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Nordic Ambassadors in Makueni to learn about the County’s devolution success stories

Governor Kivutha Kibwana and his deputy Adelina Mwau on Tuesday hosted ambassadors from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway who are in Makueni to learn about the county’s devolution success stories.

Finland Ambassador to Kenya Erik Lundberg cited that the county’s outstanding performance in devolution under the leadership of governor Kibwana was the driving force behind the visit.

He said: “We wanted to visit Makueni for many reasons but primarily we are impressed by the good work you have been doing in many areas.”

Mr. Lundberg further said that they had come to learn the success stories that Makueni has to share with the rest of the county adding that it was an opportunity for both parties to share experiences and learn from each other.

Mette Knudsen, his Danish counterpart applauded the county’s model of public participation, that starts from the villages up to the county level, saying that it was worth their support.

“We think Makueni county is a place where the leadership wants to make some change for their people and they have a very positive way of engaging the population and that is worth supporting,” Knudsen said.

Knudsen was also impressed by the new Mother and Child facility that was launched last week by the county government saying that it was a milestone worth emulation by the other counties.

Although devolution had its own challenges, Governor Kibwana said they were faithful to article 1 of the 2010 constitution adding that it is an important strength when development is owned and driven by the people.

Makueni Unveils 200-bed Ultra Modern Mother and Child Hospital

Makueni has unveiled one of a kind Mother and Child Hospital at Wote.

Out of the 200 beds, 120 are for adults and 80 for neonates.

The facility, the first public hospital to offer aqua-birthing services in the country was commissioned on Thursday December 6th by national First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Governor Kivutha Kibwana. The ceremony was also attended by regional leaders among them senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and MPs Daniel Maanzo (Makueni), Patrick Musimba (Kibwezi West) and a host of county first ladies.

The facility is expected to be a regional specialist referral facility for maternal and child health services with a catchment population of close to 100,000.

The facility will provide amenities including:

  • Consultation Services – Gynaecological, Obstetric, Neonatal consultation services;
  • Antenatal wards – for mothers who are not in active labour;
  • Ultra-modern New Born Unit with neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU) – with baby cots, incubators and phototherapy unit;
  • Post-surgical wards – for patients who have undergone surgical operations;
  • Labour ward with private rooms and 6 delivery beds;
  • Twin operating theatre with capacity for laparoscopic surgeries;
  • Gynaecological wards – for non-pregnant women of reproductive age with clinical issues;
  • Neonatal Ward – for both sick and well neonates;
  • Aqua-birthing facility – a first in public hospitals in Kenya;
  • Laboratory services – for diagnostic support;
  • Pharmacy services;
  • PET room – for mothers with pregnancy related hypertension complications;
  • Conference facilities – for continuous staff medical education; and
  • Kangaroo Mother Care room – for preterm neonates.

According to governor Kibwana, The Makueni Mother and Child Hospital is in line with the county’s priority to ensuring the provision of the highest attainable standards of health as envisaged in our constitution.

He said it is also aligned with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s big four agenda.

“Besides the Mother and Child Hospital, the County Government of Makueni has invested heavily in the improvement of health services especially the maternal and child health,” he said.

“The county government has increased physical access to health care. For example, we have in the last five years doubled the number of the physical facilities from the initial 109 facilities in 2013 to the current number of 232 operational facilities in 2018. This has reduced the average distance to access a health care facility from 9km to 4.5 km currently,” he said further.

The facility has been constructed in phases for the last four financial years at a cost of Sh 135 Million which includes both construction and equipping.

Kibwana hosts Polish Envoy for Bilateral Trade Engagement

Governor Kivutha Kibwana on Monday hosted at Wote the Polish ambassador to Kenya Jacek Bazanski for a bilateral trade engagement with special focus on cooperative movement development.

The ambassador said his major reason for the Makueni visit was to establish a platform for Polish companies to interact with their Kenyan /Makueni counterparts for shared economic partnerships.

