By Governor Joseph Lenku
Isinya Township, Kajiado East, hosted this scorecard event last year. At the time, it was my first year in office and I reported to you some of our successes; also, I had a golden chance to listen to your everyday struggles; everyday problems.
One such problem, my people, was a nearby dingy primary school with more than 800 pupils on less than 1/8 of an acre of land.
It looked terrible and congested; it was, simply, un-conducive for any meaningful learning; the pupils were suffering; they were very vulnerable to diseases.
I went back to Isinya, last week, to commission a new school which we built for these kids from scratch.
The school, unlike the old one, lies on a magnificent 5-acre piece of land, complete with new classrooms, sanitation facilities and ample playing ground.
This school is a symbol of our commitment that where there is despair, we will give hope; where there is want we will provide for our people’s needs; and where there is darkness, we will become the beacon of light, to paraphrase the timeless words of the great Catholic saint, Francis of Asisi.
It is no wonder, then, that the people of Isinya were asking when the next scorecard would be.
It is with this renewed hope, the new beginning that I come to you, my employers, and people of Kajiado, to give my report card on the progress of our county government in my second year in office.
I come here with a very clear conscious that I owe it to you to report and to be accountable to you as your servant.
We have achieved tremendous progress in this second year of my tenure.
In land reforms, we became the pioneer county to operationalize the GIS lab and digitize all our land processes.
In education we made all our ECD teachers permanent and pensionable; we provided all our children with fortified porridge; our polytechnics are fully operational.
Today, we boast some of the highest health indicators among the counties; our people have picked up the Mbuzi Moja, Afya Bora model of health with enthusiasm; and our revenue collection has soared to become the third most improved, among the counties, in the last financial year.
True, we have done well! However, with singular humility we recognize that there is only so much we can do in just 2 years; there are still challenges on our path to the development of Kajiado that we must work together to overcome.
Our water situation remains a great challenge. Our hay production and storage is still at its infancy with minimal benefit to the pastoralists.
Although we have achieved municipality status, operationalising them fully has a long way to go.
The promise to relocate the Ngong Dumpsite remains unfinished, and our Sewerage System in urban centres is still a dream to be realized.
On matters health, the standard of our medical services is now stealing the thunder from private health facilities, some of which have closed shop.
The new modern equipment we have acquired so far is making our hospitals more preferred.
A renal unit, CT scan and an MRI machine are now operational at Kajiado Referral Hospital; an ultra-modern Maternity Child Health Complex is also complete, awaiting commissioning.
We have continued to open new facilities, the latest being Ole Kasasi Health Centre in Ongata Rongai ward, complete with modern maternity.
This will decongest the overstretched Ongata Rongai Health Centre. In the last two years, my government has built or upgraded 36 health facilities. And soon we shall break ground for the 37th here in Kiserian.
Our ambulatory services are powered by a pool of 17 ambulances, up from 5 in the previous government, with another three at the port of Mombasa awaiting clearance.
In the past year, admissions uptake in our five main hospitals has increased by 60 per cent from 7,287, two years ago, to 11,702 last year.
This shows the confidence citizens have developed in our newly improved health facilities.
We have brought a culture change in maternal health. Many mothers are now choosing hospital over home deliveries.
Maternal hospital visits recorded a 98 per cent increase in our top hospitals. 121,674 mothers visited the hospitals last year, compared to the 61,250 who sought similar care services the year before.
The NHIF uptake in our county, as envisaged in the President’s Universal Health Coverage, has been an important healthcare model for our pastoralist communities.
Mbuzi Moja, Afya Bora
Over 3,500 families traded goats for medical coverage under the Mbuzi Moja Afya Bora model.
By demystifying the cost and value of health insurance, now more than ever before, our rural communities have embraced health insurance which was seen as a preserve of the rich.
Mbuzi Moja Afya Bora campaign will be held again this year in October. And I welcome you.
