To create wealth, provide top quality services to our citizens in the most cost effective manner through teamwork and partnership with all stakeholders within and outside the county.
The people of Garissa County have great expectations about what this first County Government will do for them. It is a new beginning and one that not only offers us an opportunity to dream together but to chart a new course to transform our county into one of the most admired Counties in Kenya.
As the Governor and with the support of my people, Garissa is in the path of success. I will ensure an elaborate policy and legislative framework is in place to support the dreams we have for our people. I have undertaken to work with the key stakeholders from various sectors including education, trade, transport, tourism, hospitality, civil society organizations and men and women of this County when making key decisions.
On representation my government will be steadfast in ensuring gender representation and inclusion of persons with disabilities and minorities not just because the law requires it but because my leadership is committed to social justice.
Agricultural Development to achieve food security
Food security is a fundamental factor to peace and unity and agriculture holds the key to food security. There seems to be perennial food shortages in our County and it is indeed unfortunate that Garissa County (especially during drought times) records the highest incidences of hunger among all areas in Kenya.
This is despite the existence of a vast base of good arable land which is not utilized. The development potential of agriculture underpins its importance and potentials to spur economic growth and development for our County. Our plans for developing the Agricultural sector include the following:
1. Assist, develop and beef up output from the small-scale farms currently existing along the Tana River through the provision of steady and sufficient water supply to them from the River. This will be through the use of modern desertstyle irrigation techniques with the aim of transforming farming and enhancing food security in the County. Also all necessary support will be offered to the farmers including supply of farm inputs (such as seeds), fertilizers and also by undertaking appropriate farmdisease control measures.
2. Irrigation led agriculture would expand land under irrigation with the aim of ensuring more than one crop per year is planted by the farmers to enhance their wealth creation opportunities. Almost 60% of the land of our County can be classified as land good for agriculture including the Waso (Lorian-Swamp) and Fafi plains and also the southlands of Dagega and Gababa. We plan to irrigate good portions of these interior lands by means of the canal waters sourced from the Tana River. An example of such a canal initiative is the Rahole Canal project which is a vision 2030 flagship project.
The 2010 Kenya Constitution has made good provisions for children’s right to free and compulsory basic (ECDE, primary and secondary) education, including quality services, and to access educational institutions and facilities for all persons including those with disabilities. According to the constitution. County governments will largely be responsible for the education of the County’s children at the Early Childhood Development & Education (ECDE) level. ECDE NERs (Net Enrollment Rates) for the children of Garissa County has continued to remain low compared to most other parts of the country. Our plans for the development of the Pre-primay education sector include the following:
1. Implement an ECDE policy, strategic development and implementation plan;
2. Set quality standards and develop an ECDE performance framework;
3. Ensure that all primary schools have an ECDE unit;
4. Create funding modalities for ECDE to include; start up grant, capitation grant, school feeding, maintenance and development of school infrastructure;
5. Develop and implement appropriate ECDE programs for all children with special needs, including the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups; Meanwhile, the County in collaboration with the Central Government will focus on ensuring that challenges bedeviling the County’s primary and secondary education are addressed appropriately. This will be based on an overriding objective to rehabilitate our schools so as to provide high quality education to our children. Priority will be given to:
• equipping the schools with adequate, teachers, tools and supplies;
• providing continuous training to teachers to upgrade teaching skills;
• increasing the number of teachers by more efficient use and monitoring through performance contracts;
• improving enrollment in the county to acceptable levels in line with the rest of the country.
• increasing and maintaining the enrollment of girls throughout the county and reducing the drop-out rate;
Technical Training for our youth
We realize that the development of technical, industrial, vocational and entrepreneurship training (TIVET) is fundamental to the County’s efforts to lower levels of poverty and to create opportunities for out of-school youth.
Nevertheless, the country’s Vision 2030 places great emphasis on science, technology and innovation in general and TIVET in particular as the means for socio-economic and technological transformation. Despite the existence of a technical training college in Garissa (NEP technical), the overall value proposition of the college has not, however, been good apparently due to different reasons.
Our planned objectives for the development of technical training include the following ideas:
1. To revitalize NEP Technical Training College to ensure proper training of our youth in technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills.
2. Establish youth polytechnics in all the other main towns of the County i.e. Masalani, Bura, Dadaab, Fafi and Modogashe. These polytechnics will train young people in technical skills so that they can fully participate in productive activities.
Infrastructure development is the key to economic growth anddevelopment of our County. This is because it will support the County’s quest to increase local and foreign investments (FDIs) and also in opening the rural parts of our County which still enjoy huge untapped potential. Better infrastructure would reduce the cost of agricultural production and also the cost of doing business. The County Government will ensure that the following initiatives will be a priority to ensure infrastructure growth and development in Garissa County.