He said Makueni has entrenched a transparent leadership which is attracting investors, and Poland would seek to work with the county for the benefit of both the county government and his country.

Bazanski was accompanied by the Nairobi Bureau Chief of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency Michael Mazurewicz.

The two, accompanied by governor Kibwana and department of trade officials held talks with representatives of cooperators across Makueni.

Kibwana welcomed any partnership with Poland investors that would help grow the County cooperative movement to become a key socio-economic driver to the county and Country at large.

“We are desirous of establishing mutually beneficial relations with your country in the areas of agro-processing, water harvesting/conservation and road infrastructure development so that we can easily embrace technology from your country,” Kibwana told the envoy.

Kibwana said since the inception of his government, the cooperative movement has grown from 83 cooperatives to 207, with a total membership of 50,866, share capital of Kenya shillings 264,002,126, turnover of Kenya shillings 72,862,269 and members’ savings of Kenya shillings 202,389,214.

The Polish envoy agreed to co-facilitate a trip to Poland for the Makueni cooperators’ representatives to learn from best practices on cooperative movement participation in the country’s development.

Poland has one of the most developed cooperative movement which has catapulted it to the 6th biggest economy in Europe.

Makueni inks deal with Centre for Health Solutions for healthcare promotion

Makueni County has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Centre for Health Solutions Kenya (CHS-Kenya) to advance its quality of healthcare promotion.

The MoU, signed by governor Kivutha Kibwana and CHS-Kenya Chief Executive Officer Paul Wekesa on Monday seeks to:

Support in implementation and expansion of high quality HIV Care, prevention and treatment through training and capacity building activities, provision of commodities and other relevant assistance;

Provide technical advice to policy makers and to those in county health institutions that will deliver the services through the MoH;

Establish collaborative framework to institutionalize the use of evidence informed interventions through activities such as baseline assessments, program reviews and operations research;

Enhance support in monitoring activities of the National Tuberculosis Leprosy and Lung Disease (NTLD) Program through support, supervision and quarterly meetings.

The deal, according to governor Kibwana, is in line with the county government’s commitment to advance appropriate and rapid responses to the County’s HIV/AIDS epidemic and to health promotion in general.

The deal will cover 64 health facilities across the county, among them the sub county hospitals and the Makueni County Referral hospital.

Ukambani governors meet to jump-start Regional Economic Bloc

Governors Kivutha Kibwana, Alfred Mutua and Charity Ngilu on Friday met in Machakos for deliberations to jump-start the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB).

The meeting, chaired by Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, was also attended by the assembly speakers, majority and minority leaders from the three counties, Kamba Council of Elders and representatives of the clergy.

The bloc, the leaders said, will create a platform for joint development investments and resource mobilization for wealth creation to rollback the poverty ravaging the region.

“We have decided to provide direction to our people to create wealth and pull out of fear, poverty, want and backwardness that is often associated with our region.” said governor Ngilu.

“We have numerous shared resources which if well utilized can make a lasting solution to this region,” she said further.

Governor Kibwana termed SEKEB as a unique outfit because while similar blocs by other counties comprise mainly of governors, SEKEB incorporates elders, church leaders, professionals and all interests across the different social and economic sectors.

He said the outfit could be used as an alternative disputes resolution mechanism incase of leadership wrangles as has been witnessed in Makueni in the first cycle of devolution and currently in Machakos.

Governor Mutua said the bloc would provide a platform for all leaders from the region to work towards a common goal irrespective of the regional geopolitics.

Members of parliament, senators and members of county assembly will also be brought on board for inclusivity.

Visiting Ugandan delegation hail Kibwana for Makueni progress

A delegation of Uganda Members of National Assembly has hailed the Makueni devolved system of governance saying it has led to effective delivery of services to the citizens.

Cecilia Ogwal, who led the delegation on a 3-day benchmarking tour to Makueni observed that though Uganda has a devolved system, the public participation is not functional and resources are not devolved.

