Kiraitu lanches manifesto with focus on social development

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi makes his remarks during the launch of Devolution Empowerment party on November 27, 2021 at the Bomas of Kenya.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi has pledged to focus on the social development of county residents during his second term if re-elected on August 9.

The governor said while he concentrated on the “hardware” during his first term when he built several infrastructural projects, he will dedicate his second term to the “software” of building capacity among the youth, women and the old.

In his campaign manifesto, the governor promises to set aside Sh1 billion for women enterprise and another Sh1 billion to empower the youth, as well as allocate Sh300 million in a social welfare programme for residents aged over 65 years which will incorporate health insurance.

On agriculture, he promised to allocate Sh500 million for construction of storage, processing and value addition facilities in potatoes, bananas, macadamia, avocado and miraa crops value chains.

“During my first term as governor I established various projects including a Renal and Intensive Care units and a cancer centre at the Meru Referral Hospital, and facilitated building of a 250 bed ward to ease congestion at the facility. I also drilled over 200 boreholes in semi-arid areas to solve the persistent water problem in those areas,” he said.

Mr Murungi said he also opened 49 new dispensaries and facilitated establishment of four new Kenya Medical Training Centers (KMTCs) at Maua, Kanyakine, Miathene and Kangeta.

“I ask the people of Meru to give me a second term and I will ensure they are socially stable. Women, men and the youth of this county will become prosperous because my administration will invest in them,” the governor said on Friday night when he launched his manifesto.

Mr Murungi’s administration also allocated Sh3.15 billion for the Ward Development Fund with each of the 45 wards getting Sh70 million over the last five years.

To promote inclusivity in his leadership, he created the Meru Economic and Social Council (MESC), bringing together academicians, professionals and entrepreneurs from Meru, which developed the Meru Vision 2040 blueprint which will guide the development of Meru for the next 20 years.

“I also established the Meru Youth Service (MYS) to fight against unemployment, poverty, apathy and hopelessness among the youth, and through this programme we have trained more than 2,000 youths in our polytechnics, including 160 street children who have now been recruited as painters to paint government buildings,” he said.

Speaking yesterday (Sunday) after he was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to contest the governor seat, Mr Murungi reiterated his commitment to supporting agricultural activities and promoting value addition for all farm produce, noting that agriculture was the county’s main economic activity.

He was accompanied by his deputy Titus Ntuchiu who hit out at “those who thought they would stop me from contesting as running mate”, saying the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) report in which he was named as having not complied with the law was in “bad taste”.

The deputy governor was listed in the EACC report that named dozens of aspirants who had not complied with the IEBC’s requirement that they should resign six months before the General Election.

“You cannot understand why they said I should have resigned in February because I was elected together with the governor in 2017. I was never a county government employee and the work of the Finance Executive was allocated to me by the governor. But all that is now behind us since we have been cleared to contest,” Mr Ntuchiu said.

Mr Murungi said he was confident he would be re-elected during the August polls, saying he was best suited to steer Meru country.

Other candidates angling to unseat him are Senator Mithika Linturi (United Democratic Alliance) and Woman Rep Kawira Mwangaza (Independent) who have already been cleared.

Others who had not been cleared by Sunday are Ms Lucy Gakenia, Mr Boniface Kinoti and Mr Evans Muriuki, all Independent candidates.