Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa met President William Ruto on Sunday, ahead of the latter’s planned two-day tour of the region this week.
President Ruto is expected in Kakamega on Thursday and will attend the 18th graduation ceremony at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology on Friday before heading to Vihiga County for a meeting with Governor Wilber Ottichilo.
Governor Barasa and his Vihiga counterpart have said they will work closely with President Ruto and his administration to push the development agenda of their regions.
This will be the first visit by President Ruto to Kakamega after the August 9 General Election.
Governor Barasa, who was with Senator Boni Khalwale when he met the President, is the latest politician to do so, after Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli and MPs from Western region.
Several politicians elected on parties affiliated to the Azimio One Kenya alliance headed by Mr Raila Odinga have been trooping to Dr Ruto's side in what looks like a strategy by the President to deflate Azimio before the next elections.
Simba Arati too
Kisii Governor Simba Arati (ODM) was also at the State House two days ago.
Mr Barasa explained that he had met President Ruto to present a request to the national government to grant a public-private partnership model for the unfinished Level Six Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The first phase of the hospital has been built for Sh2.1 billion by the county government and an additional Sh8 billion is needed to complete and equip it.
Governor Barasa said on Twitter: “Among issues presented to Head State on behalf of the people of Kakamega County [are] a request for the National Government to grant a Public-Private model towards operationalization of the Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital, which the President has agreed to.”
He said other projects discussed during the meeting included activitating the Kakamega Gold Refinery in Ikolomani, reviving the Mumias Sugar Company and expanding the Kakamega Airstrip.
Mr Barasa said he will convene a county leaders’ forum on Thursday to discuss and firm up a development memorandum that will be presented to President Ruto.
Before the meeting at State House with President Ruto, Governor Barasa, who attended a church service in Khwisero earlier on Sunday, said his main concern was the referral hospital.
He has asked the National Treasury to expedite the release of allocations to counties for the last three months, amounting to Sh90.6 billion.
Governor Barasa, who is the chair of the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee at the Council of Governors, said delayed disbursements had crippled operations in the devolved units.
Counties were owed Sh29.6 billion in October and Sh31.45 billion in November.
The Treasury is expected to disburse Sh26.9 billion for December.