REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR FRANCIS KIMEMIA, E.G.H, C.B.S DURING DEDICATION AND FLAGGING OFF OF THE COUNTY ROADS CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT, PLANT AND MACHINERIES AT OL’ KALOU STADIUM ON WEDNESDAY, 27TH, MAY 2020
The Deputy Governor;
The County Commissioner;
The Honourable Speaker;
Members of the County Executive Committee;
The Chairman and Members of the County Public Service Board;
The Chairman and Members of the Ol’Kalou Municipality Board;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On Monday, 21st August, 2017, I stood before you in this very stadium during my inauguration as your Governor and I pledged to comprehensively fulfill all the pillars of my manifesto. That warm August afternoon, I committed myself before you that I would ensure that the over 7,450 kilometers of the county’s gravel and earth roads (out of which less than 1,500 kms were of motorable standards) was improved and also lobby for the 425km earmarked for improvement to bitumen standards as promised by H.E the President while ensuring maintenance of the existing 224km of tarmacked roads. I, in particular, remember promising to open up such landlocked areas as Geta, Gacuha, Karampton, Uruko, Mirangine, Kibendera, Makara, Kanjuiri, Githabai, Leleshwa and Githioro even as we reclaimed road reserves.
I am pleased that, less than three years down the line, today, over half of these roads have been opened up and are routinely maintained. Of greater joy to me is that today, we are gathered here again, in this very stadium, for the dedication of the county roads construction equipment, plant and machineries. Truly, due to God’s favor, the answer to our roads problem has been found. What was our plan, and ridiculed by some as a mirage, is now a reality! The Nyandarua County Rural Roads Construction Program has taken shape! This transformative initiative, one of the largest single investments in any County will revolutionize roads construction and maintenance in our great County.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
At KShs. 500 million, this is one of the biggest single investments by any County Government in Kenya since devolution. For the last seven (7) years of Devolution, the County Government of Nyandarua constructed an average of 200 kilometers of roads annually translating to a partly 1,000 Kilometers since inception of devolution. At this rate, it would take almost 40 years to do the 7,450 kilometers of the county’s gravel and earth roads in the whole County. Sadly, most of these roads didn’t last long for various reasons:
i. Poor workmanship due the high cost of hiring equipment that deterred Contractors from undertaking quality works;
ii. Budgetary constraints from the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), coupled with competing interests from the other key sectors notably Health and Early Childhood Education; and,
iii. The number and demand for new access roads to open up some of the most inaccessible localities in our County; a challenge which still persists to this day;
iv. High construction cost per kilometer due to partly the topography that is hilly and water logged, clay soils, and narrow roads that were serving few people per Kilometre Squared (area).
Today, with the increase in population and land sub-division, wider roads, and heavy traffic means that the old conventional ways of addressing the questions of rural connectivity are not sufficient. New and innovative ways must be sought and implemented.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Program we dedicate today has five (5) Clusters (each constituting five (5) Wards). Each Cluster unit has an excavator, a grader, a compactor, three (3) trucks, a service van and fuel bowser. Each of these cluster machines are capable of doing one kilometer per day resulting to 20-25 Kms per month per cluster – translating to 100-125 KMs across the five (5) Clusters; with 100 Kms on the lower side per month. The County can achieve 800 – 1000 Kilometers of all-weather roads per year. It will therefore take three (3) years to complete the three thousand (3000) Kilometers that the County so dearly needs which will make Nyandarua an all-weather roads County – this is no mean achievement.
The five Cluster Units will be supported by a Central County Operational Committee that constitutes of the County Executive Committee Members for Infrastructure and Finance Departments. The Central Team shall be the Organ that ensures financial and quality monitoring systems are followed, and on timely basis.
These equipment, plant and machinery that we have dedicated today will also promote access to economic and social services. The multiplier effect of this intervention will generate increased agricultural incomes for our farmers, generate productive employment opportunities and contribute to not only improved living standards but poverty reduction among our people. It is against this background that my Government designed this massive rural roads program with a set target of achieving all-weather road access in every village and habitat within the next three (3) years.
The equipment will also be used to improve water access to our county residents. This will be done through using the equipment and the machinery for desilting and rehabilitation of our dams and construction of earth dams.
My fellow County men and women, my vision for the roads sector is that it is possible that in the near future, we shall start tarmacking roads in the County by procuring additional equipment such as Pavers and Concrete Mixing Plant. I am hopeful that we as a people can do all it takes to see that we achieve what we have always desired – connectivity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The County Rural Roads Construction Programme adopts a bottom-up concept and approach where the local residents and their leaders identify critical roads, every year, for construction. The identified roads will thereof form a Cluster Master Plan across the five (5) Wards that have been grouped together. A Cluster Dedicated Implementation Unit is established through a Policy that was approved by the County Assembly.
