UNITY PUSH

North Rift governors meet to revive collapsed economic bloc

All of the regions county chiefs confirm attendance.

In Summary

• This meeting will be the first in two years since the governors disagreed on the formation of the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) that brings together all the counties in the region.

• Governor Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu is current chairman of NOREB while Dominic Biwott has been appointed CEO

Governors Jackson Mandago, Josphat Nanok, Alex Tolgos and Stanley Kiptis at a meeting in Eldoret on March 9.
Governors Jackson Mandago, Josphat Nanok, Alex Tolgos and Stanley Kiptis at a meeting in Eldoret on March 9.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Eight North Rift governors will on Thursday meet in Baringo in fresh efforts to revive their collapsed regional economic bloc. 

This meeting will be the first in two years since they disagreed on the formation of the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) that brings together all the counties in the region.

Governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Stephen Sang of Nandi and Stanley Kiptis (Baringo) are expected at the Noreb summit. 

 

Bloc vice chairman Governor Josphat Nanok of Turkana and  Samburu's Moses Lenakulol will also attend.

Bloc chairman Jackson Mandago summoned the meeting to iron out the differences and initiate the revival process.

As a first step in reviving the group, Noreb has established a secretariat to be based at the KVDA Plaza in Eldoret. Former Nandi deputy governor Dominic Biwott is the secretariat CEO.

“The Noreb summit will be meeting in Baringo to finalise agreements and strategies and the legislative framework required for us to move forward,” Biwott said.

Mandago said they are committed to ensuring that the bloc is revived to focus on improving the economy of the region through joint activities.

“Noreb counties will work together on areas to be agreed on,” Mandago said.

County assemblies in the region had complained that they were being sidelined by the governors on the bloc's formation, yet they were required to approve the legislation or funding required by the group.

Biwott said that all stakeholders had now been brought on board for the success of Noreb.

Before it collapsed, the governors had identified joint projects worth more than Sh200 billion on which they would focus to uplift the economy of the region.

Nandi and Trans Nzoia had also left to join the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) and it was later agreed that counties could subscribe to any grouping.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang has confirmed that he will attend the Baringo meeting.

“We never left Noreb.  As counties, we are required to explore all possible ways to uplift our economies on matters like finding markets for our produce as we work together on all fronts,” Sang said.

The governors are also expected to tackle the insecurity issue in Kerio Valley region, where more than 300 projects for counties had stalled due to banditry.

The governors will discuss the ongoing operation by the government to disarm bandits in the region.

Tolgos and Lonyangapuo last month signed a peace accord to end banditry in the region and there have been no attacks since the pact.

DP William Ruto has asked all the counties affected to sign commitments on peace so that collapsed peace and development programmes can be implemented.