Concerns as governors skip LREB meeting

Migori Governor Ochillo Ayacko (LREB host in green Kaunda suit) address the press in the company of some of his colleagues on Wednesday. The Economic bloc meeting has been skipped by many governors this time around.

Photo credit: Victor Raballa | Nation Media Group.

The commitment of some governors within the 14-member Lake Region Economic Region Bloc (LREB) has been put to doubt after they skipped a crucial meeting meant to deliberate and approve development projects within the region.

The concern was raised by Kisii Governor Simba Arati, who questioned why some governors have been missing meetings of the LREB Summit, which is the highest decision-making organ of the bloc.

Out of the 14 county bosses, only the Kisumu Governor, who is also the bloc’s chairman, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, Bungoma’s Kenneth Lusaka (vice chair), Fernandes Barasa (Kakamega), Ochillo Ayacko (Migori) and Mr Arati attended the opening of the 11th summit held in Migori on Tuesday.

Homa Bay, Vihiga and Bomet counties were, however, represented by their deputy governors, while Siaya was represented by Agriculture County Executive Committee Member Sylvester K’Okoth.

Missing in action

The counties that were not represented in the opening meeting hosted at Migori Stadium included Kericho, Nandi, Trans Nzoia and Nyamira.

“I am concerned that some have missed two or three of our meetings. It is important for them to attend because we have been fighting for them and they are going to benefit out of our cooperation as a region,” said Mr Arati.

He asked Prof Nyong’o to send a clear communication to absentee governors to remind them of their role in facilitating the development, management and utilisation of cross boundary economic resources and infrastructure.

For the second time in a row, Kericho Governor Erick Mutai and his Nandi counterpart Stephen Sang were missing in action after absconding the 10th Summit meeting held in Kisumu County in November last year.

Day one of the Migori meeting was also occasioned by low turnout among the delegates, with most of the seats empty.

Mr Arati, who is the chair of Health within the bloc, noted as a major milestone for LREB to strike a deal with United Kingdom that will see the establishment of six universities that will offer health treatment and research at about Sh10 billion each.

“I am happy to report to you that the Cabinet has approved this and six universities will offer treatment and research on non-communicable diseases, sickle cell, malaria, cancer care, HIV and respiratory diseases, among others,” he said.

The selected institutions of higher learning are Kisii University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Egerton University, Maseno University, Kibabii University and Bomet University College, a constituent college of Moi University.

Initially, only four counties were considered for the projects but Kibabii and Bomet University College were added following a request by the national government.

“This is why we note that it is important to work together as a team as we seek to realise development initiatives for the sake of 14 million inhabitants in the Lake Basin region,” he said.


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