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USAID hands over plant to local farmers to enhance milk processing

Kathonzweni dairy farmers on Friday were handed over a milk processing plant that will help in enhancing milk processing in the area and the county at large.

The plant which has a capacity to pasteurize 1000 litres of milk per hour is a project courtesy of a partnership between the County Government of Makueni and USAID through the International Livestock and Research Institute(ILRI).

According to the Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society chairman Stephen Kyonda, the plant is a step towards achieving their vision of being the leading in producing quality and quantity milk in Ukambani.

“Guided by our vision of being the leading Dairy Cooperative Society in producing quality and quantity milk in Ukambani, we have no doubt that this plant is not at the right place,” Kyonda stated.

Chief of Party ILRI Dr Romano Kiome who graced the handover ceremony urged the farmers to increase the membership of the cooperative in order to have steady supply of milk to the plant for meaningful processing.

Kiome further said that the handover was meant to have the farmers manage the plant and ensure its full operations before the official commissioning scheduled in few weeks’ time.

Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau called for prudent management of the cooperative for maximum benefit to the farmers.

She also urged the farmers to take advantage of the free artificial insemination services offered by the county government in order to increase yields of milk.

SEKEB Courts USAID for Development Partnerships

The South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB) is seeking to partner with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to leverage on its resources for the region’s development.

SEKEB top leadership under the chairmanship of ABC Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, governor Kivutha Kibwana, speakers Douglas Mbilu, Florence Mwangangi and majority leaders from the three counties on Thursday held a consultative meeting with the agency’s Country and East Africa Mission director Mark Meassick to deliberate on possible partnerships.

The meeting, also attended by other top ranking USAID officials, was held at Bomani ABC Church grounds in Machakos.

According to Meassick, USAID invests over $450Million in Kenya annually, and is ready to partner with SEKEB as a co-creator targeting wealth creation especially in Agriculture, water development, health and climate change resilience building.

Meassick said USAID is seeking to take advantage of the devolution system of governance to enhance closer relations with County governments geared towards a transformative development agenda.

Governor Kibwana said SEKEB is in the process of establishing a framework that would guide the shared development partnerships among the member counties and as well with development partners. 

Kenya-Korea partnership to see advanced institute of science and technology established in Konza city

The Government of Kenya is set to establish a new institute in Konza Technopolis; Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology(Kenya-KAIST) modelled after the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology(Korea-KAIST), the world’s leading science and technology University.

According to Chief Administrative Secretary and Principal Secretary State of Department for University Education and Research Prof Collette A. Suda, the institute aims to produce highly qualified scientists and engineers with both theory and practical knowledge for the future industry in Kenya and East Africa Region.

She spoke on Tuesday when she gave her key note address at Konza City during the institute’s architectural and curriculum design development kick off ceremony.

“I am happy about this milestone because the institute is going to transform the economy of our country through science, technology and innovation as well as change the face of this country through men and women who will come out of the institute and transform Kenya like it has transformed the Korean economy,” Suda said.

She further added that the production of the well-trained graduates in Science and Technology will contribute to knowledge based economy and sustainable growth with innovation.

The National government through the Ministry of Education has partnered with a Consortium of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, SAMOO Architects and Engineering Company Limited and SUNJIN Engineering and Architecture Company Limited, who were competitively selected according to Konza Technopolis Development Authority CEO Eng. John Tanui, to undertake the architectural and curriculum design for the university.

Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau who attended the kick off ceremony assured all stakeholders support from the Counties of Kajiado, Makueni and Machakos adding that residents from those neigbouring counties will be among the immediate beneficiaries.

“We promise you our full support in actualizing this university because it will first benefit our people from Kajiado, Makueni and Machakos counties,” Mwau stated.

By 2030, Konza City will generate close to 20,000 jobs with positions filled by Konza Technopolis University Campus graduates as well as Kenyans and experts relocating to live and work in the city.

Kaunguni residents urge government to prioritize water projects

Over 500 Residents of Kaunguni – Muuni Sub- Ward in Nguumo Ward have unanimously prioritized and proposed  a mega Water project in a bid to enhance agricultural and livestock productivity for improved livelihoods in their area.

