INAUGURAL SPEECH OF

HON. DR. MOHAMED ABDI KUTI

DURING THE OCCASION OF  SWEARING-IN CEREMONY

VENUE: ISIOLO STADIUM

DATE: 23RD AUGUST 2017

 

The honorable people ofIsiolo County,

Hon. AdanDuale, Leader of Majority, National Assembly,

Council of Governor’s chair, H.E JosphatKoliNanok

Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretary’s present

Fellow elected leaders of the County Assembly, National Assembly and the Senate,

Hon Judge,Magistrate,

The Clergy and Imam’s,

County Commissioner of Isiolo,

Officers drawn from both the National and County Governments,

Businessmen and women,

Members of the Press,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon,

Let me start by thanking you very sincerely for gracing us with your presence on this historical day. Your good gesture cannot be taken for granted.

I am honored and humbled to stand here before you today on this auspicious occasion. I ask you to share with me the majesty of this moment. Each moment in history is a fleeting time, precious and unique. But some stand out as moments of beginning, in which courses are set, that shape decades to come.This is such a moment. This moment is yours. This is your day. This is your celebration. The oath of office I have taken today is an oath of allegiance to all Isiolo people. I want to sincerely thank the assumption of office committee and everyone else that has made this transition as smooth as possible.

My people,

It’s an enormous honor to be elected as your Governor. I’m humbled by the size of the vote that has been cast for me. On the same note,I am profoundly aware of the responsibility you citizens have conferred on me. I take this duty very seriously.For any government, at any level, to create conditions for sustained progress towards prosperity for all, requires three pre-conditions:  The Rule of Law; a culture of accountability, (in which all members of society take their responsibilities seriously), and a capable government that undertakes its duties efficiently, honestly, and cost-effectively. These are the three things that will form the foundation of my administration.

The work of building unstoppable momentum towards a highly skilled, innovation driven, resource efficient, connected, and high opportunity society for all begins now. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.  They are serious and they are many.  They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.  But they will be met.  Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of making Isiolo great.

To my worthy competitor’s I want to extend to you the olive branch of political reconciliation so that we can move Isiolo forward. The election period is over and it is time to put the heat and dust behind us. Let us accept the verdict of the people with generosity of spirit and work constructively with the government to continue to build our county. I actually offer to meet with all of you as soon as possible so that we can start to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest through which we just passed. Remember that elections are a means, not an end, and the goal of each of us was to improve the lives of Isiolo people, no matter who they voted for.I promise to build alliance with everyone whether we were on the same political camp or not. Ours is an “alliance of hope” that will lead us to the future. What should bond us together is the power of reconciliation, made possible through the spirit of tolerance.

To our elected leaders both at the national and county level allow me to congratulate you for your victory and the confidence the people of Isiolo have shown in you. I am alive to the fact that you are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, representation and oversight and I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked (Isiolo County). Your role in facilitating our development agenda cannot be underestimated. My reform agenda can’t be realized without your support and involvement. In particular our county assembly will be called upon now and again to ensure that our development plans are informed by the real priorities on the ground; to adopt requisite legislation and policies, approve budget allocations, and exercise oversight over expenditures. I want to assure you of my cooperation and look forward to harmonious working relations with you all.

To the national government and in particular the county commissioner I look forward to an environment inwhich we  support one another harmoniously, with enough trust and with little wasted effort.

You will find in me a Governor who will uphold the principles of consultation and cooperation as enshrined in our constitution.

I am of the firm belief that we can soar to great heights if we build partnerships with the national government, with other counties and with various non-state actors.

To the majestic people of Isiolo this is your government. It will be an all inclusive government – the government for all. Your dreams, your hopes, your goals are going to be the dreams, the hopes, and the goals of my administration. This government will listen to you. We will strive to listen in new ways to the voices that have despaired of being heard. Those who have been left out, we will bring them in, those left behind, we will help them to catch up. I am aware the public expectation of this administration is exponentially high because of pressure of political competition but I promise to manage it as fairly as is humanly possible. As I embark on forming my government in the coming days I undertake to balance all interests but professionalism and meritocracy will be the basis upon which my team will be formed. Please understand that we can directly employ only a few people but you don’t have to be employed directly to benefit from this government. A lot of other opportunities will be availed to everyone so that each of us will feel to be part and parcel of this government.

Fellow citizens

Before I spell out my development agenda I want to say something about the drought situation in our county. The ravages of drought and hunger across many parts of the county can only get worse. Yet this is a situation that proper advance planning could have mitigated. For most of our people, staying for days without food has become almost normal. Some of the residents have been forced to migrate with their livestock to neighboring counties in search of water and pasture. Livestock deaths have also been reported in someareas. Water scarcity has compounded the situation with residents being forced to walk long distances in search of the rare commodity.Indeed, the ravages of unrelenting drought and hunger are palpable across the County. My first priority will be to come up with mitigation measures against this menace with particular emphasis on relief food, water tracking,water treatment chemicals, fast moving spare parts to drought contingency boreholes, fuel subsidy, water for schools and health facilities, food for fees, supplementary feeding program for children and emergency health programs. I call upon the County steering Group to put together an emergency response plan with immediate effect. The county government will lead these mitigation efforts but I call upon the national government and our development partners to rise to the occasion and stand counted at this critical time of need.