“We have read about Makueni and its success stories and that is why we chose to come. However, in Uganda, we have a devolved system up to the districts level but participation of people is not functional, and also the resources are not devolved,” she said.

Governor Prof Kibwana said that it was an honour that the members of the Ugandan Parliament chose to bench mark in the county to learn noting that counties have been learning from each other to enrich their work.

Governor Kibwana further explained to the delegates who paid him a courtesy call in his office on Wednesday, that his government is keen in actualizing article 1 of the 2010 constitution of Kenya which resulted to the institution of the peoples’ government in the county.

The governor also observed that the sovereignty of the people in the county had worked through the public participation model but noted that sometimes it is resisted by leaders who feel threatened by empowered citizens, adding that it requires a lot of transparency.

He said: “Here in Makueni, we believe in actualizing the constitution and that is why we instituted the peoples’ government to implement Article 1 though sometimes it resisted by some leaders. Despite the challenges, it has worked.”

Ogwal noted that the benchmarking tour was aimed at comprehending the devolved system structures and functions before making concrete recommendations to the government of Uganda.

Kibwana hosts Dutch Envoy, Former CJ, on devolution support

Governor Kivutha Kibwana on Monday hosted Dutch ambassador to Kenya Frans Makken, former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and Ford Foundation’s Eastern Africa director Maurice Makoloo at Wote to share ideas on how to support devolution through mutual partnerships.

The leaders explored possible areas of partnerships with key focus on institutionalized civic education, public participation and mainstreaming the youth in development.

Dr Mutunga described Makueni as a beacon of progress for sustaining devolution owing to its robust civic space and public participation framework.

“Makueni is one big change story,” he said. “We are looking at the county as a focus for enhancing civic space because of the robust public participation and civic engagement of the citizens being rolled,” said the former CJ.

Governor Kibwana said it took a lot of struggle to achieve a successful civic education and public participation in the county as the first crop of members of county assembly vehemently opposed any proposed budgetary allocation on grounds that it would have done better on tangible projects such as water, roads and Early Childhood Development Centres.

He said it is out of the robust civic space that the citizens petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the county government after it became ungovernable due to incessant fights between MCAs and the executive during the first cycle of devolution.

Kibwana said his government has opened its doors to partners such as Ford Foundation, adding that the government is only playing a catalyst role and then partnering with strategic partners for sustainable development.

Dutch ambassador to Kenya Frans Makken said innovative processes for development partnerships should be enhanced as donors are no longer dishing out monies but facilitating ideas that would translate into wealth creation and tangible social-economic achievements.

He said there are numerous companies, donors and other non state actors willing to engage in such like partnerships with counties such as Makueni which have demonstrated willingness to work with the public in a people-driven development model.

Mr. Makoloo said the foundation will consider working with Makueni to pilot a new youth program involving building a green rural economy driven by young people.

Kilome residents secure date with NLC over alleged land injustices

Over 3,000 members of Kiima Kiu-Kalanzoni and Mukaa (KIAMUKA) Society have secured a date with the National Land Commission to present their grievances on alleged historical land injustices committed against them.

The society members, spread across Mukaa and Kiima Kiu/Kalanzoni wards in Kilome constituency, claim that a 5,048-acre piece of land leased to a British immigrant Robin Woodcraft Stanley in 1947 was forcefully taken from them, and a myriad of atrocities committed during their eviction.

The society has since petitioned NLC to look into the alleged historical injustice committed against them and their petition admitted.

Mr. Stanley popularly known by the locals as Makala has also petitioned the land commission seeking to stop any proceedings of whatever kind in relation to the piece of land.

The locals also claim that the piece of land owned by Makala is bigger than the 5,048 acres declared in the title of lease and want a survey done to ascertain the authenticity of the declared size under lease.

In a meeting attended by NLC commissioner Dr. Rose Musyoka, Governor Kivutha Kibwana, County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed, representatives of senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, members of county assembly and KIAMUKA society members on Monday, it was agreed that both the society members and Makala be heard by NLC in November to expeditiously put the matter to rest.

