H.E. ANN WAIGURU OGW
SPEECH BY H.E ANNE WAIGURU, KIRINYAGA COUNTY GOVERNOR, DURING HER INAUGURATION AND SWEARING-IN CEREMONY ON TUESDAY 22,AUGUST 2017 AT KIRINYAGA UNIVERSITY GROUNDS, KUTUS
I am extremely humbled to stand before you today having taken oath of office to serve as the governor of this great county of Kirinyaga.
Allow me to begin by congratulating the dynamic duo – President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for their win in the August 8 presidential election. We are privileged to have you as our leaders. We look forward to working together to fulfil your pre-election promises to Kenyans.
After a long, tedious and one of the toughest governorship race in this election, the actual journey to a better, greater and prosperous Kirinyaga finally begins!
You know, if God relied on popular bets, the opinion of erudite political analysts and public perception to determine who wins and who loses a political race, I would not be standing here right now – because when we started, many political pundits were sceptical of our ability to win this race.
What our critics failed to understand is that in the history of politics world-over, whenever the people want change, nothing – absolutely nothing – can stop it from happening!
It happened in the United States in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama as the first Black President, and in Liberia with the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the first female President; It has happened in Igembe South with the election of 23-year-old John Mwirigi as the youngest MP-elect in Kenya and in Kirinyaga with my election as the first female governor in this county and this country!
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the other two newly elected female governors –Charity Ngilu of Kitui and Joyce Laboso of Bomet. You are an inspiration to many young girls and women in Kenya and beyond.
The Kirinyaga race was interesting and not without its fair share of challenges and uniqueness given that this is the only county that had two women candidates for the governorship seat, making it more complicated and competitive.
In that respect, the people of Kirinyaga had broken the ceiling of prejudice ad bias against women leaders.
On August 8, 2017, people of different age, gender and social status, from different parts of Kirinyaga woke up with the desire to make change happen.
Some voted for me, others voted for the other candidates in the race; but in all that, one thing was clear – all they wanted was a governor who would lead them to a new path of development. And as we begin this transformative journey, I promise you today that I will be that governor that you so dearly wish for this county! I will be impartial in executing my duties, I will be fair in the distribution of resources, I will work tirelessly to deliver my pre-election promises and cooperate with other elected leaders in this county to build a Kirinyaga that we can all be proud of.
I would like to thank my family who stood by me throughout this journey; they did not falter even when the storm rocked our boat and stayed on both when the sail was smooth and when it was rough.
I would also like to thank my campaign team, every single one of you who showed faith in us, went out and campaigned day and night and prayed for our victory – specifically the very robust, dedicated and most enthusiastic team ever seen in Kirinyaga politics – Team Minji Minji. You made this victory happen!
And I know that even though I garnered over half the votes cast, there is a substantial number of people who voted for the other candidates; and so it is incumbent upon me, as the new governor, to gather all and scatter none – like the biblical good shepherd – so that we may have one flock under one shepherd.
AS WE TAKE UP THIS NEW ROLE, my deputy governor and I are cognisant of the task ahead, and we know it is not going to be easy.
We are inheriting a Kirinyaga that is facing a debilitated health sector – with empty drug stores that need restocking and hospital wards where patients share beds; a county with dilapidated roads and a frustrated youth who have no jobs.
We are inheriting a county where farmers are getting swindled by middlemen and are cheated into selling their produce for less; where education standards have dwindled and forced many parents to take their children to far-flung schools; a county that felt forsaken by its government which was keen to serve select regions while leaving other regions impoverished.
We are inheriting a county that has for long been under the control of cartels who have made it impossible for anyone who cannot afford a bribe to get essential government services; a county where farmers have no water to irrigate their crops and households have no water for domestic use; a county that is grumbling over whether the headquarters should be in Kutus or Kerugoya.
I know all this because I have lived it, I have seen it, and I have heard it – and it all changes now!
There is one driving factor that has always given me clarity, derived from the words of Martin Luther King; that “an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
With this is mind, we intend to form a government that is people-driven, development-focussed, and guided by the Constitution of Kenya and the County Governments Act (2012).
DURING THE CAMPAIGN, we had the privilege of interacting with tea, coffee and rice farmers who raised critical issues that they needed addressed, including poor harvests, lack of water for irrigation and low returns for their produce.
We visited Kangaita Tea Factory, Podago Dairy Cooperation, Mwea Irrigation scheme and rice mills and met stakeholders in the agricultural sectors as we tried to really understand the areas that need strengthening.
