Simba Arati: Why I’m working with President Ruto
Kisii Governor Simba Arati has defended his decision to work with President William Ruto, saying the relationship will benefit the broader Gusii community.
Mr Arati, who clinched the gubernatorial seat flying Raila Odinga-led Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket, said he will not make any decision that derails or disadvantages the community compared to other regions of the country.
“My critics are unhappy that I’m working with President William Ruto,” said Mr Arati, who is serving his first term.
“I’m in charge of Kisii County and Dr Ruto is the President. What is wrong when two leaders work together?”
Mr Arati who was a fierce critic of Dr Ruto in the run up to the last General election spoke to hundreds of Kisii residents at Ogembo Bus Park on Tuesday during the signing of the charter granting Ogembo Town municipal status.
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The Governor was accompanied by his deputy Dr Robert Monda, MPs Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache), Zaheer Jhanda (Nyaribari Chache), Innocent Obiri (Bobasi), Obadiah Barongo (Bomachoge Borabu) and several MCAs.
Mr Arati said one of his key partnerships with President Ruto is the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Health Education and Training facility in Kisii.
He noted that the project is part of the ongoing Kenya United Kingdom - Health Alliance (KUKHA), which is set to revolutionise healthcare and training of health workers in Western Kenya.
The agreement to establish the health facility was signed in 2020, but has been delayed pending necessary approvals.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed at Nyosia area where Kisii University has set aside land for the proposed hospital.
The University will host the Centre with satellite campuses in Maseno, Masinde Muliro and Egerton Universities.
In the agreement, the Kisii centre will be a regional hub for healthcare research, innovation and training of advanced level medical personnel for Kenya and the Eastern Africa countries.
The proposed initiative to establish the centre received a nod from former President Uhuru Kenyatta long before he vacated office.
However, due to change of leadership at both the national and county government of Kisii, fresh talks under President Ruto and Mr Arati had to be held.
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The multi-billion worth project is a development initiative under the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) and ropes in several Kenyan universities and the British government.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the National Public Health Institute (NPHI) are also enjoined to enhance medical research.
“This massive project needs the support of the national government, that is why it was inevitable to work with the head of state,” said Mr Arati.
He revealed that when he was briefed about the project immediately after he got into office, he looked for the head of state to support the initiative, adding that necessary approvals are being made for its actualisation.
DG Monda, MPs Jhanda, Barongo, Obiri and Miruka promised to continue working with Mr Arati for the greater good of Kisii residents.
Mr Jhanda and Miruka who were elected on the ruling party ticket, United Democratic Alliance (UDA), said that there was nothing wrong with them declaring their support for Mr Arati.
They said he is the governor and must be respected.