Friday, 14 February 2014

KISUMU GOV. JACK RANGUM'S SPEECH ON THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY

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SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY GOV. JACK RANGUMA, GOVERNOR OF THE COUNTY OF KISUMU DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE COUNTY ASSEMBLY,

February 10, 2014
Madam Speaker,
Honourable members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In my address to this assembly on 18th April 2013, I said that we had entered a new dispensation as a country, and a new chapter in governance, development planning and execution; checks and balances that clearly separates the roles of legislation and oversight from executive implementation, while also emphasizing the constitutional requirement that allows citizens to participate in how they are governed.

Indeed, this new Constitution created new hope, and therefore Citizens expectations are high. I am aware that such expectation has brought pressure at all levels in earnest desire to please our electorate. Honorable Members, I am equally affected by the new hope.

And I also said that this house is the glue that will hold together the people of Kisumu County while we pursue our development agenda.

It is my great pleasure and honor to once more address this assembly. From the time I took the oath of office I have worked with sincerity and honesty to put down structures for a progressive and modern Kisumu. We began our work by establishing systems both at the county level and at the national level to make devolution work. This work is ongoing, as you know devolution takes many years to take root.

Ten months ago, we began the journey of rebuilding Kisumu. At that time, I spelt out my vision:
1). Agriculture and food security, 2). industrialization, 3). tourism, 4). technology, 5). infrastructure, 6). talent development, and 7). quality social systems in health service delivery, education and provision of clean water.

Today, I stand to reaffirm that my vision for Kisumu County has not changed. In line with our party manifesto we must:
(1) transform agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors to ensure adequate food for everyone, and to provide decent incomes to families;
(2) make Kisumu a leading industrial and commercial centre, that provides a friendly environment for local and international business to invest and create jobs for our youth;
(3) sell Kisumu as a leading tourist destination; the home to the second largest lake in the world to be used for sports fishing, marine engineering and lake transport; its transport proximity to the Masai Mara game reserve, The Serengeti, and centrality to the western tourist circuit;
(4) promote the provision of stable energy requirements for local industries;
(5) re-establish and/or re-engineer collapsed industries including Cotton and beer manufacturing, among others;
(6) revitalize investment in sugar milling plants to become low cost producers of sugar while also diversifying production to include ethanol, energy, fertilizers, pulp, etc.;
(7) to strengthen the provision and management of primary healthcare and provision of quality health services;
(8) to promote the provision of quality education, while strengthening early childhood education and vocational training;
(9) provision of infrastructure necessary to drive industry, trade and commerce, while providing ease of access to schools and healthcare institutions;
(10)  open up targeted roads for free movement in the City and in the environs of Kisumu City;
(11) provide tap water to families and promote the culture of water harvesting for home use and for irrigation, while provide proper drainage to reduce the impact of water floods; enhance the removal of water hyacinth from our lake, while providing an environment for fishing, lake transport and marine engineering;
(12) promote investments that provide clean environment and better living conditions in areas currently considered as slums;
(13) promote Kisumu as a Special Economic Zone, alongside Mombasa and Lamu;
(14) build an international sports facility that natures talent in sport and other co-curricular activities;
(15) create a beautiful beach front, golf resorts and floating restaurants ….. and the list can go on;
(16) Some unusual steps, methods and strategies may have to be deployed to create rapid results. The idea of a virtual city boundary is both appealing and achievable, where a decentralized city system with growth centers at specific sub-county units is part of the planning system.
(17) Improve service delivery and provide better life for everyone in the “Kisumu City we want.”
 
We have taken many measures to realise these dreams. But the journey is long and a large distance still remains to be travelled. More importantly, however, we have laid the groundwork for take off in many areas.

Honourable members, today I can report achievements in some areas and progress that have been initiated to achieve our objectives.

Planning
As you are aware Kisumu was last planned in 1952. Since then the population has grown so much that the pre-independence infrastructure is unable to sustain the current population. In addition, development projects have been put in place without a defined pattern for growth. Consequently, what we have is a chaotic city with poor drainage, traffic, and lighting systems. This has implications on our security, economic and social lives.

