Tolgos: My government embraces transparency

Governor Alex Tolgos addresses Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) stakeholders in Iten.

HE. Governor Eng Alex Tolgos, EGH has assured civil society organizations CSOs that his government will continue embracing their participation in enhancing transparency and accountability.Tolgos said through the efforts of the CSOs, the electorate in Elgeyo Marakwet county had become more informed than in any other part of the country.

"Infact wananchi are not only informed but they are also keen in demanding  quality service and value for money in every project undertaken in their locations,"said Tolgos while appreciating the participation of the CSOs.

He said the consequences of the Civil society activities were helpful in putting on toes both contractors and project management committes PMCs.

" Look,  we will have to make it a requirement that beside PMCs' signature okaying payment for work done, a contractor will not be paid until we also have concurrence of civil society social auditors," said the county chief.

Tolgos also cautioned public works officials who do not give accurate project bill of quantities BQs saying his administration was not going to tolerate.

Speaking at Iten polytechnic during a meeting for Elgeyo Marakwet Civil Society Organizations CSOs Network today, Tolgos said he was encouraged by the vibrant and robust activities of the CSOs.

The Governor encouraged the civil society to always feel free in seeking information and interrogating his government projects and even sharing  with him any poorly done ones if any.

"Should you come across any project that is not upto standard, share with me and I will take it up to Rapid Results Initiative RRI meeting that we have with top officials every Monday," said Tolgos

Kenneth Kimaiyo,  the programs coordinator for Iten Integrated and Environmental Conservation Community Based Organization CBO which convened the meeting said his team had been dedicated to empowering the citizens with information on budget making process and their rights to quality service.

Kimaiyo said  the CSOs conduct independent social audit of public projects as well as  carrying  out civic education to empower citizens with knowledge about their constitutional and democratic rights.

The event brought together both CSOs and Civic Educators drawn from the county alongside their sponsor Uraia Trust which was winding up its sponsorship with Mr Kimaiyo's Iten Integrated and Environmental organization.

According to Uraia Trust official Carolyne Nyamu the agency sponsored the Iten based CBO from 2016 to  December 2018 to a tune of Sh.12 million.

"This Governor for Elgeyo Marakwet did commendable job in his first term and that's why he earned himself re-election," said Ms Nyamu.

She said there were a lot of success stories associated with Tolgos' administration.

Transparency International,TI, Open Governance partnership, OGP, the Catholic Peace and Justice, CPJ, Centre for Democracy  Network among other  organizations were represented in the meeting.

Tolgos reiterates call for review of CRA formula

Dignitaries at Rubate village, Tharaka Nithi county during the burial of Ms Jennifer Cianjagi Njuki, mother to area governor H.E Muthomi Njuki.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor HE. Eng Alex Tolgos EGH has reiterated his push for increased revenue allocation to small counties in Kenya.

Speaking  in Rubate village, Tharaka Nithi county during the a burial of Ms Jennifer Cianjagi Njuki, mother to area governor HE. Muthomi Njuki, Tolgos hit the Commission for Revenue Allocation CRA for discriminating smaller counties.

Tolgos said it was only the review of the current CRA formula that would give the disadvantaged counties a life-line and spur development.

"We have reminded CRA and we shall still maintain our position that if they cannot consider our outcry and increase the allocation, then we would rather have the counties reverted to central government," Tolgos said at the ceremony attended by Deputy President William Ruto, Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya among other dignitaries.

Mr Oparanya on his part underscored Tolgos' remarks and asked the senate to look into the matter with a view to addressing it appropriately.

"There is need to set a special fund to assist small counties. Most of health functions are devolved yet resources have not been devolved. Let's work together to see that every county has a cancer center to help in treatment," said Oparanya.

The Kakamega governor asked the national government to release funds on time to help speed up development.

Other Governors present were HE. Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Anne Waiguru,(Kirinyaga), Ferdinand Waititu, (Kiambu), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi among other dignitaries.

Ruto said equipping hospitals in all counties with diagnostic machines that allow screening for cancer, early detection and treatment were part of the efforts to tackle the scourge.

"Its important for everyone to undergo the procedure to reduce cancer deaths and ensure a healthy nation," said the DP.

Similar sentiments were shared by Governor Mandago who reiterated the need for  legislators to come up with law which will see hospitals get free cancer drugs and exempt  taxes to all equipment used to treat the disease.

He said when hospitals procure the equipment used in the treatment of the chronic disease at a cheaper price, it will be affordable to be treated.

County enters partnership with Rivatex to boost cotton production

Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich (left) exchanges MOU with Rivatex Managing Director Prof Thomas Kipkurgat at the county headquarters.

The Elgeyo Marakwet County has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rivatex in a bid to improve cotton production in Kerio Valley.

In the arrangement, Rivatex will provide certified seeds and pesticides to cotton farmers in the county. The miller will provide market for the produce.

Speaking during the ceremony, Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich welcomed the partnership terming it a breakthrough in cotton farming in the county.

He said: "We are planning to engage more than 1000 farmers along the Kerio Valley which is one of the best cotton producing zones in the region. The farmers had stopped cultivating the crop owing to poor prices."

Mr Rotich however said Cotton growing do well in Kerio Valley but farmers abandoned growing it in the recent past due to lack of market and persistent pest and diseases attack.

The Deputy Governor said: “This will now change because farmers will be supplied with pesticides and seeds which are of higher yield production and disease resistant.”

Currently, at least 300 farmers along Kerio Valley are growing cotton. More than 2000 acres is targeted to be put under cotton this year in Soy North, Soy South, Tambach, Emsoo,Arror, Endo and Sambirir Wards, he said.

Industrialisation Principal Secretary Betty Maina who commended the County's efforts being put by the county to ensure that farmers get value for their money.

