and better service delivery in the management of the health sector in Wajir County."


Governor Mohamud addressing the assembly.

"As we start today, it imperative for us to visualize the re-establishment of the Assembly and start on a firm foundation with a sense of selflessness. County Governments were conceived as a model of governance and resource devolution that would ensure balanced, equitable and just development within the various regions of Kenya," he said.

In recognition of his pledge during the election to involve more Wajir people in public decision-making, he said: "I wish to adopt and nurture a consultative and participatory leadership that will transform our county by ensuring that project activities and programmes are guided by the urgency to respond to the main needs of our people and key priorities of the County.

"In this light, Communities’ priorities will be brought on board in county development through participatory planning and development by facilitating communities and their leaders’ participation in the review, development, validation and implementation of the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP)."

Below is the governor's full speech.

 

SPEECH OF H.E.AMB.MOHAMED ABDI MOHAMUD, EGH DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE WAJIR COUNTY ASSEMBLY ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 2017.

Hon. Speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Yakub,

Hon. Members of the County Assembly,

Clerk of the County Assembly,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I wish to take this golden opportunity and convey to you my sincere congratulations to you all on assumption of your offices as peoples’ representatives from your respective wards. I am delighted that you have embraced your responsibilities individually and collectively in various leadership positions in the County Assembly with passion and commitment in your capacity as the speaker of the County assembly, representatives of your respective wards and representatives of gender, youth and the disabled persons to represent special interest groups.

Similarly, I would like to recognize the Clerk to the County Assembly being a special cog in the House playing a central role in effective delivery of your functions and responsibilities. I would like to assure you and emphasize that we will be in this journey together in ensuring that we are committed to a fair, just and inclusive leadership that takes cognizant of the poor, minorities, marginalized and excluded segments in order to better the lives and livelihoods of Wajir county residents.

Hon. Members I feel greatly honored and highly privileged today to join you in opening the first session of the second Wajir County Assembly. As we start today, it imperative for us to visualize the re-establishment of the Assembly and start on a firm foundation with a sense of selflessness. County Governments were conceived as a model of governance and resource devolution that would ensure balanced, equitable and just development within the various regions of Kenya. We as a people are in dire need of this approach of development more than ever before and more than any other area in the Country due to the myriad challenges we face as a society today.

Indeed, given the high expectations that the Wajir people had while electing us into Office in terms of improved living standards, there is little or no option for us but really to deliver and succeed where some of our predecessors may have failed. Devolution is envisioned to be the onerous challenge to take power, decision-making and resources to the people at the grassroots level. In sharing of county resources, equity and fairness will be a key pillar that will inform our decision-making in resource allocation.

The primary mandate of the County Assembly as per Article 185 of the Constitution is Legislation where the authority of the Assembly is vested           in, representation and oversight role. The County Assembly has therefore a constitutional mandate to ensure oversight in the successful implementation of various projects and programs. The constitution also provides that the County Assembly will participate in law making by considering and debating bills, and approving budgets concerning our County.

Furthermore, the County Assembly has the mandate to determine allocations of revenue among various projects as provided for in Article 217 (c) of the Constitution and to exercise due oversight over the County revenue allocated to the County executive. You have a say in budgetary allocations and can cause the county governments to pay attention to what you feel are priority areas in your respective wards and to adhere to the constitution on equitable allocation/distribution of resources across the County. My Government will table for approval the Wajir County 2017-2018 FY Budget so that we can start implementing our programs in earnest especially during the current biting drought in the entire County.

Hon. Members Ladies and Gentlemen during the campaigns we developed and shared a transformational manifesto covering 2017-2022 Fiscal Years that spoke to the hearts and minds of the people of Wajir County. In the circumstances, you will agree with me that we need to be strategic in taking our agenda forward. It is imperative for us to plan and invest our resources effectively and efficiently in where they are needed most.

Moreover, we will be focused and endeavor to realize the promise we made to the great residents of Wajir County through the key pillars and planks in our Jubilee Manifesto. My Government has therefore proposed in the current and subsequent Fiscal Years key policy framework and legislative agenda in the following key sectors in order to respond to constraints and crippling challenges our people face on daily basis, and ensure prosperity and better standards of living for our people.

Hon. Members, I wish to adopt and nurture a consultative and participatory leadership that will transform our county by ensuring that project activities and programmes are guided by the urgency to respond to the main needs of our people and key priorities of the County. In this light, Communities’ priorities will be brought on board in county development through participatory planning and development by facilitating communities and their leaders’ participation in the review, development, validation and implementation of the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).

My Government is therefore proposing to develop the Wajir County 2018-2022 CIDP during the October –December 2017 period in a participatory and consultative process, and your contributions and the people you represent will be instrumental and invaluable in this process going forward.

Hon. Members some areas in our County have been facing sporadic skirmishes in the last 5 years mainly over restricted mobility in search of pasture and water. We have been living together since independence and we have always managed to address our differences in a peaceful manner through an all-inclusive and holistic approach that places communities affected at the Centre of all our actions.