It is in cognizance of this that we begun by planning. If Kisumu is to grow responsibly and to achieve its full potential, then crucial steps have to be made. Growth paths and patterns must be established. If we are inviting investors home, we must show them a defined industrial area and plan, a compelling economic blueprint, a reliable market, a safe environment, among others.

That is why we labored hard to establish a clear County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) and the Integrated Strategic Urban Development Plan (ISUD). These two documents are the blueprints that will show us where we want to go. They will not only help us correct the misfortunes and poor planning we have had in the past but also, guide us towards a clear path of development and sustainable growth.

This plan takes into consideration the need for proper environmental management; It shows us where to put residential houses and commercial buildings; defines roads and sewer lines; marks industrial areas and social centers; it shows us suitable areas for agricultural productivity, etc.

As we speak, the CIDP is ready and will be launched along with the ISUD after public interrogation stage. We call upon all the residents to make their inputs in the process so that we have a comprehensive document that will address the concerns of all residents. When this process is over, we will bring the documents to the assembly for debate and approval. After which we will adopt them as legal documents and ultimate blueprint for this county’s growth. Upon its adoption, serious work will start. That is why I call upon you to give the debate a sober approach when the document is presented before you, honorable members.

Agriculture and food security:
Indeed, food security remains our number one priority. We have undertaken considerable studies and surveys on the full agricultural potential of this county, and we are now focused on staple foods, cash crops, value addition as well as other aspects of value chains that would promote agri-business.

Fully aware that mechanised farming is a key strategy in the enhancement of food security in our county, we have acquired 19 tractors to help our farmers with both ground preparations and harvesting. We will be launching this program in the coming week, to avail mechanized units to all sub-counties.

We are also rolling out a major program for the production of sorghum throughout the county. Beginning 1st February 2014, we have been distributing sorghum seeds to our farmers, and we have engaged the support of USAID’s Kenya Agricultural Value-chains Enterprise (KAVES) program to give technical support to our farmers – both towards growing and marketing their sorghum. We have reached an agreement with a major brewery to take all stocks of sorghum. This program must proceed as its success means that our residents will have food on the table as well as money in their pockets. We encourage you to help mobilize farmers in your areas to form working groups to ensure you take full advantage of this opportunity.

Within the next one-month we will complete the renovation of the Mamboleo slaughterhouse to upgrade it to an export facility status. We have successfully negotiated uptake of meat products, vegetables and eggs from Kisumu International Airport, beginning next month by which time the slaughterhouse is expected to be ready. Indeed, the cargo plane will arrive, and to make daily or weekly flights as demand dictates.

Several hatcheries and incubators will be distributed to women and youth groups later this month, in time for the airlift export trade program and for local consumption.

Other priorities in Agriculture to be realized within the next two to three months include: provision of fingerlings to encourage fish farming, improvement of landing Beach Infrastructure to improve handling facilities, enhancement of local poultry production through provision of incubators to increase the percentage of eggs hatching and chick survival; development of a county-based rice seed system to increase quality seed access to our farmers; improvement of rice production and marketing systems, among others.

We have begun the process of negotiating reversal of the ban on GMO so that we can proceed with the plan to introduce BT Cotton in our county. As the chairman of the Council of Governor’s Committee on Health and Biotechnology, I have intensified the process, as I would like to see us grow the new cotton in the next planting season. I am fully aware that we shall require the cooperation of the National Assembly to achieve this objective.

Industrialization
With industrialization, we undertook to empower industries, promote trade and create jobs. We are serious about industrialization. The East African market is all ours, courtesy of Lake Victoria. That is why my first step was to ensure the lake was rid of weeds, and that a major ferry transport project established. We have secured an agreement for the procurement of a permanent weed harvester to be placed in Kisumu. We have also signed an agreement with the Kenya Ports Authority for building ports all over the lakeshores as this will open up the counties trade and regional market for our espoused industrial plants.

This is a systematic plan, and one step follows another. The beer, cotton, manufacturing, and fruit production industries are just but a few that are being negotiated and will be setting up shop in the county in the medium term. Improved rice production will also call for modern processing as well as other value adding plants to promote diverse pallets from the crops.

With a market in place, and with a reliable transport system for finished goods, Kisumu is poised to be the major industrial hub in the East African region.

