Deputy President William Ruto has urged counties to join hands and form economic blocs in order to promote development in their regions.
Mr Ruto, who is also the chairman of the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC), said the blocs will help in building synergies that will enable development.
Speaking on Wednesday in Tharaka-Nithi County when he opened a four-day Uragate Cultural Festival and Exhibition, Mr Ruto said without such a platform, counties may not be able to achieve much because some developments could only be achieved through regional blocs.
“It is only through economic blocs that counties will achieve development and promote the living standards of the rural population,” said Mr Ruto.
He said the main objective of devolution is to promote the living standards of the people in the villages, adding that the national government is ready to support the regional blocs.
Governors present at the function also supported formation of the economic blocs, noting that they will help counties achieve development. They were Joseph Nanok of Turkana, who is also the chairman of the Council of Governors, Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka-Nithi), Martin Wambora (Embu), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua) and Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia).
Mr Nanok said counties are the engines of development in the villages and if a number of them come together with a common focus they will achieve a lot.
Mr Wambora said he will join hands with his Tharaka-Nithi counterpart in order to mine copper and iron ore which are found in large quantities in the region.
“We have a lot of copper and iron ore deposits running across Tharaka-Nithi and Embu counties that could greatly promote the economies of the counties if mined,” said Mr Wambora.
The Deputy President lauded counties and communities that are promoting positive traditions and cultures, noting that national government will set aside Sh10 million for face-lifting of the Uragate Cultural Centre.
He said culture is wealth and there is need to preserve it provided it is not retrogressive.
“Our communities have rich cultures and it is good to preserve the positive ones,” he said.
Mr Njuki and Mr Nanok said they will continue to promote culture by organising cultural festivals in their counties every year and challenged other counties to follow suit.
“This being our third edition of Uragate Tharaka Cultural Festival and Exhibition, I will continue to work with other stakeholders to organise it every year,” said Mr Njuki.
The governor, together with MPs Kareke Mbiuki (Maara), Gitonga Murugara (Tharaka) and Tharaka-Nithi Woman Rep Beatrice Nkatha vowed to support Mr Ruto for the presidency in 2022 and called on the region to do the same.
Mr Mbiuki said they will support Deputy President unconditionally but urged him to pick Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as his running mate, sentiments which were echoed by Ms Nkatha and Mr Murugara.
Governor Wambora said unlike those arguing that they do not have a debt to pay Mr Ruto, his county has and will pay by voting for him in 2022.
“We have a debt and we will pay you in 2022,” he said.
Mr Njuki said the region will give Mr Ruto total support terming him as a development oriented leader.
But the Deputy President avoided commenting on the political sentiments and concentrated on development issues, noting that his main agenda was working towards achieving the Big Four Agenda and asked leaders to support the idea.