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Kahiga, Wa Iria focus on agriculture while Kiraitu targets roads

Monday November 27 2017

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga waves to the

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga waves to the wananchi moments after he took his oath of office on November 13, 2017. He has said he will focus is primarily on making the county food sufficient by improving agriculture. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Governors pledged to focus on agriculture and water in their first 100 days of being elected.

Going into his first 100 days in office, Nyeri’s fourth governor, Mr Mutahi Kahiga, focus is primarily on making the county food sufficient by improving agriculture.

“It is a big shame that Nyeri cannot feed its own people. Agriculture takes the biggest chunk of our resources,” he said.

A report by the agriculture department released in January showed that at least 24,000 residents of Nyeri faced starvation.

QUALITY

According to Mr Kahiga, the way to go about food sufficiency is to focus on improving quantity and quality in crop production.

This he said would be done by treating soil acidity by providing lime at subsidized rates and deployment of extension officers to educate farmers on soil and crop management.

“Statistics show that in terms of quality and quantity we are not doing so well and our primary emphasis will be to improve that. Many times we feel we focused on the wrong things and once we improve on quality and quantity we can talk marketing. We have already made an allocation in our supplementary budget to engage farmers in working to reduce soil acidity and provide extension officers,” the governor said.

Job creation and empowerment of small-scale traders will also be a key focus as he takes up the top county job.

Part of the county’s infrastructure development plan is to tarmac all urban roads and gravel at least 300km of roads in all wards. About Sh380 million will go to road projects.

“About 10km in all our 30 wards will be gravelled. We will also tarmac roads in urban centres like Nyeri and Karatina,” the county boss noted.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi pledged to restructure the county administration and give focus to the provision of water in the first 100 days.

SWORN-IN

While taking the oath of office on August 18, Mr Murungi and his deputy Titus Ntuchiu said they were keen on “cleaning up” the public service to enable them embark on their agenda.

While addressing county staff after being sworn-in, Mr Murungi asked for three months to “put the house in order.”

The governor started off with dissolving boards and suspending senior officers in what he termed as radical measures to unearth corruption cartels in the county.

He also appointed consulting firm, Deloitte, to audit all county staff and is expected to present its report in the next two weeks.

Mr Murungi cited delays in disbursement of funds by the national exchequer for the inability of the county to initiate development projects.

“We have, however, not received money from the National Treasury and we have had to convince the contractor to continue with works. We are happy that the contractor has agreed to work without pay,” said the county boss while inspecting Nkubu market stalls that are under construction.

According to the county annual development plan, the administration has set up various boards and units in line with the restructuring pledge.

PROMISES

Some of the new bodies that have been allocated money in the 2017/2018 financial year include the Efficiency Monitoring Unit, Meru Economic and Social Council, Directorate of Special Programmes, Ward Development Fund, Meru County Agricultural Board among others.

Mr Murungi said the development of a new governance structure would help in the implementation of development programmes.

In Murang’a, Governor Mwangi wa Iria says he has embarked on implementing some of his promises. However, to others, nothing has been done.

In his campaigns, issues of water tariffs took centre stage. He promised to use his position and influence to make sure that water tariffs go down and the residents can afford water.

Immediately after he took office, Mr Wa Iria disbanded all the water management boards in the county and gazetted a caretaker committee to replace the boards and put a fixed water charge of Sh200.

However, all the water management boards headed to court to challenge the move where the matter is still pending.

During his swearing-in at Ihura Stadium on August 18, the governor also promised to launch a mega irrigation scheme in each of the seven sub-counties to improve food security and earnings.

Reports by David Muchui, Nicholas Komu and Ndungu Gachane


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