The fishing industry will also benefit from coolers and processing plants. This will control the exploitative middlemen and give returns for fishermen as well as provide revenue growth for the county since we will reduce the loss of fish considerably. Already a number of energy coolers have been distributed along the lake for use by the fisherfolk.

We are currently engaging investors who are keen to improve the production capacity of our sugar mills and to diversify the products to include, among others: sugar, ethanol, manure, cardboard, power and water. The challenge we still face is that of ownership of the sugar factories, and once resolved progress will be made for revamping of investments and process expansion.

Tourism:
Investment in tourism is a medium – to – long-term objective, and is dependent on the new Kisumu plan and how it connects with Western Kenya tourist circuit. Kisumu and its neighboring counties have unique features whose development, branding, and marketing are being explored to boost the tourism business. The uniqueness of our lake provides an important selling point for Kisumu. Not only is this a site to behold but also an experience to live for. Plans for the beautification of the lakefront are quite advanced: – the UN HABITAT in collaboration with the Israeli Government and the French Development Corporation are doing a good job in designing a beautiful lakefront and a shoreline that begins in Otonglo and runs all the way to Dunga. We will launch the beautification work at the site when ready.

We recently had a boat race to raise funds for the conservation of sitatunga – a unique heritage that is bestowed to our environs. We also crowned Miss Tourism Kisumu County who will be our ambassador for the next one year. These are very important milestones that will showcase the endless possibilities that lie in this county – both to investors as well as tourists. We are also identifying, marking and gazzetting important historic and other sites of attraction.

Technology                              
My vision was to develop Kisumu as a technocity, alongside Konza, to provide employment to our talented youth and to drive growth and service delivery. In particular, we have identified productive and service sectors that can be driven by ICT – Agriculture, Fish Auctions, Manufacturing, Digitization, Revenue Enhancement, Education, Rural Enterprises, Healthcare and Tourism.

I have now secured major commitments from several ICT companies to walk with us on this path, and will in two weeks make a major announcement in this regard. I have also secured the support of eight counties who will use these facilities.

Education, Youth, Sports and Talent Development
We are taking the constitution that provides for every child in the country the opportunity for education very seriously. That is why we have given out Ksh. 35 Million bursary for needy cases. Each Ward was allocated Ksh. 1 Million. In total, the fund will benefit over 5000 children from the county. I also secured four-year scholarships for 6 exceptional and talented but needy children who have all joined National Schools. We are committed to sending many more to school.

We recently hosted all best performing students of Standard 8 to give them the necessary recognition and encouragement, and shall do so for form four students. We appreciate that this is not a devolved function but recognize that it is necessary to invest at this level of education as well.

We are liaising with other institutions beyond our borders to improve education and skilled workmanship. Currently, we have commitments of Universities in Florida, Israel and South Korea. Following my visit to South Korea, the Kyongbuk Science College has written to express their interest in building an agricultural academy, a nursing vocational school, model complexes of agricultural and livestock industries as well manufacturing farming machines and running factory. I just received visitors from South Korea who have come to follow up on our discussion. We are negotiating the terms and will be making announcements in time for honorable members to be part of those achievements.

The process of recruiting ECD teachers is advancing steadily. The Public Service Board is in the shortlisting process and will soon invite successful applicants for interviews. We target over 700 graduate, diploma and certificate holders in this initial process and will widen the scope gradually. The teachers will be deployed throughout the county based on the staffing needs. A School Management Committee for the ECD will also be set up in May 2014.

Progress is at an advanced stage for the construction of Model ECD Centres in each sub-county. These will constitute: 3 classrooms, toilets, store, kitchen/dining area, and playground enough to accommodate 90 children. As budget allows, we shall progressively add to these numbers.

Plans for renovation and equipping of existing Youth Polytechnic facilities are at an advanced stage of procurement. We are also in the process of constituting in all the registered Youth Polytechnics a Board of Management by March 2014.

However, much still remains to be done for reforming our education system. Many of our schools still lack drinking water facilities, toilets and other necessary infrastructure. There is also a need to improve the quality of education. To achieve this, it is necessary to lay more emphasis on training of teachers, improve access by ensuring roads and electricity supply to all learning institutions. That is why our development plan for this financial year includes improving road access to schools.

