Kimwarer community lectures top KVDA management over sh. 28b Talaal-Kimwarer dam

KVDA MD David Kimosop addressing residents of Kewapmwen, Soy South ward during a public meeting to adresss establishment of Kimwarer Talaal multi-purpose dam.

The Community expected to be affected by the establishment of Sh.28 Billion Kimwarer -Talaal multi-purpose dam in Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwet county has demanded full disclosure of the relevant information prior to the project implementation.

Speaking during a public meeting attended by Kerio Valley Development Authority KVDA top management officials Jackson Kiptanui (chairman) and David Kimosop (CEO), the community demanded to be furnished with land compensation, relocation arrangements, employment and Corporate investment initiatives.

The meeting held at Kewapmwen village, along the edges of the project site on Thursday was also attended by officials from the Italian company awarded the tender to build the Mega Dam and county government officials.

"We want to register our displeasure today as the people whose settlements will be affected by this project. We have never been contacted before yet KVDA claims to have conducted over 60 citizen engagement meetings about this project. We have seen KVDA officials and their agents criss-crosing our farms doing survey without our knowledge," said a resident Ms Helen Ruto.

The concerned residents said the discussions surrounding the establishment of the Dam in an area like Kimwarer where it is prone to landslides evoked memories of the Solai Patel Dam tragedy in Nakuru county which burst claiming lives of 48 people.

Another resident Paul Kandie said the available KVDA's sketch map drawing of the project had sidelined them in supply of piped water and electricity connectivity.

"In as much as you might assume we are uneducated villagers, beware we went to school during our time and we can still interpret the map. We have noticed serious concerns in the sketch map," said the resident.

Abraham Barsosio, the County government minister for Environment who represented Governor Alex Tolgos alluded to the meeting how KVDA sidelined key stakeholders in the project implementation.

" I want to tell you point blank that you have kept us on the dark yet we are the leaders on the ground. The same way the local community lack information is the same way the county government has no clue about the process yet Wananchi look up to us for reference,"Barsosio told the KVDA authorities.

This has resulted into unwarranted speculation and propaganda, said Barsosio adding that KVDA should clear the air about purpoted claims that the government had set aside Sh.5.8 billion to compensate households who will be displaced by Arror multi-purpose dam in Marakwet West while those in Kimwarer -Talaal in Keiyo south will only get Sh 1.9 billion.

" I am not only representing H.E Governor Tolgos here but I am also a resident and therefore, I am speaking as local who will be directly affected. These people don't have tittle deeds because the area was classified as lease land unlike other places where people have tittle deeds," said Barsosio.

If KVDA had engaged the county government and other relevant stakeholders, such questions could have been sorted instead of being raised in public gatherings, said the CEC.

Responding to the grievances, Mr Kiptanui admitted that it was unfortunate that KVDA failed to bring on board the host county government.

"From now henceforth, we shall ensure that all of you will be meaningfully engaged and we shall notify both the office of the Governor and the County Assembly about our activities," said Kiptanui.

The former Keiyo South MP said all the multi-purpose dams KVDA has built in kenya were upto standard and approved by government engineers unlike the privately Solai Dam, adding that the community should shelve any fears related to the project establishment.

About the contentious KVDA's sketch map that had irked the locals, Mr. kiptanui defended it saying it was just a draft and not final document.

The agency chairman said the Kimwarer-Talaal hydro-power and irrigation project, once implemented, will go a long way in uplifting the development of the region because of the irrigation component that will result into massive food production downstream.

Every household will have electricity and the roads in the area will be tarmacked, said Kiptanui.

He said tarmacking of 50 Kilometers road section in the area will be done as a Corporate social investment.

Soy South MCA Jonah Tanui said despite the public lecture, the community in Kimwarer was receptive and hospitable and therefore the agents of KVDA touring the area do not have to be seeking police escorts.

"We have seen your officials always being accompanied by armed policemen whenever they are touring the project site. This shouldn't be the case. If they have been attacked elsewhere like we heard a mzungu sustaining a panga cut somewhere, we want to assure you that we won't be hostile, we only demand that you treat us fairly," said the MCA.

The Sh.28 billion Kimwarer -Talaal project undertaken by an Italian firm CMC dii  Ravena Cooperativa Muratory,  is a sister project of another Sh.35 billion Arror hydro-power and irrigation project in Marakwet West. Both projects cost a whooping Sh.63 billion.

Officials of the firm Mr. Antonio Dicumente and Luca Moutanari, the engineering supervisor and Project manager respectively said they were on the site to do survey, and design works starting with the highland and the downstream.

Mr Kimosop said it would take the county government of Elgeyo Marakwet upto 60 years to realise such a magnitude of money and therefore urged the Kimwarer community to embrace the project.

The CEO tactfully avoided answering the questions directed to him and instead said he would expand list of already formed community representatives to accommodate the complaining groups.

