Ukambani governors set for February economic bloc summit

Machakos meeting to bring together Ngilu, Kibwana and Mutua for discussions on how to operationalise South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc

In Summary

Mutua tells leaders to stop peddling politics of division and focus on poverty eradication


Ukambani governors will meet in Machakos next month to fast track the operationalisation of the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc.

Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) will evaluate the gains attained since they mooted the economic bloc idea on November 16, 2018.

The February meeting was announced by Mutua in a press statement on Thursday. 

He said the leaders from the three counties were committed to the eradication of poverty through empowering residents in ways that can improve their economic earnings. 

Mutua said it was time leaders stopped peddling politics of poverty and division and embarked on a transformative agenda that improves the living standards of the people. 

 “In mid-February of this year, there will be a real Ukambani leaders meeting so that our people can be freed from the politics of poverty and move to the politics of prosperity," Mutua said in his statement.

 “Governors Charity Ngilu, Kivutha Kibwana and myself are committed to the economic and political freedom of our people.”

He said the county chiefs were confident of freeing their people from the shackles of economic and political bondage that has impoverished the region for years.

Mutua said 2020 marls the start of a "decade of real change”. 

“We need leadership that focuses not just on the haves in the society but also on the ordinary struggling wananchi. We need to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, not widen it,” Mutua said. 

The SEKEB proposal was mooted after Mutua, Ngilu and Kibwana made a joint declaration to form an economic bloc in order to attract donor funding for projects across the three counties. 

The idea immediately got the support of a local cleric who urged leaders from the region to exploit local historical sites as possible sources of revenue.

Machakos African Brotherhood Church Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki said Ukambani region has a huge tourism potential owing to its strategic position as a gateway to traders and missionaries from the coastal region in the late 19th century.

“This region has a rich history of wealth owing to the fact that it played host to early missionary activities in this country. We can build memorial shrines for such notable figures like Dr Ludwig Krapf and Peter Ameron Scott as some of the people who played a leading role in bringing Christianity to Kenya by opening churches. Such sites can be a great source of revenue in both local and international tourism,” Ndambuki said.

The cleric was appointed the interim chairman of SEKEB said the three counties could borrow a leaf from Israel which he said earns 30 per cent of its revenue from tourism owing to its position as the birthplace of Christianity.


edited by peter obuya