Subsequently, the roads so identified will form a Work Plan that will be executed all-year-round until 100% connectivity is achieved.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The program has been mapped to ensure a continuous work on the ground with minimum disruptions. I have therefore directed that the Department of Roads to ensure that Preventive Maintenance Protocols are in built in the way the machines are operated in the field. Simple and regular maintenance of those machines must be done every day by the Operator. Major Maintenance must be contracted from the Original Equipment Supplier to ensure that this investment is maintained for the long haul.
Vices such as fuel pilferage, theft of spare parts and reckless handling of the equipment shall not be entertained.
Work Plans must be agreed with all the stakeholders but maintain flexibility for changes in case of an emergency. Such deviations from the Work Plan must be discussed and approved as per the Operational Manual. Public Participation in drafting the Master Plan for roads in every Ward must be observed as per the approved Policy and the Constitution.
My fellow County men and women, the success of this program is based on self-discipline and passion to deliver the roads to the people of Nyandarua. As we dedicate these machines to move and work in the your home villages – to open up new roads, maintain old ones and create unprecedented connectivity, I ask you to keep your eyes open and ensure that these machines deliver the much desired value to each one of us.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am pleased to inform you that my Government will hire equipment operators from within Nyandarua County. However, experienced operators from the National government and other State organs will be engaged during this transition to train local staff on the new machinery and to certify local operators. A works officer will be permanently stationed in each construction unit. Monitoring and supervision by the Department of Transport, Energy and Public Works, the Service Delivery Unit and management committee including area MCAs. They will be backed by a Cabinet committee to manage the plant and equipment. I assure you all that there is synergy and teamwork in my Cabinet for this endeavor.
Materials will be sourced from the nearest approved quarry. 75 quarries have already been approved and the process of testing materials from other quarries is ongoing. On the other hand, fuel will be managed through a fuel-card system. The fuel bowser is a mobile petrol station to take fuel to heavy plants like excavators and graders in the field. A fully-equipped workshop will be stablished to maintain the machinery.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
My Government is grateful for the support residents and all actors have shown towards this programme so far, including contractors whose pending bills were verified and paid after many years of waiting. The bills, majority of them under Financial Year 2014/2015, were jointly verified and certified by my Government and the Office of the Auditor General in a process which sought to authenticate genuine claims. It remains my intention to ensure that all contractors are paid their legitimate claims.
The function of any Government is to ensure that private enterprise thrives hand-in-hand with Government support. I am aware that most of our contractors do not have machinery and rely on Government agencies, including the National Youth Service and Mechanical Transport Fund. I consider it a blessing to have contractors in our County. Our roads construction programme is our Marshal Plan to ensure that we bridge gaps which our meager resources and private capacity gaps could address. Accordingly, I am pleased to inform you that during a consultation I held with them last week, the contractors committed to supplement our County Rural Roads Construction Programme. I assure ALL contractors here today that my Government will honor the private sector’s share of roads to be constructed by external actors. For a start, there is need for an extra 15 trucks, which will be hired from local contractors.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We did not get here by accident. The machinery have been bought through funds won by my Government under the Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP), which is a Government of Kenya Program for Results (PforR) supported by the World Bank, that strengthens the capacity of counties to manage resources and improve service delivery. Under the program, my administration has focused on enhancing existing County systems and financing for capacity building, thereby reinforcing His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta’s own program and system strengthening initiatives.
In the first assessment conducted after my government came into office, Nyandarua emerged second among the 13 counties that qualified then for Level II funding. As a result, it was awarded KShs. 282.6 million. In the year that followed, the 2018 assessment, our County was again ranked position one among all other counties and was rewarded with KShs. 254 million. I am pleased to inform you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that in the World Bank Assessment done in September last year, our great County of Nyandarua was again ranked number one countrywide, leading our nation’s other 46 devolved units. As a result, we have been awarded Ksh 184,795,683.
My cabinet has proposed that the extra money we won as a result of our excellent performance in this programme be utilized to put up a modern JM Kariuki Hospital Complex. This will be one of the county flagship projects- the other flagship projects that my government will implement in the next financial year include a Potato and Vegetable Processing Plant, full upgrade of Ol Kalou Stadium and construction of a Dairy Processing Plant.
We can all anticipate that the impact of the projects that have benefited from the KDSP funds will ultimately be large across our County. I thank all Members of the County Executive Committee, Chief Officers and County Government staff members who have made this possible.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In conclusion, dedicating these machines is not an end to itself. It is the beginning of a journey which will see us upgrade our roads to even higher standards by incorporating other machines which can enable tarmacking of the key roads and deployment of modern roads’ construction technologies. It is about creating connectivity which improves our living standards, and making our County even more competitive.
Please join me as we officially dedicate these machines and the overall program.
God bless Nyandarua, and God bless Kenya.
It is now my pleasure to officially launch the County Equipment, Plant and Machinery Programme as dedicated today.