Infrastructure
Investment in infrastructure is necessary for the realization of our vision, and pillars of our development agenda for the achievement of food security. We have secured funding for the building of a multi-purpose dam that will support irrigated agriculture, water supply, energy production, and flood mitigation. Several roads are also being built to support agriculture and market access. A major portion of the roads will be rolled out starting this month.

We are actively and tirelessly negotiating with the national government to avail funding for standard gauge Railway to connect to the one being built from Mombasa to Nairobi; a road by-pass from Rabuor to Mamboleo junction; dualling of Kondele-Kiboswa road; tarmacking the road from Muhoroni to Mamboleo; providing a road link from Mamboleo to Otonglo; tarmacking of Sondu Kolweny Road, Katito-Awasi Road, and Maseno-Kombewa Road. While some progress has been made, consistent follow up is still required for these important infrastructural improvement that is vital for our industrial take off.

Provision of energy is a vital requirement for our industrialization programmes. Whereas we have secured more than Ksh. 18 Billion for the construction of 100 megawatts of clean energy by the year 2016, the European Investment Bank has also agreed to finance components of hydropower in the county. However, a lot still needs to be done to secure a sound industrial path. We are working closely with friendly donors and potential investors to secure sufficient energy for industrial take off.

We have signed a MoU with an Italian company to improve our water supply. Towards this, Nyakach Water Project, Muhoroni, Maseno-Kombewa and Kisumu Rural Water Projects will be the primary beneficiaries. These projects will be modified to work with solar-generated power. We are also working on the expansion of existing water systems. The slum dwellers in Manyatta, Nyamasaria, Bandani, and Obunga recently benefitted from energetic water points.

To promote trade, tenders for floodlights and other lighting systems will be floated to provide opportunity for informal settlements to conduct trade. The same is also true of the city street lighting plans. When this is done, security will be improved, and that means that we can carry out our trading activities till late in the night without fear of our safety or any other form of intimidation.

Kisumu County boast of some of the greatest sports personalities Kenya has ever produced. We recognize this and are intent on continued talent development. We have secured funding for an international class stadium that will help develop all forms of sport. The city stadium has also been rehabilitated, and the laying of artificial turf will be completed in the coming two weeks. Furthermore, the completion of an Amphitheatre at the County Cultural Centre near Lake basin is also ongoing.

We have registered many youths and women groups for support. While we would provide support we want to draw attention to the existence of Uwezo Fund and the Youth Enterprise Fund; please pursue these alternatives with youths in your wards.

We have undertaken a study of the street family situation, which is a time bomb in this city. Consequently, we have developed an implementation timeline towards the rehabilitation of some of the children. The implementation will begin by March 2014, alongside increased weekly allocation of support to Mama Ngina Children’s Home.

We believe that a healthy nation is a working nation. That is why we recently had a groundbreaking ceremony for a referral hospital in Holo. This ultra modern facility will not only help decongest the current referral facility at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, but also help provide care for specialized cases that are hitherto not possible in the region.

In addition, we plan to do a groundbreaking ceremony for a modern eye hospital in Otonglo on 8th March. This will be the only facility of its kind in the country and will cater for the wider East African region.

As you can see, we are taking health care seriously. Earlier on, we had commissioned a dialysis machine and secured medical equipment at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital. We have also launched the ministry of Health Strategic Plan, which proposes collaboration with other sectors such as environment, water and agriculture to address root causes of disease. We shall also launch a community health initiative (WADAGI).
 
Solid Waste Management
Negative attention has been generated by people purporting to have been awarded a “tender” for solid waste management. The tragedy is that, some of the members have been involved, and are maligning their county with obvious falsehoods. I wish to make it clear and unequivocal that the Kisumu County Government has not entered into any agreement with any foreign company for monopoly in the solid waste management services in Kisumu. I have recently ordered an investigation into the allegations and requested two senior officers who have been implicated on the matter to step aside. I have also referred the same matter to the Attorney General for interpretation and advice.