In a public participation forum on Thursday presided by Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau and attended by Gender and Trade  Executives Godfrey Makau and Sebastian Kyoni respectively and a section of Makueni County Assembly members led by MCA Alfred Mutuku, the residents identified water scarcity as the major challenge.

They said if the right interventions are put in place then the problem would be resolved and water network widened to reach  many who lack access today.

Further they lauded the department of health services as the best performing in the county for implementation of the universal health care that has seen the county citizenry access medical services at no cost.

“The department of health is leading in the county because we are being treated for free in our facilities. We urge the other department to step so that we can grow together in every sector in our county, ” said Mutua Masai, a representative from Kaunguni-East cluster.

The DG said: “Like I have said in other forums, we are focusing on mega projects that can impact a larger population. This is what we are calling the paradigm shift.”

International Partnerships

Governor Kivutha Kibwana on Monday hosted a delegation of German parliamentarians who were in Kenya to learn more about the Country’s Devolution system of governance.

The delegation, led by Christoph PloB, a member of the German Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Infrastructure, said they chose Makueni because of the tangible successes in devolution implementation.

Kibwana, accompanied by the County Executive for Agriculture Lawrence Nzunga and Devolution Chief Officer Julius Musyoka discussed several development strategies with the delegation, which can be borrowed to improve entrenchment of a people-centred governance in both Kenya and German.

Among the key areas of interest discussed include youth empowerment and active participation in development, Health, Performance management, Agricultural Value Addiction and Climate Change management.

Other areas included education and political driven development especially from German’s Christian Democratic Union Party of Chancellor Angela Merkel which for the last 16 years has steered the country to be Europe’s biggest economy.

Makindu residents endorse Ziwani township Plan

Makindu residents have endorsed an urban development plan for Ziwani area in the outskirts of Makindu town.

This paves way for approval by the County Executive Committee and the assembly before allocation of plots.

The plan, covering 81 acres of land curved from Kiboko B settlement Scheme and earmarked for a proposed trading centre, was drawn by the County Government’s Lands department following a request by the National Lands Commission.

The residents accredited the plan on Monday during a public participation forum on the same led by governor Kivutha Kibwana and NLC Commissioner Rose Musyoka.

The plan has identified 288 plots for Commercial, residential and office space, while 30 plots have been earmarked for Public utilities among them a school, health facility, cemetery, sporting facility among others.

The latest development will allow plot allottees access title deeds and subsequently development of the area which has been idle and prone to grabbing by land cartels.

Kibwana and the NLC commissioner also ordered for the planning of an earmarked  67 acre trading centre at Ikoyo, between Makindu and Kiboko, which has witnessed incessant controversies by people claiming illegal ownership of part of the public land.

Three Ukambani Deputy Governors pledge to support development collaborations championed by their County Bosses

Deputy Governors Adelina Mwau, Eng Francis Maliti and Dr Wathe Nzau have pledged their unequivocal support for the Poverty Eradication Movement formed by the three Ukambani governors saying it is the only sure way to better the lives of their citizenry as well as accelerate the intentions of South Eastern Economic Bloc (SEKEB).

The three Ukambani DGs on Monday when they addressed the press at Maliti’s office in Machakos noted that the three counties share a lot in common but genuine unity to solve their unique challenges have been missing.

In a joint statement, the DGs further observed that it is only through the unity of purpose that the people of Ukambani can realize the goldmines they have been sitting on over the years and urged the three governors to soldier on.

“We are talking of building into each other’s efforts. For example, we are talking of Kalamba fruit processing plant in Makueni and we can have all Ukambani fruits processed there. We have a lot to learn about the Kitui Ndengu revolution. We are not duplicating but building on each other’s comparative advantages,” Mwau said.

“The initiatives through SEKEB the three governors have come up with are very good. We must change the way we used to do things if we are to expect different results. We also support the religious leaders who are trying to bring the leaders together. We need leaders who can bring our people together for politics of development,” said Nzau.

