BLAME GAME

You hijacked my Sh30m land tilting drive, Khaemba tells CS Eugene

The governor says the CS frustrated most county projects when he was Devolution minister

In Summary

• Khaemba has been accused of failing to implement his flagship projects.

• Last month, Eugene distributed title deeds to residents of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba has accused Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa of hijacking the county government's land tilting programme for political expediency.

The two leaders have previously traded blame over the state of devolution in the region, with the CS accusing the governor of doing little, despite receiving billions of shillings from the national government.

Khaemba has also been accused of failing to implement his flagship projects, including the completion of the county referral hospital in Kitale.

The governor said the CS frustrated most county projects when he was Devolution minister.

Last month, Eugene distributed title deeds to residents of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties and warned them against fake land documents.

Speaking at Trans Nzoia County Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kitale on Monday, Khaemba said the CS was using the titles as a campaign tool.

"Someone from the national government has been roaming around with land titles that my government funded in 2013, when I came into office," he said.

Khaemba said his administration had facilitated and processed about 88,000 titles in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, but he was not consulted during issuance.

"The same people moving around dishing out land titles did so before the 2017 general election to woo our people to vote for the Jubilee government. They are now issuing title deeds dated 2017. This is an irony," the governor said.

Khaemba claimed his administration facilitated the production of the titles to the tune of Sh30 million.

But Eugene denied the allegations, saying he was only overseeing the issuance of land titles to address what he said had affected the region since Independence. 

"It's hogwash for anyone to claim we are using the land titling programme as a campaign tool," he said.

The CS lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration for issuing more than 6,000 title deeds in 10 years.

Eugene said Trans Nzoia was one of the areas greatly affected by lack of land documents. He said landowners can now use the documents as collateral to get financial assistance.

Governor Khaemba added that some leaders curtailed his development projects by sponsoring court cases.  

He said his efforts to complete the county referral hospital were thwarted by politicians, who were motivated by "black hearts".   

"We were curtailed by more than five cases, which halted the construction of the hospital. The reasons were flimsy. This hospital will forever remain here to serve our people," he said. 

He said the 400-bed hospital will be offering specialised healthcare services to residents from more than five counties.

Trans Nzoia County Teaching and Referral Hospital is in the process of hiring 50 specialised doctors, more than 300 clinical officers, and 100 support staff.

The governor urged those eyeing his seat to conduct peaceful campaigns. He said the cosmopolitan county requires cohesion for development to thrive.

"I call on whoever will take over after my tenure to work with everyone to promote cohesion. I'm happy that no tension has been witnessed among communities residing in this region since I did not govern with an iron fist," Khaemba said.

Khaemba is backing Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa as his successor. They both belong to Ford Kenya party.

Eugene is backing former Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya, who is running on the DAP-K party ticket. The minister is the patron of the party.

Eugene has accused Ford Kenya of 'poor leadership' in Trans Nzoia.

Edited by A.N

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