The meeting was also attended by MCAs Philip Kipruto (Metkei), Elisha Kiplagat (Kabiemit) , Moreen  Masit and Lornah Tanui (nominated) and Keiyo South Assistant County Commissioner George Onyango

Governor inaugurates new hospital board

The members of the newly inaugurated Iten Referral Hospital board.

 H.E Governor Alex Tolgos has inaugurated new Board members of Iten County Referral Hospital.

The board members include former Moi Teaching and Referral hospital Chief executive Dr. John Kibosia, an Accountant Reuben Chesire, University Lecturers Dr. Risper Berem, Dr. Sally Kimosop and Sing’ore Girls' Principal Rose Koech.

Others are Jeremiah Laktabai, Elias Komen and Mr. Benjamin Kimaile who is also the hospital medical superintendent.

The appointment of the Eight board members is for a term of three years period and they will be expected to steer the facility to greater heights in terms of infrastructure and management.

"These are great people and I have no doubt that they will deliver in supporting the management of the facility" said Governor Tolgos at the hospital boardroom Friday afternoon.

He appreciated the new members for accepting to be part of the hospital management considering that they were people engaged with other duties elsewhere.

Mr Chesire will be the chairperson of the board, said the Governor adding that his administration will appoint one more member to the board to replace Mr Stephen Biwott whose appointment was cancelled after he secured a national government appointment.

This will bring the total number of the hospital board members to Nine.

The Governor said:"Health is one of the devolved functions that has given county governments challenges but for our county, we gave it a priority,"

When the national government purchased medical equipment for Counties under the Health Managed Equipment Services, Tolgos was the first Governor to sign the deal.

The health equipment include radiography machines, a CT scan and renal unit which are already operational.

Addressing the meeting after receiving the appointment letter, Dr. Kibosia said:" It is an honor to serve in this board. Iten Referral Hospital is a hospital I have known for many years though in the past, it was not good hospital as such,"

The facility, located in Keiyo North sub county is a level 4 hospital though Governor Tolgos' administration wants it classified as level 5.

It has a catchment of 415,000 people covering at least three counties of Elgeyo Marakwet, parts of West Pokot, Trans Nzoia and Baringo counties.

Health Executive Kiprono Chepkok told the meeting that understaffing remained a challenge in the facility.

"We are supposed to be having at least 142 nurses in the hospital to be able to comfortably handle the duty but we currently have 77," said Chepkok.

According to the Governor, his government would establish an Intensive Care Unit ICU wing at the facility as well as lobbying for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI machine for the county referral hospital.

MRI is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease.

The hospital authorities took the Governor and the new board through a familiarization tour of the facility before the inauguration ceremony.

County Public Service Board warns about conmen fleecing job seekers

CPSB Chairman Michael Lelit addresses the press at his office in Iten.

The Elgeyo Marakwet County Public Service Board (CPSB) has issued an alert over a scam involving a notorious  conwoman who has been preying on unsuspecting job seekers and fleecing them of money promising them job vacancies in the ongoing recruitment of 30 Agriculture officers.

Board Chairman, Mr Michael Lelit, raised the red flag after a job seeker formally made a complaint to his office after losing Ksh 12,500 to the conwoman who, according to the victim, lured him to Iten with fake promises of a job.

The County Government advertised 30 jobs in various fields in Agriculture and Livestock departments and the recruitment process is currently being undertaken by the board.

“This young man was called by this lady who promised that he would be shortlisted and was asked to send some money as down payment which he did. He was called again and told everything was done and that his letter was being processed. He was asked for more money,” said Lelit during a press briefing at the board offices Thursday morning.

The young man was then asked to travel to County headquarters in Iten to collect his letter which was expected to be ready, narrated the chairman.

“When he got to Iten, he called the lady who asked him to hang around Iten town as he awaited the board to append the last signature on the letter. At this point, the conwoman asked for the last down payment promising they would meet over lunch hour to hand over the appointment letter,” said Lelit.

The man reportedly sent the last down payment of Ksh 7,500 but immediately got concerned that he had sent all the money requested before they could meet with the lady to receive the letter.

“This is when the thought that he had been conned came to his mind and he immediately reversed the mpesa transaction through Safaricom. However, the lady had utilized Ksh 500 but he recovered Ksh 7,000. In total, he lost 12,500,” said Lelit.

The Chairman said the case reported to him was also reported together with another at the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) office in Iten bringing the cases to two. He added that there was a probability other people may have fallen victim to the scam but had not reported.

“When the first case was reported to me, I immediately went to the DCI where I was told another case had been reported. The DCI County Officer Incharge informed me that they had launched investigations over the matter,” said Lelit.

The Chairman further revealed that there was another scam involving a past recruitment of 90 health staff in 2014. He said some people were circulating the job advertisement notice via whatsapp and conning job seekers with false promises of getting them the jobs.

“We have received reports that some people are being contacted to be offered these jobs which were filled in 2014. We have also asked the DCI to investigate this issue and bring these culprits to book,” said Lelit.