The deputy governors have lauded their bosses for choosing a direction away from the status quo and for reviving SEKEB which they said will concentrate on the following issues;

  • Development of key infrastructures such as roads, mega dams and factories,
  • Establishment of regional bank to support the economy of the region,
  • Promote agriculture,
  • Develop a policy on Universal Health Coverage where health insurance can be used across all the facilities in the 3 counties,
  • Jointly to exploit common natural resources and come up with a framework on how the people will directly benefit,
  • Provide conducive environment to both local and international investors and market the region an investment and tourist destination and,
  • Revive and value add cotton and leather industries whose raw materials are readily available in the region.

Makueni set to partner with the National Government on youth and women empowerment

The Government of Makueni County is set to partner with the National government through the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs on initiatives geared towards empowering the youth and women in the county.

This was agreed after Governor Kivutha Kibwana and his cabinet on Friday held lengthy discussions with Chief Administrative Secretary for the state ministry, Rachael Shebesh on behalf of her Cabinet secretary Margaret Kobia and identified a number of possible initiatives and programs to partner on.

Shebesh, while lauding Makueni for its outstanding performance in various areas expressed her interest specifically on partnership that impacts the lives of young people citing low uptake of the Youth Enterprise Fund in the county.

“I am interested in seeing that we touch the lives of our young people through the youth fund. It will be a win-win situation for both governments. We have the capacity to fund to even  a tune of Sh 10 million in a month to the youths through the fund,” Shebesh said.

Governor Kibwana said that his government will be more proactive in creating awareness to women and youth on the opportunities available for their empowerment including the funds adding that signing of a Memorandum of Understanding will be ripe after areas of priorities are refined by the two teams.

He Said: “We want to be very active in reaching out to our youth and women so that we increase the uptake of the youth and women funds in the County. Once the two teams on the ground refine on the areas of priority, then we will be ready to sign an MoU.”

Later in the day, CAS Shebesh together with Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau issued Women Enterprise Fund cheques worth Sh 2.9 million to 100 women at Wote.

CJ Maraga unveils new Makindu Court Block

Chief Justice David Maraga on Thursday unveiled a newly build Court block at Makindu to enhance access to judicial services.

Maraga promised to post a new magistrate to the court station to expedite cases before the court especially those touching on land cases which are overwhelming.

The CJ was joined by governor Kivutha Kibwana, MPs Patrick Musimba (Kibwezi West), Daniel Maanzo (Makueni) and County MP Rose Museo among other Judicial services.

Maraga said the Judiciary is working hard to devolve as many courts as possible. In Makueni alone, he said Tawa Law Courts building is 99 percent complete while Makueni High Court building is 30 percent complete.

The new Makindu Law Courts block

Governor Kibwana urged the Courts to expedite resolution of the numerous land, environmental and sexual offences cases that are so prevalent across the county.

He also called for a review of the current procurement law which makes purchases by government and its agencies so expensive in relation to prevailing market prices.

Support counties to join Open Government Partnership: Mwau

Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau has urged the national government to support counties to join open government partnership saying that their efforts will go a long way in enhancing openness and accountability across the country.

While addressing key stakeholders during the launch of the third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan led by Deputy President William Ruto on Monday at Serena, Mwau noted that concerted efforts will help the country to achieve the Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030.

“It will be a great idea for you to support County Governments to become members so that we can all join efforts to willingly enhance accountability and openness across the Country,” Mwau said.

In his keynote remarks, Ruto noted that involvement of citizens by government in audit of its programmes ensures stability of the nation as well as promote effective democracy.

He said: “When a government involves citizens, civil society in the audits of its practices and programmes, the society is more stable, the country more organized and the people happy because they know their nation is run in their best interests.”

He further lauded Makueni for institutionalizing open governance through involvement of its citizenry in its development programs.

Makueni, according to the DG has partnered with Hivos and Development Gateway to ensure open governance and signed a Memorandum of Understanding which established the terms and conditions under which open contracting can be implemented.

The third National Action Plan will be anchored on the following commitments:

  • Publish a central public register of company beneficial ownership information operating in the country;
  • Open contracting to improve transparency and reduce opportunities for corruption;
  • Open-Geo Spatial data for development by lowering the barrier and increase access to geospatial data;
  • Improve public participation for better and responsive service delivery;
  • Improve public sector performance through governance indices and
  • Build open government resiliency.