This is just a snippet of Kajiado’s remarkable healthcare story.
The management of land, more than any other sector, is a unique undertaking in Kajiado.
This is because of its historical problems of multiple allocations, missing records, land disputes and improper zoning.
In fact, for years on end, we were ranked third, after Kiambu and Kwale, on land fraud.
For example, available maps, if any, were in tatters; government officers entrusted with the heavy responsibility of safeguarding the interests of the masses, who own land, turned themselves into wolves by working in cahoots with unethical land brokers in dispossessing the innocent.
Therefore, from the outset, my government needed to make sweeping changes in this sector.
The increased human settlement, diminishing grazing fields and the blossoming manufacturing industry, meant that we had to work with speed to address these historical problems and prepare for a prosperous Kajiado.
Firstly, we sought to handle this challenge digitally. We became the first county to establish a Geographic Information System (GIS) lab and a one-stop ICT-driven data centre for all our land transactions.
From it, you can, with the click of a button, get all the information about any piece of land anywhere in the county.
Secondly, we have conducted a physical and digital validation of all plots in our 28 towns, complete with tamper-proof allotment letters, which has ensured that multiple allocations are a thing of the past.
The digitization of our land registries has solved many problems of multiple allocations.
In partnership with the judiciary, we established alternative dispute resolution mechanisms through local committees to avoid endless court battles.
This made sure that justice is not only swiftly served but done so in a more harmonious way. The operationalization of these committees is at an advanced stage.
Away from digitization, we began the process of spatial planning to ensure that land is used in inappropriate ways.
This is to anchor our key development drivers of ranching, manufacturing, and housing.
This will further solve the problems occasioned by competing land-use interests, such as agriculture, human-wildlife conflict and manufacturing.
Valuation Rolls, in all of our urban centres have been fully developed and those for freehold land titles are underway.
The push and pull on rate payables to government, and the question of equity will be fully addressed by these valuation rolls.
From being known across Kenya for its land problems, in just two years of my administration, we have significantly turned things around, through the implementation of these programmes, Kajiado is now a role model for the nation with many counties coming here for benchmarking.
To consolidate these gains, we will soon be holding a lands conference to bring all stakeholders together, including banks and land owners, to entrench ownership of these gains and to showcase our successes.
Education, for us, remains an integral part of our key concerns, given our dismal performance as a county historically.
Our efforts on early childhood development, bursaries for our needy students and skills development for our youth feature prominently in our priorities.
Through our largely successful fortified porridge programme for ECD pupils, our school enrollment has significantly improved, attracting school-age going children who would have otherwise missed the opportunity of having an education.
For our 660 ECD teachers, we will continue to improve their welfare. This is building on the fact that we were the first county to employ them on permanent and pensionable terms.
Our youth skills training and development programme is on-going thanks to our partnership with the KCB Foundation.
Further partnerships with institutions such as the-National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) as well as corporates that have offered our youth the much needed industrial attachment are worth noting.
We are surpassing our annual target of 1,000 youths trained, with tremendous life changing stories of those who have graduated.
Vocational Training Institutes
Equipping our Vocational Training Institutes, which are the backbone of our youth development programmes, has begun in earnest.
This year alone, we have allocated Sh. 20 million to purchase their equipment.
Our bursary kitty is expanding. In the past one year, we have disbursed bursaries worth Sh. 80 million to over 6,000 needy students. And this year we have allocated Sh. 150 million!
Our road network is an indispensable enabler for other sectors to thrive.
For many years, in this county, access to health facilities, markets for our farm produce, and the general transport network across the wards have been wanting.
In the past two years, we have strived to ease access through our own resources as well as support from National Government agencies and international partners such as the World Bank.
Our consumption of development resources in the road and public works sector rose from 65 per cent two years ago to 85 per cent last year. We awarded contracts worth Sh 353 Million, with most of the projects completed while others are ongoing.
These resources have enabled us to grade 1,550 kilometres of road.