He warned job seekers to be wary of such schemes and make official inquiries on job vacancies to the Board to avoid falling prey to the fraudsters.

“When there is any vacancy, the Board advertises in our County website and in the local dailies as is required by law. After that, we shortlist qualified candidates and inform the general public in the same manner,” said the Chairman.

Lelit further said the Board does not use intermediaries in the recruitment process adding that canvassing for jobs is illegal.

“Any member of the public who is contacted on phone before any official communication on job vacancies is made should treat it as a fraud and report the matter immediately to the Board or the police for action, he said.

Elgeyo Marakwet joins frontier counties' economic bloc

Governors Ali Roba, Moses Lenolkulal and Alex Tolgos at the Frontier Counties Development Council conference held at Kishaunet show ground in Kapengeruia. 

The Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) has accepted request by the county government of Elgeyo-Marakwet to be included in the economic bloc.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba who chairs the Economic bloc has said the request by Governor Alex Tolgos to have his Elgeyo Marakwet county included in the pool had been accepted.

FCDC bloc is a shared platform created by County governments of Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, West Pokot and Turkana.

These Nine counties are listed as the most marginalised regions in Kenya where historical neglect has resulted into glaring inequalities between them and the rest of the country.

Addressing the second Day of an ongoing Governors' FCDC conference at Kishaunet Show ground in Kapenguria, West Pokot county on Wednesday, Governor Tolgos said his county shared the same characteristics with those under FCDC and it was for that reason that it should be included.

"I am here today as an observer and I have already presented the request to be included in this bloc because this is where we belong," Tolgos told the meeting attended by at least 10 Governors, Devolution Principal Secretary Micah Powon, Members of parliament and development partners.

Tolgos said Elgeyo Marakwet was one of the 'closed' districts right from the colonial era, and suffered from under-development over the years.

"In fact, some of the offices we occupy in Iten Town were built by ASAL projects, a confirmation that the region was classified under Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL)," said the Governor.

Responding to the issues raised by Governor Tolgos, Mr Roba said the request had been accepted, adding that Elgeyo Marakwet joined Samburu county which secured the greenlight to join the network recently.

The chairman however said the meeting at Kapenguria was an annual event meant to review the achievements of the bloc.

Some of the counties still faced challenges such as insecurity associated with cattle rustling and banditry, drought, outdated cultural practices among others, noted Governor Roba.

The bloc enhances the benefits of devolution process in their respective counties by serving as a catalyst and trigger for sustainable development.

Other Governors present in the meeting included Mohammed Abdi (Wajir), Moses Kasaine (Samburu) Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and the host Prof John Lonyangapuo among other leaders.

Clans barred from accessing disputed land

County Commissioner Dr. Amed Omar, H.E Alex Tolgos and CEC Shadrack Yatich during the peace meeting held at Tot Catholic church.

The government has directed two clans in Kerio valley to keep off a disputed piece of land they both claim ownership in Kerio valley until the matter is resolved.

Issuing the directive after holding an urgent peace meeting attended by Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos at Tot Catholic Church, area County Commissioner Dr. Amed Omar said the land at Kachamcham, along river Embobut was henceforth declared a "No go zone" for any of the clans.

Both clans of Kapshoi and Kapsiren who have been fighting over the ownership should desist from setting foot on the farm until they obtain further communication from the government, said the administrator.

He also warned chiefs from assuming roles of arbitrating land feuds saying the role should be left to elders.

Governor Tolgos said the peace stability realised in Kerio valley should be jelously guarded by everyone to avert any attempts of reverting into the dark days of the recent past.

"We cannot afford to revisit the occurrence of few years ago when lives were lost, property destroyed and people displaced from their homes as a result of fighting between two clans living in Tot," said the Governor.

The government authorities from both the national and county government were forced to convene the urgent peace meeting to engage the two clans following reports that they were courting fresh conflict.

A move by one of the clans to clear a section of the land in preparation for cultivation, provoking the other over its ownership was the reason behind the urgent meeting.

Tolgos challenged the two clans to live in peace and embrace harmonious coexistence as well as changing their mindset about being obsessed with "land ownership".

Insecurity do not only fuel hunger but also poverty along the Kerio Valley, said Tolgos.

The Governor attributed the peace enjoyed currently in the region to successful dialogue, intensified security patrols and most importantly, the communities' mutual resolution to embrace peace.

Schools that had been affected by the perennial conflicts in the area have since resumed learning with student numbers rising.

The Governor's delegation of State officials visited St. Paul's Kapkondot and Tot Mixed Secondary shools which were among the most affected institutions.

"Unlike the years when you were frequently distracted by gunshot noise, we want to see you doing the examinations this year in a peaceful environment," Tolgos told the students at Tot Mixed secondary.

Mr Omar said a new administration Police Post at Muruber assured the students of security and would also allow them to concentrate on their studies especially Form Four candidates who were preparing for their examinations.

The meeting at Tot Catholic church was attended by the national government security team together with county government officials and local elders.