My Government recognizes solid waste as a major concern for Kisumu County and for sustainable development in the entire Lake Victoria region. Apart from its negative impact on environment and health; with both direct and indirect linkages to economic development of the county, waste materials represent wasted money, in terms of the original cost of the materials, the disposal and in its potential value as a recyclable and reusable resource.
It is for this reason that despite receiving several expressions of interests by foreign and local companies seeking to provide solid waste management services for Kisumu – majority of them seeking monopoly status, my Government has opted to pursue a policy of Integrated Sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) as an approach to reach better, more sustainable solutions to these problems that have been with us for a long time. This conceptual approach of ISWM is not only taking technical or financial/economic sustainability into account as is conventionally done, but also includes socio‐cultural, environmental, institutional and political aspects that will influence overall sustainability of waste management in the county. It is indeed for this reason that my Government is fast-tracking implementation of the French Development Bank’s (AFD’s) funded Kisumu Urban Project, part of which includes providing us with practical and integrated interventions for addressing solid waste management.

I have instructed the team working on KUP to ensure that the project is implemented efficiently so as to resolve the menace at Kachok dumpsite in the shortest time possible. It is however important to appreciate that we cannot fast-track implementation of the project beyond the strict provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 and the Environmental Management and Coordination Act 1999.
It is my Government’s position that participation of users, service providers, the CBO, NGOs, research institutions, donor communities as well as political leadership is key to the successful operation of the system that we are currently developing. This is specifically, in the process of choosing, planning, designing, implementing and management of the solid waste management infrastructure. Consequently, I have instructed that the current interventions should comprise modernized mixture of scales, strategies, technologies, payment systems and decision making structures that better fit the local Kisumu County conditions.

With all the above in place, it is my commitment to our people that within my Government’s tenure, Kisumu County will achieve a well planned, accessible and effective delivery of solid waste management services in Kisumu. We will not go for quick fixes that may not solve the problem of solid waste management, a problem that has defeated past administrations because of inadequate and improper planning and design of interventions.
The opportunity we now present of turning waste into wealth must therefore be owned and be economically and ecologically beneficial to the citizens of Kisumu County, in as much as it will be to any local and foreign investor who joins us in this endeavor. Therefore, it should be clear to all and sundry that manipulated processes, to hand over this opportunity to unscrupulous local and international monopolies, has no place under my watch. I urge all the leaders in this County to put a joint effort in resolving our Waste Management challenges and be weary of forces that may not be acting in the best interest of Kisumu. In all we do, we must pay fidelity to process. I had written to the speaker of this assembly not to authorize any use of public money to support a floored process.
 
In Conclusion
We have journeyed a long distance in the last seven months. But much remains to be done. The process of change that we have initiated will be continued in the coming time.

As I have stated earlier, rapid economic growth is an imperative for our county. Without it, we cannot possibly achieve targets such as reduction of poverty, provision of good quality education and health services and creation of new employment opportunities.

We are taking decisive steps to speed up the process of county government clearances for industry, build an environment more conducive to trade and industry and increase investment in the economy. Indeed, many investments have come through in this county in the last 7 months, in housing, water, roads, hospitals etc.

In the coming months, we will see visible results of these efforts to increase investment. Our growth will accelerate, new employment opportunities will be generated and there will be improvements in the infrastructure sector.

For us to realize our vision, we will all have to go an extra mile and take personal responsibility in bringing the change we all desire to see. Time and again, you will be called upon to make sacrifices and concessions – and we pray that you will oblige.

This means that we will have to make some policy and legislative decisions that will change the status quo. We will require your support for us to have a measure of success. One such legislation will be on environment – requiring that a given area around your premise – business or residence is clean, and that whomever has his area littered will be surcharged. Other legislations will be on pollution – both noise and industrial affluence, among many others; on trade; etc. Kindly be supportive.

If in the future we can achieve the same kind of progress as is envisioned in our manifesto, the day is not far off when Kisumu will minimize poverty, hunger, disease and ignorance. Our County will be prosperous and all its citizens will be equal partners in this prosperity, irrespective of their area of birth, education, religion or language.

We will also need to build an environment of political stability, social cohesion and security for this to happen.

Let us all re-dedicate ourselves to building such a County together.

JACK N. RANGUMA
GOVERNOR