Nyeri Catholic Diocese Archbishop Anthony Muheria has pleaded with both county and national elected leaders to seek divine wisdom before embarking on the arduous task of serving the electorate.
Speaking at the Asian Quarters in Nyeri town during the inauguration ceremony for Governor Mutahi Kahiga and his deputy David Kinanire, the bishop said leadership without spiritual guidance is a pursuit in futility.
Drawing his message from the story of Moses found in the Book of Exodus chapter 33, Muheria said the seemingly obstacles currently facing the country could only be addressed by leaders who seek divine intervention from the creator of the universe.
“Our dear people of Nyeri and Kenya at large we must go with the Lord if we have any chance of surmounting the challenges currently facing our country. If we don’t go with Him, we can be sure we have already lost the battle before we even venture out,” he told the more than 4,000 people who had braved the chilling weather to witness the auspicious occasion.
He also revisited the Biblical narrative of the 12 spies that had been sent to spy on the land of Canaan by Moses only for ten to bring back a demoralizing report that sent fear among the Israelites.
The cleric insisted that though the majority of the spies brought back a bad report claiming they had seen giants in the land, two valiant men, Joshua and Caleb rekindled the hope of the Israelites by insisting that the land was theirs to take as long as God had given it into their hands.
He also reminded the leaders of their sacred obligation to transform the country into a haven where both the mighty and lowly get justice and equal services regardless of their political leaning or ethnic background.
“You have a fantastic work ahead of you but the Lord will walk you the way. We must give hope to those who are hopeless. Our farmers and teachers in this country need to be given an environment where they can contribute towards increasing job opportunities to our educated youth. The challenges facing us today such as corruption, spiraling poverty levels and inequality are the giants that humbled the 10 spies in the Bible. We need to move together as a country in love and overcome them as a united army,” urged Muheria.
In his maiden speech immediately after being sworn in as Nyeri’s fourth governor, Kahiga took the first minutes to thank the residents of the six constituencies for voting him for second term into office.
He also thanked God for the opportunity to lead the county as the fourth governor following the deaths of two former governors while in office.
An optimistic Kahiga also told the public of his commitment to settling down to work in the next coming days to continue with the huge task he had embarked on during his first term in serving the public.
“This is a great day for the County of Nyeri. God alone has made this magical moment a reality. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am deeply honoured and humbled today by the faithfulness of God. I am a product of the Grace of God and immeasurable prayers that so many have offered on our behalf. The favour of God has brought us this far through the campaign trail and He will be able to lead us as we govern,” he said moments after being sworn into office by Justice James Wakiaga a few minutes past noon.
He has singled out healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure development as some of the key sectors his administration would prioritize during his last term in office as governor.
The county boss further promised never to use healthcare as a political tool while in office but to ensure every resident in the county is in a position to access quality health services with ease.
“I want to commit to you that Health Care will never again be used as a campaign agenda in this county. We have made significant investment in our health system in Nyeri to an extent that about 40 per cent of our hospital traffic is from people from our neighbouring counties. We shall build on the foundations that we have laid a strong referral system that stems from the Dispensary to Level Six. We are on course to operationalize Naromoru Level 4 Hospital to serve a large catchment from Kieni East and reduce traffic to PGH. We are cognizant of the fact that Kieni West requires a level four hospital at Kiawara and we also plan to set up a specialized eye hospital in Tetu. We shall work hard to realize this dream together,” he pledged.
On agriculture, the governor promised to scale up funding to the tune of ten per cent of the total county budget to make the county not only food secure but a leading contributor to the country’s export market.
He has also pledged to improve crop production through alternative methods such as irrigation in order to tackle the devastating effects of climate change currently wreaking havoc across the globe.
“We plan to transform agricultural productivity to ensure that Nyeri County becomes food secure, by reducing reliance on rain-fed agriculture through highly mechanized irrigation such as drip irrigation, providing input support to farmers, adding value to our products, and expand markets locally, regionally, and internationally. Towards this end we shall complete the 20-large-scale dam construction programme, support small-holder agricultural drip irrigation, and work with the private sector to enhance commercial agricultural production on at least 100,000 hectares,” he added.
He also waded into the controversial issue of land ownership by promising to give out title deeds to colonial villages before he exits office in five years’ time.
The exercise will also see public institutions without title deeds such as churches and schools get the crucial documents as one way of giving such entities autonomy over the land they are built on.
Kahiga has also promised to come up with a support programme for the vulnerable families through food and non-food donations and to further revive the school milk programme in all ECDE institutions twice a week.
Also present during the event were seven Members of Parliament and the current Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga.
All were elected through the United Democratic Alliance party ticket.
By Samuel Maina and Esther Mwangi