"I am encouraged that Elgeyo Marakwet has embraced diversification.The over reliance of maize has made our farmers poor. I am happy to see that Elgeyo Marakwet is one of the fastest growing counties in the country and with more incentives like this to our farmers, the economy of the local community will increase," said the PS who referred to the recent survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics which identified Elgeyo Marakwet as one of the fastest growing counties in the country.

She said ministry is targeting more than 50,000 acres in the County to be put under cotton.

"We import cotton from our neighbouring countries and with the current arrangement we can beat the deficit" she said.

Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett who asked farmers to diversify from maize and asked farmers to utilise the opportunity offered by Rivatex.

Rivatex manufactures different textile products from cotton and cotton blend fibres. The Moi University owned cotton miller’s Managing Director Prof Thomas Kipkurgat lauded the partnership adding that the company will partner with Elgeyo Marakwet County to increase supply of raw materials for maximum operations.

“We are currently producing an average of 10,000 bales against a capacity of 70,000 annually. We are tapping Elgeyo Marakwet which has the potential to produce more cotton,” said Prof Kipkurgat,

According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives cotton production has remained below the national demand due to unstable international prices and high cost of production.

Currently, the country produces an average of 25,000 bales against a demand of 200,000 bales, with the deficit covered through imports from neighbouring countries of Uganda and Tanzania and from the Far East.

Present during were cotton farmers representatives led by Mr Barngetuny Barchok who said poor and inconsistent prices forced them to drop growing cotton.

Indian High Commissioner to Kenya H.E Mr Rahul Chhabra who praised the efforts taken by the County Government to introduce farmers to contract farming as a way of ensuring them of a ready market for their produce.

Also present was Agriculture CEC member Ann Kibosia and other county staff from the Agriculture Department and representatives from Moi University.

Governor Tolgos, PS Koech officiate chamber of commerce launch

Dr. Susan Koech, the Principal Secretary PS State department of East African Community addresses the business community at Iten.

Over 800 contractors in Elgeyo Marakwet county will have to secure registration with the Kenya National chamber of commerce and Industry KNCCI, Iten branch.

HE. Governor Eng Alex Tolgos EGH announced today that no contractor will be allowed to do business without the registration.

"We shall make it a requirement for all the contractors that no one will be paid until they are registered with KNCCI ," said Tolgos.

Addressing the business community at Sitet Hotel in Iten Town on Friday during the official launch of KNCCI, Elgeyo Marakwet chapter, Governor Tolgos said the agency was going to be instrumental in providing necessary information about contractors who do commendable jobs   and those who deserve to be blacklisted.

The governor said KNCCI was also going to provide regulation in the industry that has suffered poor management.

Those who do not also pay tax as well as defaulters frustrating financial institutions will be tamed, said the county boss.

"We want all of you to get together and form a serious network whose objective is to empower everyone in doing business," said Tolgos at the ceremony held at Sitet hotel and presided over by Dr. Susan Koech, the Principal Secretary PS State department of East African Community EAC.

"We are glad to have officially launched this initiative in our county today. KNCCI is an important agency that brings together the business community with a view to enhancing business growth," said Tolgos

The agency is a valuable tool for any small business owner and it should be fully embraced by everyone, said the governor.

He said some of the benefits members get include capacity building services on the best business practices that give them desirable returns alongside getting access to credit facilities.

KNCCI will also streamline businesses in the county headquarters Iten Town which has recently acquired a municipality status, added Tolgos

As a way of promoting the growth of the entity, Tolgos said his government had supported the officials by allocating them office space to operate in the meantime before they secure theirs.

Dr. Koech said there were several business opportunities in Elgeyo Marakwet especially in the Agricultutre, Tourism  and Sports sectors.

Key officials present at the meeting included  Eldoret Town businessman and a former athlete Moses Kiptanui, businesswoman Veronicah Suter,  the agency  Chief Executive Dr. Ronald Zochin and Chairperson Mr John Chemagut.

Sh63 billion hydro-power dams to start in Elgeyo as agency implements resettlement plan

NLC Chairman Mohamed Swazuri adresses key stakeholders to the Arror and Kimwarer multipurpose dam during a resettlement plan consultative meeting held at Iten.

H.E Governor Eng. Alex Tolgos EGH attended a consultative meeting today in Iten regarding the planned establishment of SH63 billion Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo Marakwet county.

Key stakeholders Kerio Valley Development Authority KVDA and Kenya National Land Commission NLC were in the county to brief the local leadership on the status of the implementation process.

According to the implementing agency, the resettlement process for families who will be affected is on course and land to resettle them has already been found.  

NLC Chairman Mohamed Swazuri, KVDA MD David Kimosop and officials of the company awarded the tender CMC Itinera JV , Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono alongside  County Assembly Speaker Kiplagat Sabulei, County Commissioner Dr Ahmed Omar and representatives of the households targeted for displacement were in attendance.

Addressing the meeting held at Elgon Valley Hotel, Governor Tolgos asked the agencies to ensure the local community was adequately informed about the project implementation process.

" In areas where people don't have land ownership documents, they should be assured of compensation because that's their biggest worry," said Tolgos.

The Governor said majority of land owners in the area do not have tittle deeds and the situation could pose a challenge to the process if it was not addressed.

" Infact citizen engagement meetings such as this should be held on the ground especially at the project site instead of hotels in Town," said the Governor.

Mr Swazuri however assured the county chief that every land owner with or without tittle deed will be compensated provided they proved to be the real owners through their respective sub-location assistant chiefs.

Mr Kimosop said the official ground breaking of the project will commence in June this year.

The resettlement proces will cost the government about Sh.5.8 billion, Kimosop said adding that it will be implemented in phases starting those living at the exact location where the facility will be established.