Some of our success stories range from construction of drifts, most notable being the Kudu hills drift in Iloodokilani and Inkokirding’a, Kajiado West, and several bridges across the county.
Our ultimate deliverable is to facilitate faster transportation and ease communication between urban and rural Kajiado.
To mention but a few, we now have roads that serve the agriculturally-rich food belts in the county. One such road is the 35-Kilometres Iltilal-Oyarata-Lemong’o-Rombo road which eases the connection between Kuku and Rombo wards.
The 15-kilometre Kimuka-Kisamis in Ewuaso Oonkidong’i Ward is now complete.
The tarmacking of the Market Road in Ongata Rongai is now complete and the tarmacking of the KCB – Saitoti in Kitengela road is almost complete.
Residents of Iloodokilani and Magadi Wards are now enjoying the motorable Kajiado – Mile 46 –Kamakuru Road after the completion of the Kudu Hills stretch.
In our endeavour to make our road works faster and cheaper, my administration has bought road construction and maintenance machinery.
The machinery will not only shorten our emergency response but will also make our road works cheaper.
To improve security in our urban centres and encourage a 24-hour economy, we have now installed a total of 130 floodlights and solar street lighting.
We will, as a County Government, continue to pump more resources into our road network, and with the accreditation of our municipalities, more World Bank funding will boost this sector, bringing our people, markets and businesses together for faster economic growth and prosperity.
Our county has immense agricultural potential. It is blessed with large swathes of land, huge herds of cattle roam our plains and mixed economic activities are possible here.
In order to tap this agricultural potential, we have embarked on training farmers on how to plant and conserve hay.
This far, together with our farmers, we have conserved more than 324,000 bales of hay and 169 tons of silage.
The leading wards in this endeavour are Purko, Keek-Onyokie, Matapato North, Ewuaso Oonkidong’i and Ildamat.
As a county, we have constructed hay barns with capacities of 50,000 and 20,000 bales at our demonstration farm.
These efforts will go a long way in building resilience to climate change effects and prepare us for the looming drought.
We, also, partnered with the National Irrigation Board to construct 205 small irrigation water pans in Kajiado Central, South and East.
This is in addition to six water pans excavated through the support of the Kenya Climate Change Adaptation Project run by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri).
As we strive to avail water for small scale irrigation, we have been assisting farmers with input subsidies.
So far, we have distributed more than 22,000 bags of subsidized fertilizer in our main farming belts, as well as conducting 197 plant clinic sessions across the county.
As a new economic opportunity and healthy alternative diet, we are investing in this sector, having so far constructed six community-based fish farms in Tikondo, Olepolos, Oloolua, Namanga and Nkaatu and supplied 14,000 fingerlings to farmers.
The agricultural sector is the backbone to our food security, a key economic driver, and an opportunity for self-sufficiency in food production to remove our perennial relief food dependency, hence the need of my government to invest heavily and consolidate the gains so far.
Water is life; it is the mainstay of our agriculture and our livestock. Consequently, it is not lost of us that ours is a water-scarce county.
Therefore, securing and development of our water sources and the accompanying infrastructure is an area of focus.
To improve availability and quality of water we have reorganized our water companies, banned the selling of salty water, and upgraded most of our infrastructure.
This has led to improved water access across the county. For example, this year 50,000 people who previously did not have access, were reached by water pipeline extensions. Furthermore, we have drilled and equipped 30 new boreholes in our most rural areas which are benefitting thousands of households.
Let me now turn to business. Where we are, Kiserian town is one of the most active trading hubs in the county.
We are determined to keep promoting the business environments for our traders to thrive, and we are training our eyes on building up to a 24-hour economy.
In a few months, the Kiserian Retail Market, which is a few metres from here, will be open. It is 80 per cent complete and once finished will accommodate 600 traders.
In nearby Ngong town, the relocation of traders to a temporal site to pave way for an ultra-modern market was successful.
