The president visits Turkana

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The 5th president of Kenya, Dr. William Samoei Ruto’s visit to Turkana County on the 4th of November, 2022 marked his first trip as the president of the republic of Kenya to the County. This comes as the county struggles with the devastating drought situation that has not only affected the County but also other 23 counties. Turkana has recently experienced a continued insecurity issue that has raised a lot of concerns to the residents and other stakeholders. During his address, the president termed the drought as the worst in 40 years and promised the residents of more support to those affected.

H.E President William Samoei Ruto visit to Nakaalei residents

Speaking during distribution of relief food and the launch of livestock offtake program in Nakaalei, Kalapata Ward and later to Baringo, the President said that he was ready to work with development partners and the County Government for additional support to the residents so as to cushion residents against the drought by working together for the benefit of the Turkana people.

 “I agree with your Governor that it is time to work for the residents and focus on issues of development for citizens of Kenya. We are committed to work together with the County Government to address critical issues including drought,” the President said.

The President appreciated support from development partners and announced that they had contributed Sh20billion and the government had committed a further Sh4.5billion for relief efforts. He said that the severity of the crisis called for joint response from all stakeholders, by pooling resources and creating synergy to avail food, medicine and water to avoid death of any citizen due to the drought.

Relief aid flagged to cushion the drought striken Turkana residents

On the long-term plan, the President pledged to revive the Lowaat dam project whose construction  is scheduled to start on February, and develop groundwater resources in Turkana which will boost food production. He added that the government will develop the Lotikipi aquifer through a public-private-partnership model to produce food through irrigation but asked the County Government and leaders to allocate between five hundred to one million acres of land specifically  for irrigation.

“Turkana can develop food to meet local demand and export surplus, which will earn the country revenue that would be reinvested to develop in our economy. We don’t want Turkana to be known for hunger but develop the region and build wealth, which is only possible if we work together,” he added

On livestock development, the president admitted that Turkana county had the highest population of livestock and promised to invest in it, grow its potential and invest in agro processing to eradicate poverty.

On insecurity, the President was very concerned and promised to deal with the culprits and perpetrators with a lot of seriousness. He warned that the bandits  terrorizing most  parts of Turkana East and South were on notice, and said that the era of banditry terror will end with the government ready to use all means to solve insecurity situation. He insisted that the issue of cattle rustling that was claiming innocent lives and resulted to children dropping out of schools must come to an end and that there was no mercy on that. He also announced that heads of security had been instructed to deploy NPRs in Turkana South and Turkana East and mentioned and stated he was planning to set up military bases in different parts of Turkana South and East as well as establishment of a shared airport with the army to bolster the efforts that would make a peaceful Turkana.

Governor Lomorukai, who spoke on behalf of Turkana leaders, assured the president of Turkana leaders readiness to work with him for the success of the National Government agenda which he said will also benefit residents of Turkana. He also appreciated the president for the relief support, comprising of relief food and livestock offtake which the head of state had launched and appealed to the President for more relief food as the crisis was severe, with close to 800,000 residents affected.

H.E Jeremiah Lomorukai speaking on behalf of the Turkana leaders

He also expressed his optimism that the President will end the banditry menace and assured him that the County Government will continue implementing peace programs with neighboring communities and in the cross-border regions. During the presidential visit, other leaders that shared the podium were, the Cabinet Secretaries Rebecca Miano (East African Community, Arid and Semi Arid Lands and Regional Development) and Florence Bore (Labour); CEO Kenya Red Cross Dr. Asha Mohammed and UN Resident Coordinator Stephen Jackson and that leaders that accompanied the Governor in welcoming the president include Deputy Governor Dr. John Erus, Senator James Lomenen, MPs Ariko Namoit (Turkana South), Emathe Namuar (Turkana Central), Nicholas Ngikor (Turkana East), Protus Akuja (Loima), Cecelia Ng’itit (Woman Rep) and Ekuwom Nabuin (Turkana North); Speaker of the County Assembly Christopher Nakuleu, among others.

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