Natembeya: 'At Ruto's State House, ni kazi, si story'
What you need to know:
- Mr Natembeya was elected on a Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) ticket, but has snubbed the Opposition Azimio and declared intention to work with President
- He said Trans Nzoia County has been branded an opposition zone for many years, hindering development
- The governor is now expected to receive national government support in his Kitale town upgrade plan, as well as funding that could boost infrastructure development in Trans Nzoia county
A day after he distanced himself from the Azimio coalition mass action agenda, Governor George Natembeya on Wednesday led a delegation of Trans Nzoia leaders to State House Nairobi where he secured a bag of goodies for his electorate.
Mr Natembeya, who declared on Monday his intentions to work with President William Ruto, met the Head of State at a meeting attended by among others, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.
Following the State House meeting, the governor is now expected to receive national government support in his Kitale town upgrade plans, as well as funding that could boost infrastructure development in Trans Nzoia County.
Interestingly, the governor said the plan is now bigger as Kitale is now eyeing city status, and his administration will be seeking to upgrade, elevate and reorganise it for the same.
To facilitate the upgrade plans, the State House meeting sealed the county government’s quest to acquire 150 acres from prisons for Kitale town’s expansion. The land, according to Mr Natembeya, will now be available immediately.
At the meeting with the Trans Nzoia county leadership, President Ruto announced plans to modernise and expand Kitale town in order to accommodate the growing population in the region.
President Ruto said roads within the town will be upgraded and the sewerage lines fixed, further confirming that 150 acres of land will be made available for the town's expansion.
He termed it unfortunate that Kitale was currently in a sorry state, despite its potential to become a city.
The governor has insisted that his decision to work with President Ruto and stay away from Azimio, the coalition under which he was elected on a Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) ticket, was well thought out because he wants to focus on serving his people.
Two weeks ago, he snubbed a Raila Odinga-led Azimio rally in Kitale town, saying he was busy with serious county duties. He would later say he has no time to attend rallies because he has an electorate to take care of.
“To expedite the development of Trans Nzoia County, working with the national government is inevitable. Today, I led a delegation of Trans Nzoia county leaders, elders, clergy and women, business people, and youth on a courtesy call on the President to discuss issues affecting Trans Nzoia," he said.
"I am pleased that the President provided leeway for our Memorandum of Understanding we submitted to him,” he wrote on a social media post after the meeting.
“At State House Nairobi. Ni kazi, si story (its work and not stories),” he tweeted.
Also secured for Trans Nzoia residents at Wednesday’s State House visit is the Suam border post land, with 50 more acres to be provided in addition to the 21 already allocated from the forest. Kitale Referral Hospital will also be equipped within three months, he said.
Tarmacking of 30Km of roads within Kitale Municipality will also be done under a project to begin in July 2023, while the 15-kilometre Kipsongo-Kitalale road will be upgraded to bitumen standards under the new deal with President Ruto.
The 28-kilometre Airstrip-Saboti-Gituamba-Kaptama road will be completed within two years, while the 75-kilometre Turbo-Barbaton-Kissawai-Endebess roads are earmarked to be completed within four years.
Trans Nzoia County leaders who were part of the State House delegation were MPs Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza), Lilian Siyoi (Woman Rep) Patrick Simiyu (Cherangany), former Governor Patrick Khaemba, MCAs, clergymen, opinion leaders, and youths.
Health Cabinet Secretary Ms Susan Nakhumicha and Foreign Affairs PS Korir Sing’oei were also present.
Mr Gachagua urged the leaders to work together to improve the lives of the people.
Costly opposition tag
In Kitale on Monday, the governor pledged to work with President Ruto to ensure the region benefits from the government development plan and fast-track economic growth in the county.
According to Mr Natembeya, a former Rift Valley regional commissioner, Trans Nzoia County has been branded an opposition zone for many years, hindering development.
“Our leaders have been in opposition for many years. Look at a constituency like Saboti that has been led by many great leaders, but does not even have a single tarmac road," he said.
Speaking in Kitale, the county boss said he will not be a stumbling block to development in the county by sticking with the opposition. He said financial allocation from the Exchequer supports sustainable development, and he is eyeing more for Trans Nzoia county.
Mr Natembeya decried the high poverty levels in Trans Nzoia County and the larger Western region and called on President William Ruto to revive industries in the region.
"Our people are suffering for staying in the opposition and we can't allow it anymore. Let us work with the President to push for our development agenda," he said.
“It is Raila who taught us about cooperating with the national government and that is why you see Kisumu shining in development, and you think it is Nyong’o’s work?” he asked.
The governor has received backing from members of the county assembly, among other local leaders.