Governor Wisley Rotich decries poor sanitation, vows to upgrade sewerage system

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich (second left) flanked by his deputy Prof Grace Cheserek (right) and other county officials during the launch of a garbage truck in Iten town, the county headquarters.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Governor says lack of proper sanitation and sewerage systems in Elgeyo Marakwet County’s major urban centres is to blame for poor investment in the region.
  • Mr Rotich had pledged during campaigns that he would make Iten cleaner and more attractive in his first 100 days in office.

Lack of proper sanitation and sewerage systems in Elgeyo Marakwet County’s major urban centres is to blame for poor investment in the region, Governor Wisley Rotich has said.

This, he said, makes property development, especially in Iten, the county headquarters, expensive.

Iten has no sewerage system and investors must spend more money to set up soak pits to collect sewage and pay exhauster companies to haul it away.

“I have done my own observation and noticed that the reason Iten has not been realising rapid growth and attracting investors is because of the lack of a sewerage system,” he said.

He said he will propose legislation in the county assembly to establish a sewerage system in the Iten.

“I am keen on cleaning up Iten and attracting investment by creating an enabling environment, and a sewerage system would be a priority,” he said when he launched a Sh13 million garbage compactor truck for the Iten municipality on Monday.

The county plans to acquire at least five acres for a dumping site. It will have an incinerator and allow garbage recycling.

Mr Rotich had pledged during campaigns that he would make Iten cleaner and more attractive in his first 100 days in office.

“I am certain that beginning now, this pledge will be realistic because this truck will be used to collect garbage from any part of the town,” he said.

He added that he will open a disaster management centre and recruit at least 10 firefighters, who will be trained in Ruiru ahead of their deployment.

Meanwhile, his ‘Adopt a Village’ programme aimed at alleviating poverty in Elgeyo Marakwet households has received a boost after a group of university scholars from the United States chose the county to pilot it.

The scholars, led by Prof Michael Touchton from the University of Miami, will implement projects and research that will see 90 villages benefit and receive grants of between Sh100,000 and Sh200,000.

Locals will choose the projects they want implemented, and the grants will be used to start micro-development projects that would impact people at the grassroots.

The team has piloted the programme in Tambach ward, with a second pilot to be rolled out in Kapchemutwa ward in the coming week.

The programme and research will run to May 2023 together with Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA) Kenya.

Prof Touchton and IPA officials Catherine Gakii and Aduda Lyndon met with Governor Rotich and his deputy Prof Grace Cheserek at the county headquarters for a briefing session on the programme.

Public participation

Prof Touchton said the aim of the study is to establish a model for co-governance at the village level and determine how citizen decisions impact development practices.

“In the end, we hope to come up with a model that can be useful in citizen engagement for sustainable development, an approach which the county is already a leader in through public participation and that is why we are here,” he said.

Governor Rotich said the research came at an opportune time as the approach was captured in his campaign manifesto and President William Ruto’s bottom-up economic plan.

“I wish to assure you that Elgeyo Marakwet is the right place for you because I was part of the team that crafted the national bottom-up model and I domesticated it to my county under the Adopt a Village programme,” he said.

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