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Seven new ministers sworn into Ngilu cabinet

Seven County Executive Committee nominees whom the Kitui County Assembly vetted and approved a week ago have been sworn into office.

            The Committee members were appointed following resignation and impeachment of five county executive committee members (CECMs) since 2018.

            They include Dr Winnie Syombua Kitetu (Health and Sanitation), Stephen Kyalo Maithya (Education, ICT and Youth Development), Esther Kilonzi (Trade, Cooperatives and Investments) and Hellen Kisiku Kitheka who will be in charge of the Gender, Sports and Culture docket.

            Others are Samson Nyamai Masila (Land and Physical Planning), Meshack Kyalo Muthusi (Agriculture Water and Irrigation) and Caroline Kaiyu Musango as the County Attorney.

            The seven new office bearers took oath of office in a brief ceremony presided over by Kitui Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi at the Agriculture Training Center (ATC) boardroom in Kitui Town.

            While congratulating them for their new roles in her administration, Governor Charity Ngilu urged the cabinet appointees to serve the electorate with diligence and devotion.

            “Always bear in mind that the offices you have assumed belong to the people of Kitui and you must endeavor to serve them to the best of your ability,” Ngilu emphasized.

The in-tray of the nominee to head Health and Sanitation docket in Kitui County is full with demands for securing healthcare workers’ well-being as the country grapples with the second Covid-19 wave.

The Health and Sanitation nominee Dr Kitetu, who hails from Kitui West, told the vetting committee chaired by Speaker George Ndotto that her priority will be securing the safety of the frontline soldiers with preventive and protective gears.

Speaking during the vetting exercise held in December 2020 at the precincts of Kitui County Assembly, Dr Kitetu, who vied for the 2013 Women Representative seat under NARC party and lost said that preventive treatment has been adversely affected since the first coronavirus case was detected in the country in March 2020.

“We are on the throes of a serious pandemic that is a threat to humanity globally. Locally, we have been hit hard by Covid-19. We need to re-think our priorities in offering support to healthcare workers, treating those affected and taking care of our patients,’ she said.

Dr Kitetu, who wears many hats as a trained pharmacist and clinical psychologist, allayed fears of doctors’ flight to lucrative positions outside Kitui County adding that she will leverage on her vast experience to win the confidence of specialist doctors to continue plying their trade in Kitui.

Speaker Ndotto challenged her on how she will balance political support and her technocratic skills to ensure the Health budget is ring fenced and not diverted to other unintended uses.
“I am  a politician. However, I will use my ingenuity and professionalism to ensure the health budget is well utilized for the benefit of Wananchi. I will lean on the assembly’s oversight role to navigate the murky waters of politics versus offering services to the public,” she said.

However, when hard pressed why she is leaving her lucrative job at the Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa, Dr Kitetu said that she intends to retire in her home county and give the best professional services to her people leveraging on her experience of over 30 years in the Health sector.

Majority Leader Peter Kilonzo, who doubles as the Athi MCA in his remarks questioned the nominee on her understanding of Universal Healthcare (UHC) and how it helps the vulnerable access affordable and quality health services in the county.

In a swift rejoinder, Dr Kitetu singled out the Kitui County Health Insurance Cover (K-CHIC) as a replica of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover saying that she will sit with a team of experts to ascertain its efficacy before implementation in a bid to save the tax payers money.

by Yobesh Onwong’a

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