• Rehabilitate the tarmac roads within Garissa town and extend the tarmac to all arterial (major) routes of the County. The roads to be targeted specifically under this objective include : Garissa- Masalani Road, Garissa-Liboi Road, Garissa-Balambala Road and Garissa-Modogashe Road.
• Rehabilitate all existing allweather roads and feeder roads in the County and develop more of such roads.
• Improve the condition of all existing airstrips and build more.
Alongside infrastructure development, we plan to establish trading and/or business markets and special economic zones (SEZs).
Livestock development and marketing
Livestock rearing is the most dominant livelihood and economic activity in the county. Up to 90 percent of adults rely on livestock for their livelihoods and the sector contributes as much as 95 percent of family incomes. Yet, despite the heavy reliance on the same, the County lacks proper livestock management backing in view of issues such as lack of organized livestock markets and market information. Our plans for developing the livestock sector will be based on a holistic, vibrant livestock management program which will strengthen livestock health systems and strengthen livestock marketing infrastructure while at the same time supporting the development of added value within the livestock sector. Key aspects of the proposed program are as follows:
1. Strengthen livestock disease control and surveillance systems, including mobile health workers in line with international recommendations.
2. Construct high-quality abattoirs within or close to the main livestock-rearing areas, with sufficient holding grounds.
3. Develop and/or rehabilitate livestock sales yards in all main towns of the County.
4. Establish a Livestock Enterprise Fund in line with the provisions of Vision 2030.
5. Prioritize interventions which add value within the pastoral system, such as the processing of milk, meat, hides, skins and other livestock products.
Water, sanitation and waste management
Our County is a water scarce County and all appropriate infrastructure would be put in place to ensure increased supply ofwater resources to the people of the County for domestic, industrial and irrigation use. Water and sanitation infrastructure need to be modernized to curb water wastages that impedes economic development. Some specific activities to be undertaken by the County government include the following:
Garissa Sewerage Project
We will pursue the completion of this project within a determined timeframe. The project initially commenced in July 2009.
Rural Support Projects
We will aim for the provision of clean drinkable water to all villages and settlements of our County.
This will include piping water from the Tana river for all settlements along the river. Borehole digging will also be increased for clean water and piping of such water to a central location of each village will be undertaken. Similarly, storage of clean water will be enhanced through the use of modern water storage tanks. Other activities to be undertaken in this regard include rain water harvesting through the construction/desilting of dams.
Drought Emergency Programs
Our County usually undergoes high levels of variability in climate systems including droughts at many times. Drought is a normal, recurring but temporary characteristic of arid areas. It is the consequence of a reduction in the amount of rainfall received over an extended period of time relative to the average.
Drought periods should be anticipated and should be managed. Failure to manage them well has major social and economic consequences.
The County government will put into place all necessary measures to ease the negative effects of droughts particularly on the rural populations.
Our approach will be to deal with the matter on the basis of disaster management and will ensure close working relationship with the appropriate line ministry and all concerned national institutions such as the National Drought Management Authority
and the National Drought Contingency Fund. Some of the specific interventions that will
be undertaken by the county government in this regard include the following:
a) The formation of a County Drought Steering Committee that will be responsible for all drought related issues in the County. The committee will be responsible for a rapid response team that will be based at all divisions of the County with all the necessary resources mobilized
b) Systematically strengthen customary adaptive and response strategies, such as mobility, purchase of water trucking machinery for human, livestock and wildlife, rehabilitation of boreholes, provision of fuel and spares for community boreholes, drilling of strategic boreholes, use of drought fall-back areas, food preservation, the growing of drought resistant grass such as Sudan grass and the creation of plastic water pans which may be fed through water tankering vehicles that will be stationed in different divisions of the County.
Health indicators in our County are very poor, particularly for women and children, with high maternal, infant and child mortality, high levels of acute malnutrition, and low immunization coverage. The health service infrastructure is particularly poor, with few and scattered health facilities staffed by inadequate numbers of personnel. Distances to referral facilities are usually much longer, on poorer roads, than in other parts of the country. Poor facilities are also a major cause of ill-health, particularly in unplanned urban areas. Our planned objectives include the following:
(a) Rehabilitate all existing hospitals and healthcare centres in the County to be able to provide quality, accessible health care for all in the county including well functioning mortuary services.
(b) Ensure the existence of a well functioning health centre in each rural settlement or in cluster of neighbouring rural settlements.
(c) Expand the provision of mobile health services in view of the needs of a mobile rural population dispersed over a large area with poor infrastructure.
(d) Provide air ambulance services.
(e) Subsidize health services for poor and vulnerable groups.
