In this interactive series, we invite readers to send in questions to selected public figures. This week, Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku responds to your questions.
1. Kitengela is growing faster with land being subdivided so fast to meet the demand of rising population. Your government seems to be playing catch up with provision of services to support the growth. This is one of the dustiest towns around with no known recreation facilities like public parks or stadiums, libraries and fire stations. What plan do you have for the town? David Maranga, Lang’ata
You are right, Kitengela’s population surge has outstripped its infrastructural system since it was just a trading centre. There is now great need to revamp its water and sewerage systems and the road network to accommodate the new population. We started by getting rid of illegal structures along the highway and this has decongested the town to some extent.
The World Bank has become a key partner in several projects such as the modern bus park and the GK Prison Road, which has 200 paved parking slots. We are building two bypasses to address traffic jams. They will start at EPZ, with one ending at Acacia while the other runs behind Kitengela Medical Centre to join the Nairobi-Namanga Road at Maasai Discovery area.
This financial year, we are tarmacking the 2.5km KCB-Oratta-Saitoti Hospital Road. On water, we understand the peoples’ suffering after the EPZ cut off supply. We are almost commissioning a direct line from Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company to supply water to 10,000 residents. We also have a plan for three mega dams in the county, one of which will be at Ololoitikoshi and will serve Kitengela.
2. What plans do you have for the recovery of grabbed public land in the county, among them being the huge parcel hived off the Bissil holding ground by an individual during the previous county administration? Patrick Tutui, Bissil
I am aware of the illegal occupation of the Bissil holding ground, not just by one individual, but several. We are determined to repossess all public land being used by private citizens. The DCI was informed of these illegalities as there was collusion with officers from Kajiado land registry and the district survey office. In fact, 12 officers at our land registry were recently transferred for several other transgressions.
3. Kajiado residents are often affected by perennial loss of livestock whenever there is drought. What solution can the county government offer to save farmers? David Kigo
During the past drought, quite a substantial amount of money was spent on relief food, fuel subsidies to community boreholes, and livestock feed supply. We must break this cycle of relief interventions. Our people only need enough livestock feed to fully empower them economically.
We have a hay banking project whose objective is to encourage livestock owners to grow and conserve fodder at the farm level. A number of farmers have so far been trained and some harvested. We have set aside 10,000 acres for hay production and conservation. We have told our people to discard the old way of herding livestock and fully go commercial.
4. How do the positions of Cabinet Secretary for Interior that you previously held and the current job compare? Douglas J. Bosire, Nairobi
Both play a critical role in driving policy only that as governor, you implement the policies you make. A governor’s jurisdiction is smaller than that of a CS but it has a more direct impact to lives of mwananchi. It is more fulfilling as I have a chance to understand how ordinary Kenyans live on a daily basis. It is quite gratifying to make transformative change which you have control of.
5. Recently, you advised land buyers in Kajiado to be cautious because some sub-divisions were done contrary to the law. What can the county government do to ensure those who have already bought such land are protected? Githuku Mungai, Nairobi
It is unfortunate that some investors continue to fall prey to unscrupulous land brokers. We must address all the illegal transactions some of which are done in collusion with government officers. There is no way the county government will sanitise an illegal land transaction. There is always someone answerable in case of an illegality. What we can do is to sensitise the public on due diligence before any land purchase. We are facilitating this by digitising all our land records to protect wananchi from being duped into buying the wrong parcels of land.
We now have a fully functional Geographic Information System (GIS) lab at the land department which provides real time authentic status of private, community and public land. We are also validating plots within all our urban centres to confirm their legal status and curb increasing fraud. We are almost starting implementing our Spatial Plan which sets aside land for specific uses.
6. How do you rate yourself in comparison with your colleagues in other counties in terms of development, job creation, fighting graft and provision of social amenities? Zephaniah Obaga
The best-placed person to rate me would be Kajiado residents who made me governor. However, several tangible things make Kajiado a county of many firsts. We were the first county to employ 600 ECD teachers on permanent and pensionable terms and give fortified porridge to all our ECD children. We are supporting 5,000 families (40,000 residents) get NHIF medical cover, we started a new commuter train service between Kajiado Town and the Nairobi-Mombasa highway; we begun training 1,000 youths on technical courses for employment and easier job placements in various sectors with 300 already admitted at Maasai Technical. We keep encouraging investors to set shop in Kajiado and work closely with them to employ locals. We are fighting corruption by automation of our revenue collection and sealing loopholes. At Sh170 million, our county recorded one of the highest increments in revenue collection in the last one year. I am the first governor in this term to publicly give a scorecard of his/her first year in office.
On provision of social amenities, we have revived construction of the stalled Ngong Stadium and we will build more stadiums such as Nakeel Grounds in Nkaimurunya ward.