This Sh 800 Million World Bank-funded market will accommodate 2,000 traders.
The success of the Ngong Market relocation exercise was replicated in moving 1,400 traders from the Kitengela Retail Market, where we are constructing a modern market at a cost of Sh 120 million.
The project is now underway and I hope to open it before the next scorecard.
In Kajiado South, more than 500 traders were moved into the Loitokitok market.
This has decongested the town. The ongoing Rombo Market will be the new kid on the block. The project is almost complete and it will accommodate 400 traders upon completion.
In promoting business we appreciate that Kajiado is a land of milk and beef.
I am glad our women have become serious pioneers in taking advantage of this. Women groups have shown a lot of resilience and interest in milk production.
Their main problem remains a stable market to sell. Towards this, the County Government will partner with the private sector to establish a milk processing plant in Kajiado town to address these challenges faced by milk farmers.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the dream of municipalities has been in the offing for 20 years.
Yet, under my administration, in less than two years, this dream was realized.
Today, we are one of the pioneer counties in having operationalised our two municipalities.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, under the new dispensation where the trend is to form economic blocks, our two Maa counties have come together to form the Narok-Kajiado Economic Block to leverage on comparative advantages.
As the chairman of the block, I will spearhead efforts for joint county programmes which will provide an enabling environment that will attract investments and allow the private sector to play a leading role in its socio-economic development.
The story of Kajiado is not complete without mentioning our Maa culture. In cognizance of this fact, we formed a taskforce to research, document and showcase this traditional culture.
Three aspects of our intangible culture have been recognized by UNESCO, making our imprint known globally.
As a county government we are proud to have taken the bold step of preserving our cultural identity for future generations.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, on the side of revenue collection, we have witnessed a steady rise since I took office.
A year before the last elections, the county collected revenue amounting to Sh. 557 Million.
Today, August 16, 2019, I stand here with a lot of satisfaction that we have surpassed the 1 billion shillings mark!
In this past year, we collected Sh. 1,143,422,000. This is a 68 per cent rise. Consequently, the revenue improvement has occasioned a massive increase in ward fund expenditure of Sh 30 million under my administration, against the previous administration’s average expenditure of a paltry Sh 7.5 million.
And this is just the beginning; these numbers will continue to rise since we have implemented digitization of our revenue collection and hope to reap fully the fruits of increased accountability and transparency in our public finance systems.
As a county we are at a time when we cannot afford to ignore our environment, especially in our urban centres.
For example, besides the usual collection and disposal of the massive garbage in our townships, we are supporting Taka Ni Mali initiative to collect and process garbage as a business.
The programme has now begun in earnest and it is starting to improve lives.
In the housing sector, we are working towards improving the quality of lives in rural Kajiado through the modern-manyata project.
This entails building a 3 bedroom house, with biogas, solar lighting and a rain water harvesting tank for less than Sh. 500,000.
We have already trained 140 youths and built 10 units as a pilot project. I call upon communities and private sector to embrace and support this direction to improve our environment and address the housing crisis.
This afternoon I have had this golden opportunity to highlight many programmes and projects my Government is involved in to improve the lives and plight of our people.
No doubt, we have worked very hard; we have invested in the creativity and strength of our people.
We have built up our infrastructure across the county and achieved great progress in the sectors of land, water, healthcare and education.
However, in cognizance of the fact that the climb towards achieving our full potential is steep; there are, for sure, bottlenecks on the way; and, indeed, there are those among us who will get discouraged and fall by the wayside.
But, on my part as your Governor and that of our County Government, we will keep moving forward, no matter what; we will steadily keep pushing the wheels of our development agenda to its limits.
For we know, for sure, in the words of one celebrated motivational speaker, that the difference between what we are and what we want to be is what we are doing now.
Heko Kajiado; Heko Kenya!
H.E JOSEPH OLE LENKU IS THE GOVERNOR OF KAJIADO COUNTY