It was also agreed that the department of lands and urban planning in the county carry out a survey of the land next week as part of the process of the petition hearing.

Kibwana meets KPC chiefs over delayed oil spillage compensation

Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana on Monday hosted top officials from Kenya Pipeline Company(KPC)  and Thange Farmers Association representatives to deliberate on the delayed compensation following oil spillage on River Thange in 2016.

The meeting came as  a response to a letter dated October 05, 2018  addressed to the KPC Chairman Mr John Ngumi by the Thange Farmers Association to look into the challenges delaying the compensation.

In the letter the group raised concerns about delayed compensations, lack of supply of potable water for domestic use and loss of land use since 2015 among other issues.

The Association chairman Mr Sammy Muindi referring to the letter said that there were still pending compensation cases three years after the oil spill adding that their agricultural means of livelihoods were cut short by the damaging spillage.

He said: “Three years after the oil spill we are yet to be fully compensated. KPC promised to supply clean water for domestic use but for a month now we have gone without clean drinking water. We stopped all our agricultural activities,the victims are facing a serious economic crisis.”

Governor Kibwana who chaired the meeting noted that the matter falls within the energy sector which  is not a devolved function making it difficult for the county to expressly take action.

The governor however said that they were offering support to the affected citizens of Thange and pleaded with all stakeholders to move with speed and bring the issue to rest once and for all.

“Energy  is a national function and we cannot go beyond our mandate as a county. We however are giving support to our Thange citizens. My plea to you is that we need to finalise this issue once and for all so that we can move on,” Prof Kibwana stated.

The governor  further said that the Thange oil spill should not be politicised.

KPC chair John Nguma said the organization is taking the matter seriously and would act to ensure residents are supplied with clean water for domestic use.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior responding to the matter observed that all stakeholders involved in resolving the issues were performing poorly citing breakdown of communication as one of the major setbacks.

“We are all doing poorly in handling this matter while the people of Thange are suffering. What I see here is a breakdown of communication,” Mutula said.

He further urged for transparency in dealing with the issue.He called  for the reconstitution of the taskforce appointed to handle the spillage.

KPC Managing Director Joe Sang, in response to some of the issues raised by the Thange farmers said that they had used over Sh 31 million in Corporate Social Responsibility activities and over Sh 31 million to compensate 266 claimants.

He further promised that seven claims where discharge vouchers were signed and awaiting payment were going to be paid by the following week explaining that out of the total 4,267 claims received by KPC to date, 491 were fraudulent, 635 were pending due to incomplete information which was required by the insurance company for compensation 1,272 were rejected because the claimants were not residents of Thange.

Involve the people in government projects: Deputy Governor

Makueni Deputy Governor Adelina Mwau on Thursday  called for the involvement of all stakeholders in implementation of government projects.

Mwau said that the governor and herself were able to stand out in development because they have always involved the Makueni people through the public participation model in the county.

The DG raised concerns over the formation of a committee to oversee the construction of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)  institution in Nunguni which she said was formed without the input of the local residents.

“I am surprised to hear there is already a committee formed to manage the proposed college when Kaiti people were not involved, ” the DG said.

She further explained that together with Governor Prof. Kivutha Kibwana they have been able to achieve a lot for the county because they avoided politics in development.

“Let us not bring politics into development matters otherwise governor Kibwana and I would not have come this far, ” Mwau advised.

She was addressing a meeting convened between the Kaiti  constituency leadership and Kilungu Elders group to streamline Kaiti development agenda.

The county government has already  allocated a five -acres plot of land  for the construction of the institution, request which was made by the elders

The Elders Group through their chairperson Mr Julius Kilonzo  appreciated the Deputy Governor for the allocation saying that the institution was going to help secure  the future of their youth.

” We are grateful for the plot of land because the future of our young people will be taken care  of when the institution will be established,” Mr Kilonzo said.