We met residents in Gichugu, Mwea, Ndia and Kirinyaga Central who expressed concerns over the poor of state of roads, and water shortages that have affected the areas; and traders in Kerugoya, Kagumo and Kagio markets who were working in deplorable conditions. We interacted with youth in Kiine, Kariti, Kanyekini, Kerugoya, Ngariama, Baragwi, Njukiini, Wamumu, Mutithi and very many other areas, who are languishing in poverty due to lack of jobs; people with disability whose interests have been forgotten and young girls and women who yearn for a chance to make a difference in society.
We spoke to businessmen and women who were troubled by the long and tedious process involved in the acquisition of business permits and stringent policies that have made it difficult for them to invest in this county.
My assurance today is that your concerns have been heard, and will be addressed. As we all know, Kirinyaga is an agrarian county that if well managed can be Kenya’s food basket. And as Governor, I will work with farmers to modernise agricultural practices in order to improve harvests and source for new markets to make agriculture a profitable venture. We will also cooperate with stakeholders in the industrial sector to support expansion programmes that will create jobs for our youth. With the support of the national government, we will upgrade at least one of our stadiums to meet international standards and establish playing fields in every constituency in order to grow sports in our county.
Additionally, we will set up talent centres in every constituency to help nurture talent among the youth.
My county government will work closely with the national government to improve the state of education in Kirinyaga by equipping schools with the necessary tools to make them compete with top national schools. In coalition with the national government, we will roll out youth and women empowerment programmes that will ensure self-sustainability, while also sensitizing the youth on how to benefit from the Youth and Women Funds.
We will expand our health infrastructure to ensure we have hospitals with maternity services in every constituency, and ensure the hospitals have medicines and are properly equipped to operate effectively.
We will upgrade roads that need upgrading and construct tarmac roads where none exists to improve access to markets.
To boost security, we will erect street lights in all the towns and markets to offer an opportunity for a 24-hour economy.
We will also upgrade and expand dilapidated markets, while building new ones to accommodate more traders.
My government will also work to ensure we change the lives of the elderly in our villages who feel neglected by society, by ensuring increased enrolment in the Inua Jamii cash programme.
To improve public participation in governance and improve service delivery, we will set up active administration units in the sub-counties, wards and villages, as required by the County Government Act 2012.
We will work to improve the lives of boda boda riders, matatu operators, hawkers and small scale traders who want an enabling environment to do their work without harassment, while also addressing the challenges affecting established business people.
We will work with the county Water and Sanitation Company to ensure adequate supply of water in residential places and improve sewerage system in the county while putting in place measures that will rid our towns off garbage by ensuring daily collection and proper disposal of garbage.
As we promised during the campaigns, we will review all questionable land deals and repossess land that has been illegally allocated to private developers.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, there has a long standing debate over where our county headquarters should or should not be.
This should not, in any way, be a course for concern.
My government will not be constrained by walls, bridges or boundaries in its quest to serve the people of Kirinyaga.
So whether the County Headquarters are in Kutus or Kerugoya, whether they are in Karumandi or Kariti, we will do our job effectively as we promised during the campaigns and serve everyone equally. We will roll out development projects in every constituency and every ward – that I guarantee you!
I WOULD LIKE TO CHALLENGE our other elected leaders, the MCAs, and Members of Parliament to forge a united front if we are to succeed in tackling the challenges ahead.
Cesar Chavez, an American civil rights leader once said; “History will judge societies and governments — and their institutions — not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.”
Let us support each other to ensure we fulfil our promises to the people and support the Jubilee government – led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto – to achieve its pre-election pledges to the country.
FINALLY, looking at you today, I see a people who yearn for change, a people who are tired of status quo and are looking forward to a shift in the allocations of resources, a people who are fed up with empty political rhetoric and want development. Well, we assure you today, that we see you; we hear you and we will not let you down!
As your governor, I will serve you equally, diligently and devotedly, regardless of your age, your gender, or where you live in this great county.
God Bless You, God Bless Kirinyaga, God Bless Kenya!
H.E Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri
To be a county enjoying improved productivity through maximum realization of its potentials for sustained economic, social and political development.
To foster sustained productivity through effective and efficient use of available resources by encouraging investment, tourism and agricultural productivity to improve the living standards of the people in the county in a clean, secure and sustainable environment