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September 19, 2017


Deputy speaking Joyce Laboso during the opening of the 11th parliament. Photo/Monicah Mwangi
Deputy speaking Joyce Laboso during the opening of the 11th parliament. Photo/Monicah Mwangi

In the frank engagements I have had with the residents of Bomet county in the past several months, it is clear that people are yearning for fair opportunities to improve their lives and get ahead.

No one wants undue advantage, favours or handouts, they understand these are not sustainable and do not deliver any progress in their lives and their families'.

I am often touched when I see and hear stories of my fellow women who brave the dust and searing sun to transport 30 litres of water uphill, in some cases for kilometres.

They are the economic backbone of their communities and they know that they are – most of the time - the difference between a meal on the table and a family sleeping hungry.

I have also heard from fathers and guardians who bear the indignity of managing with only one pair of trousers to save money for their children’s college or high school tuition.

Equally heartbreaking are the stories of our young people—educated and vulnerable, disappointed and despondent. Some have a diploma or a certificate but they cannot access gainful employment.

And then there are other young people who told me they simply want apprenticeship, mentorship or little capital to start businesses or bursary to go back to school. Instead, they are paid by county overlords to advance political interests.

They expect the government to do more to respond to their needs, but know that the government cannot solve all their problems.

Leaders must resist the push to serve our personal ambitions and egos at the expense of the wishes of the people we serve.

It is pointless to develop brilliant top-down policies that look smart on paper but fail to address the people's challenges.

As the Jubilee Party governor candidate for Bomet, I have made it my commitment to listen to the people and work on a plan that helps to positively transform lives.

The manifesto I launched this week is a product of my engagement with the people.

In spite of most parts of the county being arable and suitable for crop and livestock production, the majority of people face economic hardship.

The outgoing county government has failed to leverage the hard work of our productive land and hardworking people to initiate life-changing programmes.

Farmers incur losses because of delayed delivery of perishable produce to markets because of poor road networks.

Schools, towns and health centres cannot function effectively without clean water.

These issues may seen so basic, but without the commitment by the county government – working with national state agencies – residents will always be under the mercies of county leaders.

There is no overemphasising that county governments are important institutions in lifting our people out of poverty and despair.

It is incumbent upon all those seeking to serve our people in leadership positions to put the interests of the people first.

This will involve working with all leaders from national to the local level, however bitterly we disagree on issues.

As President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the launch of my manifesto, communities don’t care about various levels of government. I could not agree more. People expect services. Period.

The Jubilee government has shown that it is committed to supporting the county government to succeed. I am keen on building a harmonious relationship with the national government and state agencies to serve and support our people better.

For those of us who are seeking positions in the counties, we must prudently utilise public taxes on meaningful programmes that deliver economic opportunities.

We must also be ready for scrutiny and accountability.

Laboso is the Jubilee Party governor candidate for Bomet

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