7. What is the economic justification for constructing a sewerage system for Oloitokitok town while priority should have been given to bigger towns of Ongata Rongai, Ngong and Kitengela? Who is financing the project in Oloitokitok? Simon Munga, Loitokitok
This is a national government project through Athi Water Services Board. The money available could only handle Oloitokitok town. It is 20 percent done. We have a Sh800 million sewerage project at Kiserian, which is 40 per cent done. Feasibility study and design for Kitengela sewerage system is now complete and we are collaborating with the national government and an Italian agency to ensure the works begin soon.
8. Kajiado County lies in a tourist circuit likely to attract huge resident tourist numbers from Nairobi. Located along the Tsavo, Amboseli and Maasai Mara National parks, the county could be the Amsterdam of Africa if proper zoning of the region lying along this circuit is done for exclusive use for tourism development such as hotels, amusement parks and holiday homes. The region between Amboseli National Park and Namanga town is very rich and opening the door to investors could easily transform the county’s economic fortunes through tourism investments. Why has the county failed to zone this area and invite investors to take advantage of the resources? Julius Nyagah, South Africa
Indeed, Kajiado has some of the most spectacular sceneries and geographically unique landscapes in Africa. We host almost the entire big five. We have internationally recognised bird breeding sites, the Magadi hot springs, and many more. We have identified community conservancies such as in Mailua, which are “green fields” with a view to develop them into viable ventures. We have produced a tourism documentary that showcases our touristic sites and activities. We have also published a booklet on “25 Things to Do while in Kajiado”. We shall pitch our tourism potential in the forthcoming Tourism Investment Forum in October.
9. Your time at the helm of the Interior ministry was seen as the worst. What would you say was the problem and do you agree with the suggestion that you were not qualified to hold the position of Cabinet Secretary for Interior? Julia Wekesa, Busia
The President could not have appointed me if I was not qualified. I was in charge of the security docket at a time when the world, not just Kenya, was bleeding from acts of terrorism. This threat continues to worry the world to date.
A few days ago, the US and the UK signed security pacts related to terrorism. The challenge of terrorism is so monumental that no single country can be blamed for it. I am happy at the reforms I championed which are bearing fruits long after I left. Among these are the Nyumba Kumi Initiative, police reforms and vetting, police mobility by mass purchase of vehicles and installation of command control systems. I have no regrets at my Harambee House stay.
10. During your campaigns in Ongata Rongai, you promised good roads but nothing has happened this far. Gataka Road has not even been graded let alone tarmacking it to ease traffic on Magadi Road. Why those just empty promises? Wachira Patrick, Ongata Rongai
We have already tarmacked Market Road in Ongata Rongai and fast-tracked the beginning of tarmacking of Gataka Road. The contractor is already mobilising. The tarmacking of the Ngong — Ewuaso-Suswa troad was recently launched by the Deputy President. The Bomas-Ongata Rongai-Kiserian-Kona Baridi will be dualed soon.
11. Ngong town is a beautiful, iconic place in Kajiado County. Yet in the middle of the town is a huge illegal dumpsite that spews toxic smoke and runoff. What are you doing to tackle this issue? Edward Manqa, Ngong town
The Sh2.1 billion needed for this project is available. The feasibility study is complete and we shall hold a public/stakeholder meeting with UN Habitat and the Italian donor on September 13. This eyesore will soon be gone.
12. The peer learning forum in Makueni County this week was a pacesetter in enriching devolution. Sir, which area of focus or excellence would you wish to showcase in future for your colleagues to benchmark on? Komen Moris, Eldoret
The Makueni experience has taught us about the centrality of public participation in development. Kajiado is generally a livestock county. I look forward to perfect the Mbuzi Moja Afya Bora NHIF medical coverage, hay banking that will commercialise livestock farming, set the trend in skills training for youths and irrigation for food security.
13. What investment opportunities are there for the youth in your county? Maina Gachanjah, Ongata Rongai
The construction, hospitality, agribusiness, transport, beef value addition and small-scale trading have unlimited opportunities in the county. Investors coming to Kajiado get the challenge of skilled manpower. We have undertaken to train 4,000 youth on technical skills in the next four years to drive the manufacturing sector.
14. I am a resident of Kitengela Division of Kajiado County. I am aggrieved by the delay occasioned by County Government of Kajiado in transferring plot no. 409/b77 (res) at Noonkopir Trading Centre to me despite the confirmed court grant of letters of administration issued on February 5, 2013 by the Kajiado Law Court. Further the, National Land Commission (Kajiado) via their resolution of March 9, 2016 reiterated that the plot be transferred to surviving spouse. Why has Kajiado County Government failed to act on the letters of administration and National Land Commission resolution to transfer the said plot to the said me in absence of any substantive written response or legal objection from any person or persons? Ronald Kimatu Ngati, husband of allottee, the late Rose Munyiva Nzioka
Sorry Ronald for the pain of losing your wife, Rose. You are aware this property was also being claimed by her other dependents. I wish to remind you this matter is before the Kajiado County Land Dispute Resolution Committee. They wish to authenticate the documents related to this property. Let us wait for their verdict. I can assure you it will be a fair ruling both for yourself, and the other dependents.