Perennial insecurity and banditry attacks, land issues, lack of access to good healthcare in public hospitals and access to clean water dominated the Kenya Kwanza bottom-up economic forum in Laikipia County on Tuesday.
During the forum that was presided over by the coalition’s deputy presidential candidate Rigathi Gachagua, residents also identified agriculture and livestock marketing as the priority economic areas of focus that they would like captured in Kenya Kwanza manifesto.
While addressing the forum that had brought together leaders and participants from various economic sectors in the county, Mr Gachagua blamed lack of political goodwill by those in charge of security docket the failure by the current government to address the insecurity issue in Laikipia.
He said that for a long time, residents of Ol Moran, Githiga, Sossian and Rumuruti wards have suffered due to cases of cattle rusting and sporadic banditry attacks.
“Every financial year we allocate billions of shillings to the security docket and, therefore, there is no way that criminals can be more powerful than a sitting government. What is lacking is political goodwill from those in charge of security and the government itself,” Mr Gachagua told market traders, hawkers, boda boda operators, hospitality industry players and horticultural producers, who were those attending the forum that was held in Nyahururu town.
While promising that the Kenya Kwanza government would fix the insecurity menace, the Mathira MP accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of allegedly neglecting people from the county by failing to address insecurity issues.
“It is a shame that when our people were being killed by criminals here in Laikipia daily, President Uhuru Kenyatta himself could not issue a statement or even visit the county to know what was fuelling the violence. As Kenya Kwanza administration, we will sort out this issue of insecurity once and for all,” he said.
More police reservists
Mr Gachagua added that if elected, their administration will increase the number of National Police Reservists in the region to help address the insecurity menace and also promote education among pastoral communities.
To ensure that farmers reap from their toil, Mr Gachagua said that their administration will develop policies that will streamline the agricultural and livestock sector to ensure that farmers become the major beneficiaries of their produce.
"We will ensure that those whom we will appoint in the ambassadorial dockets are tasked with marketing Kenya as well as Laikipia as the best livestock and meat producers. This will empower our people as well as improve their livelihoods,” he noted.
He said their administration would also issue title deeds to residents from the county who are living in the sprawling Kiamaina slums in Nyahururu and Likie and Majengo slums in Nanyuki.
Four million title deeds
“We will make sure that we issue four million title deeds every year to the residents who are living in abject poverty within our slums, translating to 20 million title deeds in five years, to help solve land issue in the country,” added Mr Gachagua.
He was accompanied by Starehe MP Charles Jaguar, Laikipia Senator John Kinyua, Laikipia East MP Amin Deddy and Laikipia UDA gubernatorial candidate Joshua irungu.
Mr Irungu promised to fix the county’s health system if elected as governor.
“Provision of clean and safe water will be top on my agenda. My administration will sink more boreholes and desilt existing dams to ensure that we have enough water for our livestock, irrigation and domestic use,” said the former governor.