Kericho Governor Dr. Eric Mutai on Sunday appealed to the national government to set up a referral hospital in Kericho to cater to South Rift residents in order to save them from the high cost of transporting patients to Eldoret and Nairobi for advanced medical care.
Mutai who spoke during an interdenominational prayer service which was attended by President Dr. William Ruto at Kericho Green Stadium noted that the residents of Kericho, Bomet, and parts of Narok were incurring huge expenses in trying to access healthcare in Eldoret and Nairobi due to transport and hospitalization costs.
Mutai asked the President to come to the aid of the people of South Rift saying many lives had been lost and also huge medical bills were eating into the family’s meagre resources and at times the costs are shouldered by the community through fundraising.
The governor decried the lack of essential medicine in health facilities in the County and asked the national government to intervene and assist in ensuring that the residents of Kericho get medicine in its health facilities in the next five years.
“The region is endowed with coffee, milk, and tea in Kericho, it is unfortunate that so many years after independence we are still auctioning our tea in Mombasa, my request is that we have a tea auction here in Kericho to market our tea since we have the capacity,” Mutai said.
The governor pointed out that after the multinational tea companies in Kericho laid off over 50,000 casual workers from the tea estates, businesses in Kericho town nosedived resulting in the closure of businesses while other small investors left the town for other progressive neighbouring towns in other counties.
Mutai accused the multinational tea companies in Kericho of being arrogant and failing to listen to their pleas to remove the mechanized tea plucking machines and instead employ workers to pluck the tea which would create employment for the many jobless locals.
“Revenue rates paid by the multinational companies to the county government are lower compared to the revenue they generate from their tea estates. Of what use are the tea estates if they cannot benefit the people, and cannot pay the rates?” Mutai lamented.
Hundreds of Kericho residents turned up for the thanksgiving and prayer service which was presided over by the clergy from Kericho led by African Gospel Church Pastor Reverend Joyce Tonui.
The prayer rally was also attended by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago, Kericho Woman Representative Beatrice Kemei, Roads and Public Works Cabinet Secretary Nominee Kipchumba Murkomen, Labor and Social Services Cabinet Secretary Nominee Florence Bore, Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Nominee Simon Chelugui, elected MPs Nelson Koech (Belgut) Johanna Ngeno (Emurua Dikir), Benjamin Langat (Ainamoi) Kibet Komingoi (Bureti) among others.
By Dominic Cheres and Kibe Mburu