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Residents poverty despite agricultural potential in Kirinyaga County

Religious  leaders  in  Kirinyaga have now given their voice over the governance of the county claiming the residents are  getting poorer by the day.

The leaders in a statement to the media said they were concerned over the disillusionment for the farmers and traders in  the county due to unfavorable economic environment.

“We are greatly concerned by the current standoff in Kirinyaga health sector that has brought services in our public health facilities to a standstill, thus affecting access to health care by the majority of the poor” said  ACK  Bishop Kirinyaga, Joseph Kibuchwa.

The  leaders  were  speaking  after  a  two day County Dialogue conference held at ACK diocese headquarters in Kutus.

The  forum  had  been  convened  by  Kirinyaga  Dialogue  Reference  group  which  consists  of  the  religious bodies  in  the  county.

The  meeting  brought  together  over  110 delegates including women and youth leaders as well as representatives of the  civil  society’s  persons  with disabilities, professionals, farmer groups and business community.

Other  resolves  from  the  conference is that a special Youth social economic empowerment sessional paper be developed  to  galvanize a national intervention to address the youth unemployment crisis in the county.

Public  and  state  officers should be required by law to only receive health vertices from the public health facilities.

Kibuchwa  said there must be a deliberate effort to empower the youths by making sure those who fail to join universities  are encouraged and supported to join technical institutions.

He  said  the  other problem bedeviling Kirinyaga County is that many of the elected leaders do not reside in the county.

“We  are  asking  our  leaders in the National Assembly to come up with a law that make it mandatory for governors to  stay  within  their  county,” he said.

On  corruption, Kibuchwa said the procurement Act should be amended to enhance transparency and accountability. ‘‘We  are  calling  on  the presidents to institute that all leaders undergo a life style audit,’’ he added.

Kibuchwa  said  religious leaders in Kirinyaga support that churches should not accept donations or contributions from  elected or  appointed leaders that are given with fanfare.

“We  are  of  the  suggestion that issues related to corruption be entrenched as a unit subject in the school curriculum  syllabus” he said.

Rev. Father  Charles  Waweru, Assistant Executive Secretary Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a continuous audit of devolution which he said was performing dismally with the people’s expectations.

He  said  there  must  be a clear handing over process within the county government with establishment of social audit  mechanisms  by  local residents on all projects implemented by the Kirinyaga County government.

‘‘This  should  also ensure that all projects initiated are completed within stipulated time frame before funding new
projects,’’ he said.

Father  Waweru  said  the county government must also implement the two thirds gender rule in all committees and departments  through  merit  and qualifications.

On  Mwea trust land, the church leaders said the County government should quickly and fairly sub divide the scheme  to  avoid conflict and bloodshed.

On  alcoholism and manufacture of illicit brew, the leaders took note that some of the administrators and the police have  become party to the evil business.

“Some  of  the beneficiaries of the trade seem to be people with senior leadership or with high influence such that the  business keeps thriving amidst repeated efforts to deal with it.

“All unlicensed bars must be closed immediately, Bars within the vicinity of learning institutions and residential areas be  closed immediately, amend liquor licensing law to curb high alcoholism in the county,’’ he noted.

Waweru said rehabilitation of drug and substance abuse should be undertaken and funded by the county government.

Father  Waweru said the conference was able to put in place sub counties dialogue forums and advised the residents to use  any available opportunity to bring out the issues affecting their areas.

“Demand action from the ones in leadership positions, this is the only way we can make our defiant leaders address the  issues that are affecting our daily lives,” he said

Other  key  religious  leaders  in  the  conference included Bishop David Kariuki of the Evangelical  Alliance of Kenya, Yusuf  Mohammed  of  the National Muslims leaders of Kenya, Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel  Nguri, Seventh Day Adventist representative, Richard  Njagi and the Supreme Council of Kenya (SUPKEM), Ismail Wanjohi.

By  Irungu  Mwangi

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