(f) Ensure the provision of free, quality Primary Health Care services
(g) Ensure free medication (with essential drugs) for pregnant women during pregnancy, labour and delivery
Provision of County emergency response services
We will establish in Garissa a Fire Department as a full time brigade to provide a fire and emergency response service to all the residents of Garissa and all neighboring localities. Also Garissa Ambulance Station will be formed to offer similar services.
The ambulance services will also take into consideration the need for air ambulance services to fly at short notice to rural destinations at times of emergency. Similar offshoot services will be formed in all major towns of the County. These emergency departments will be staffed seven days a week by responsible employees to ensure continuous protection for the lives of our
9) Provision of appropriate County social services
We plan to establish and/or provide in the County highly needed social as well as leisure amenities including the following:
a) A modern fruit and vegetable market in Garissa and also in all other main towns of the County.
b) In line with the proposed development of our roads, we plan to embark on the beautification of the roads and streets of Garissa town and all the other main towns of the County.
c) The creation of leisure gardens and amusement parks in Garissa and in all other main towns of the County.
d) We plan to make maximum use of river Tana as a recreational hub for leisure activities such as canoeing, rafting and boat as well as cruise rides. We will also create recreational parks along the river such as walkways.
e) We plan to create in Garissa different animal parks for amusement purposes including the following – Garissa Zoo, Garissa crocodile park, Garissa snake park and Garissa tortoise park.
f) Street lighting is a paramount aspect of our plans for Garissa and the other main towns of the County. We plan to use mainly solar as a basis for lighting our streets.
g) We will instill a serious reading culture in our people by revitalizing the role of libraries in the County. For instance we will undertake an overall revamping of Garissa Public Library to bring it to a level of international standards. We also plan to create similar public libraries in all other main towns of the County including Balambala, Masalani, Dadaab, Bura and Mudogashe.
Developing the county’s tourism potential
Our county has a rich cultural heritage and wildlife population which is central to the tourist industry. Yet, the infrastructure necessary to sustain a vibrant tourism sector – such as roads, energy, water, accommodation and security – is lacking, particularly in the remote parts of the county.
As a result the unique landscapes, ecology and culture of our people have largely remained unknown to outsiders. Hence, with the proposed development of our roads, our intention is to seek the concurrent development of a vibrant tourism sector that contributes to the development of the county. This will be on the basis of
the following strategies and interventions:
• Create incentives for communities to participate in wildlife management, conservation and tourism
• Address the problems of human/wildlife conflict, for example through better management of wildlife corridors and fair compensation schemes.
• Develop tourism products that are appropriate to the context and culture of our county
• Provide incentives for groups or individuals willing to invest in tourism in ways that deliver sustainable benefits to local communities.
• Identify appropriate locations for resorts which embrace, protect and market the cultural, creative and natural endowments of the area and generate longterm economic benefits for local people.
The provision of effective security for lives and property remains the most fundamental constitutional responsibility of any government. Ensuring security is generally a function of the National government; however, in view of its direct effect on the people of the County, we shall work closely with the national government by dedicating sufficient efforts towards preventive and proactive security measures to guarantee the safety and well being of our people in all parts of the County.
In view of the increasing security challenges around the County, I would like to take this opportunity to urge everyone to become more security conscious and watchful of any suspicious characters, with a view to reporting such promptly to the security agents. We urge our community leaders to look into the modalities for reactivating our traditional security systems of keeping close watch over visitors in our neighbourhoods, with a view to fishing out and neutralizing people with questionable characters before they abuse the privileges of our hospitality. While we shall continue to support the security agents to discharge their responsibilities, we must remember that enforcement of security is a collective responsibility.
Other critical development aspects for our County include the following:
• Assist the National government in the vetting and registration of all unregistered but bonafide citizens who reside in the County who have attained the legal age for issuance of national identification cards (ID’s). Registration of persons as appropriate is imperative as this will, nonetheless, contribute to important security perspectives.
• Create jobs for all persons able and willing to work and to reward each of them appropriately;
• Empower our women and youth by supporting their entrepreneurial initiatives;
• Alleviate poverty and ensure a respectable safety net that enhances human dignity for the poor, the disabled and those with special needs.
• Aim for a holistic development the rural areas through the pursuit of an aggressive integrated rural development program;
• Protect the County’s national heritage especially the environment, our land and forests, and all our natural resource endowments;
• Consistent with our resolve to put the people at the centre of governance, we will strengthen community participations through coordinations from the ward and village levels through appointed coordinators. Such initiatives are necessary so that the communities are not only made to participate in governance at the micro level, but to encourage them to take care of themselves properly and to do things according to their own understanding and aspirations.