Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has called on elected leaders in the county to unite in order to spur development.
In his speech during the opening of the third county assembly in Kathwana on Tuesday, Governor Njuki said his mantra for the next five years is ‘leaving no one behind', which means bringing on board every development partner to build development synergies.
He said that in his last government, he achieved great development milestones but most of it was laying the foundation, including new roads, health facilities and revenue collection systems.
“In the next five years, my administration will endeavour to elevate Chuka County Referral Hospital to Level Five status, establish a maternal and child health clinic at Magutuni, an ear, nose and throat facility at Marimanti Level Four Hospital and an orthopaedic centre at Mpukoni,” he said.
“I will also ensure provision and improvement of laboratory services.”
He said he had established outpatient units in Chuka, Magutuni and Marimanti level four hospitals and built 20 new dispensaries.
He pledged to ensure Chuka Level Four Hospital is upgraded to a Level Five facility and establish an oxygen plant at the Marimanti hospital.
On providing domestic and irrigation water, Mr Njuki said he will ensure the implementation of community smallholder irrigation projects and work with the national government to support the construction of water reservoirs.
To provide more clean drinking water to all households, he said he will raise the number of households connected to clean piped water from 20,000 to 50,000.
On trade, Mr Njuki said he had provided space for 10,000 small-scale traders and built 10 modern markets and more than 300 market stalls in the last five years. In the next five years, he pledged, he will do the same in Marimanti, Chogoria, Gatunga and Nguruki.
He said he will activate the “Tharaka Nithi Trade Fund to support micro, small and medium scale traders, establish and implement the County Trade Promotion and Development Policy to spur marketing efforts and increase domestic trade and investment”.
On roads, Mr Njuki said he had tarmacked 40km in the last five years and that he aims to pave 50km in the next five years.
He noted that though there is no law allowing the creation of a ward fund, he will give each ward representative Sh15 million – Sh10 million for roads and Sh5 million for, and respective MCAs will determine the projects to be implemented.
He added that he will bring back the Tharaka Annual Ura Gate Cultural Festival in order to promote peaceful coexistence and preserve good traditions.
Starting from the next rainy season, he said, farmers will get free seedlings and other subsidised farm inputs, including fertiliser, in order to promote food security in the county now facing hunger.
He said he will also establish a milk processing plant, optimise land acreage under irrigation, increase mechanisation and promote value addition, and establish the Tharaka Nithi Annual Agricultural Trade Fair in order to create linkages for all crop and animal value chains.
Mr Njuki announced nominees for his new cabinet and handed over the names to the assembly for vetting.
He retained four from his previous cabinet: Dr Gichuiya Nthuraku (Health), Njue Njagi (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries), Giti Kijiru (Roads, Lands, Public Works, Urban Development, Housing and Revenue Mobilisation) and Ms Dorothy Nkanya (Education, Vocational Training and Social Services).
He also appointed five, including his deputy Nyaga Muisrael, who will head the Trade, Cooperatives, Energy and ICT docket.
Those newly appointed are Beatrice Kathomi (Water and Irrigation), Lawrence Ireri (Finance), Maureen Nyambura (Youths, Sports, Culture and Tourism) and Muthini Karangai (Public Administration Intergovernmental Coordination and Devolution).