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January 19, 2019

My one year in office is already a success despite hurdles — Waiguru

Governor Anne Waiguru and deputy governor Peter Ndambiri during launch of the Wezesha Mama programme at Kerugoya County Hospital in April /COURTESY
Governor Anne Waiguru and deputy governor Peter Ndambiri during launch of the Wezesha Mama programme at Kerugoya County Hospital in April /COURTESY

Governor Anne Waiguru on Friday said she has transformed Kirinyaga for the better, barely a year after taking office.

She said she has made great strides in implementing her plan — the Kirinyaga Rising Agenda. The county is on an upward trajectory, she said in a statement, listing her achievements.

Waiguru said ongoing projects will boost development and improve livelihoods and living standards.

“Our commitment since taking office has been to fulfil the promises we made to the people of Kirinyaga by delivering on our mandate,” she said. “Through our Mountain Cities Blueprint, we seek to improve health, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, manufacturing, trade and investment, and empower men, women and the youth to be self-sustaining.” 

On Thursday, Waiguru dismissed Ipsos opinion poll that said she is perceived as the second-most corrupt politician after DP William Ruto. She said her opponents and detractors sponsored the poll. The pair has blamed the polls on those unhappy with their “development successes”.

Waiguru said she is focussed on delivering on her promises despite numerous problems. 

“Despite teething challenges in the initial stages of our administration, we’ve achieved a transformative base that is bound to shift the development status of Kirinyaga. It has been a tremendous journey,” she said.

Health Scorecard

Waiguru cited extensive health reforms. She said there are more drugs in hospitals, CT scan blocks, a kitchen and laundry area, a parking lot, an eye clinic at Kerugoya Hospital and modernisation of the hospital’s outpatient department.

She said the county is constructing a male ward in Baricho, a maternity ward in South Ngariama, a mother and child ward at Sagana and Kianyaga hospitals and an X-ray centre at Sagana Hospital. The county is also expanding the maternity ward at Kimbimbi Hospital.

Through the Linda Mama registration campaign, 6,000 women can access free prenatal and postnatal care.

“Our aim is to improve health standards and make healthcare accessible to all,” the vice chairman of the Council of Governors said.

She has started water projects in Murinduko and Riagicheru, and built 10 eco-toilets in Kutus, Makutano, Kianyaga, Kagio, Wang’uru and Kiamutugu. Sanitation and primary healthcare have been improved. 

Waiguru said the county has graded 130km roads and murramed another 30km. Some 217km roads will be graded and murramed, she said.

Trade and farming

The county is building parking lots and six markets in Kiamutugu, Wang’uru, Makutano, Kutus, and two markets in Kagio. It has installed streetlights in Kutus, Baricho and Makutano and plans to extend the project to other areas.

Waiguru said she has resolved a longstanding tussle over water distribution in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. The construction of Thiba Dam will also improve agriculture and allow farmers to grow rice twice in a year so they can increase yield.

The county has eliminated the Quelea bird menace at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. This has led to increased rice production and improved milk preservation. 

Three milk coolers have been received from the national government and 30 more are on the way, the governor said.

Waiguru said she is negotiating with international coffee buyers to find new, better-paying markets that would improve farmers’ profits.

“There’s a mistaken notion peddled by a small clique of politicians that Waiguru is opposed to processing Kenyan coffee. That’s untrue. What I’m against is the rushed and ill-advised push to ban export of raw coffee when we have no ready local markets for processed coffee,” she said.

The county chief urged caution in addressing the coffee crisis to ensure farmers “don’t suffer at the altar of political expediency”. 

Women, youth empowerment

The Wezesha Mama programme, a hospital linen production project launched early this year, has created jobs for women. The forthcoming Wezesha Vijana programme will be an avenue for youth empowerment and job creation, she said.

Waiguru also cited increased bursary allocation to Sh70 million, construction of a dormitory at Nyangati Polytechnic and a playground at Thaita Primary School.

Waiguru said she has distributed 350,000 seedlings to restore Kirinyaga forests. She said environmental conservation is critical.

“Ultimately, we should change our style of politics — from empty rhetoric to politics of development,” she said. The focus is to deliver on promises and improve standards of living, Waiguru said.

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