For us to serve our people better and achieve sustainable peace my Government is proposing an elaborate cohesion and integration policy framework. This plan will entail implementation of a robust peace building, governance, conflict mitigation and response measures so as to return Wajir County to its lost glory of a peaceful and secure environment thereby laying firm foundation for investment and growth, and create a globally secure and competitive First Class County Government. You will be called upon to interact with this process and provide any legislative support required.

Hon Members you will recall that due to erratic rainfall and other production constraints our County has been on relief on continuous basis perennially. It is not that we do not have better options to increase productivity and address food insecurity, but it is because beneficial and right approaches have not been put into place. It is quintessential to note that under my leadership we will undertake projects and programs aimed at improving our food security and we will not accept Wajir County to a begging society during drought and famine.

We will work vigorously towards attaining a food secure and peaceful County through the development of sustainable rain fed and irrigation agricultural models thereby enhancing strategic grain reserves for Wajir County. Moreover, we will realize increased incomes from livestock exports through value addition to livestock and livestock products through establishing quarantine stations, competitive abattoirs, finishing of livestock for slaughter and exports, and development of feedlots as well as processing of livestock products e.g. camel milk.

We envisage establishing an Effective livestock disease control mechanisms through livestock vaccination campaigns and deployment of veterinary service personnel in all the wards in the county as well equipping of vet labs in all the sub counties.

In the food security sector, my Government will spearhead the development and implementation of various policies in agriculture and livestock including through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Similarly, In line with the National Contingency Emergency Fund Act, we will propose to repeal the Disaster Management Act 2013, and enact a Wajir Contingency Emergency Fund Act to respond to and mitigate the effects of drought, conflicts and public health emergencies.

Hon. Members Ladies and Gentlemen accessible health care to all is another key milestone in our policy and legislative agenda. We will proactively support improved access to medical and health facilities including drug availability and accountability. Similarly, we will improve access to specialized equipment such as dialysis and cancer treatment machines as well as skilled health personnel to sustain the use of such equipment and machines.

Also, we will facilitate 24-7 ambulance services that are efficient, reliable and accessible to all people including maternity emergencies and progressively decentralizing the services to ward level. My Government will therefore propose an effective County Health Management Policy Framework that among other things will guide the establishment of Wajir County Hospital Referral Board, Sub-County Hospital Managements Boards, Heath Facilities and Dispensaries Management Committees to introduce professionalism, value for money and better service delivery in the management of the health sector in Wajir County.

On the other hand, Wajir town is characterized by a poor waste disposal system with high ecoli levels thereby polluting water for drinking and for household use leading to water borne diseases and other public health emergencies like cholera, etc. It is against this background that our leadership will spearhead efforts to achieve a safer, cleaner and a hygienic environment by improving on public health and sanitation service delivery in Wajir Town. In this respect, it is expedient on the town administration and public health departments to do more in enforcing community capacity in household water treatment and hygiene promotion.

Hon. Members the empowerment of youth, women and marginalized groups will be pursued by my Government in relevant areas of supporting them to develop viable business concepts to enable them get microfinance capital and other microfinance services, andestablishing a County Entrepreneurship fund to finance start-ups and offer necessary incentives. Similarly, my Government will initiate Wajir County Youth Service that will employ thousands of youth and equip them with knowledge and skills, and develop County ECDE policy framework that promotes the integration of ECDE with the Islamic Madarasas at village level. We will endeavor to promote Islamic values and practices from early age.

Moreover, in achieving Vision 2030, my Government will prioritize modern state of the art sport facilities, which will be constructed in all the Sub-Counties. We are still conceptualizing how, what shape the County Entrepreneurship Fund, County Youth Service and ECDE policy framework will take hence we will call upon you to help us shape and develop these ideas into concrete policies, plans and legislations.     

Devolution will only be complete once we transfer resources all the way tothe ward level, village level and that is where the common Mwananchi stays. It is against this background that my Government will allocate Sh 25 million to every ward totaling to Sh750 million in the entire County in the current Financial Year. We’ll put necessary structures in place including setting up committees at the ward level who will be involved in the identification of ward based priority development projects. We will ensure the fund will be used for the intended purpose in an effective and efficient manner.

Hon. Members in achieving the above, you will entirely appreciate the need to prioritize and review the public service structures, skills and competences to ensure the Human Resource (HR) functions in all sectors operate at optimal level. Here, I will soon be forwarding you proposed names of CECs and CCOs for approval to lead various departments in the County, and support me in the delivery of the pledges I made to our people. It is also crucial that we undertake staff audit, harmonization and rationalization of staff requirements with their functions. The County is not able and cannot sustain the current bloated workforce hence we have to make certain painful decisions to match job requirements with the right staff. Moreover, performance contracting for departments and managerial staff will form part of a broader Human Resources function and re-alignment to improve productivity of the work force and improve on service delivery.

In conclusion Ladies and Gentlemen,

Hon. Members, You have a role to play in the transformation of this great county through devolution; indeed, you are all part of a team whose legislative contributions and service will define our successes for generations to come. Hon. Members Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to declare the first Session of the Second Wajir County Assembly officially opened.

HE.AMB.MOHAMED ABDI MOHAMUD, EGH

Abdirahman Rashid Farah is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County





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