Ladies and gentlemen

As I move on to my development agenda I want to make it clear from the onset that our overriding goal as stated in my manifesto is the economic inclusion of all. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We have great plans. We will build health facilities, water infrastructure, livestock markets, irrigation schemes, Early childhood centers, polytechnics industrial parks and roads that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We shall wield technology’s wonders to raise our service delivery standards and lower the   cost of government.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our development plans.  All this we can do.  All this we will do.

As envisaged in my manifesto I will spearhead public sector management reforms. We will Institutionalize result based management, inculcating the culture of Meritocracy, Professionalism, Courtesy and Competence and by Rationalizing staff to align skills and competencies to the job; Enhancing Ethics, Integrity and Accountability; improve  Service Delivery Standards; and undertake comprehensive institutional reforms aimed at bringing services closer to the people. Going forward, people in Kinna, Garbatula, Sericho, Merti, Bulesa, Oldonyiro, Ngaremaraand indeed all other parts of the county will feel their government and see it working at its best. We shall diligently endeavor to work towards fulfilling the promises we gave during the campaign period. To this end I will establish a Governor’s Delivery Unit(GDU) that will be mandated to track and report on progress of the implementation of my manifesto

We will also address the twin issues of revenue enhancement and human capital development with the zeal that we have shown during our campaigns. We will improve the efficiency of our revenue collection system and stop theft and pilferage of our local revenues. We will lobby for more funding through national government projects and we will also improve donor aid effectiveness. Further we shall prioritize skills development as a key strategy for economic competitiveness and growth. We will also exploit our natural resources on the principles of economic viability, social acceptability and environmental sustainability.

The health, water, roads and food security agenda for our people remains very dear to me. The team members in these critical sectors must be prepared to get out of their comfort zone and go the extra mile. We must reverse the worrying statistics. We owe it to our people to do that. It’s our solemn duty. Our women will not die while bringing forth life; our children must celebrate their fifth birthday without any threat from preventable diseases;

Modogashe people must get water and so should all other areas that are thirsty; our livestock herders and small scale farmer’s must get value for money for their products. We will operationalize the abattoir as promised in our manifesto

Comrades,

Our reconstruction agenda of catalyzing democratic governance to accelerate economic growth starts today and now. We willimmediately embark on developing the 2ndCounty Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) and sectorial plans that will translate into sustained economic growth, wealth creation and poverty reduction, and a broadimprovement in the well-being of our people. We will harness the economic opportunities provided by LAPSSET and other vision 2030 projects including the International Airport, The resort city and the abattoir.

We shall also create a friendly and affordable environment for investment and doing business in Isiolo. We are strategically placed at the gateway to the Northern Frontier Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) regions of our beloved country Kenya. This in itself is a great opportunity and we will use it to our advantage. Our greatest strength lies in our diversity and rich culture that emanates from our communities.

We are mainly composed of the Borana, Meru,Somali,Samburu, and Turkana. All the remaining tribes of Kenya also have a representation in our county. These communities bring to the table a variety of strengths which when well-harnessed, is capable of helping us soar to the skies.

Further we will narrow inequality through employment, empowerment and improving access, affordability and quality of social services targeting the poor, marginalized and vulnerable groups. We will also facilitate the mainstreaming of the needs and concerns of women and girls in all sectors ofdevelopment initiatives and ensure that they participate and benefit from the developmentprocess. To this end we will strengthen women’s access to resources and opportunities that will allow them to share more broadly in the benefits of economic growth. My Governmentalso acknowledges the potential of ICT in driving the economy and will embark on several transformative ICTinitiatives. We will leverage ICT to substantially improve public service delivery.

Brothers and sisters,

I  believe that  it is an economic and moral imperative to create new opportunities for our young people – many of whom are eager to engage and take on new challenges, but haven’t yet been able to figure out how. In an effort to inspire short- and long-term change, we will work harder and smarter than ever to offer meaningful programs and ensure a smooth integration and mainstreaming of youth in our development plans. I see the hope of tomorrow in our youth of today.

I know Isiolo’syouth. I believe in them.To our youth in the informal sectors of

jua kali, hawkers, taxi and town transport, bodaboda, and small scale traders

I want to assure you of our commitment to make your lives better.

.Fellow county men and women,

Throughout the campaign period I have preached the ideals of open governance. As promised we will provide you with the opportunities to engage in governance processes. We shall strengthen civic engagement in policy and planning and in building responsive and capable institutions. My government will provide adequate space for the people to decide on how they want to be governed. However as we endeavor to offer more opportunity to all, we will also demand more responsibility from all. Let us all take more responsibility not only for ourselves and our families but for our communities and our county.The dividend we will derive from this will be a just and peaceful society where we will celebrate our diversity and live in harmony.  We must promote peace building and reconciliation at all times to ensure sustained peace within the county.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I can’t end my speech without saying something about what we are taking over. From the briefings that I got from the assumption of office committee, We are taking over a county with a huge liability in form of pending bills (about 644m), a county reeling under a huge wage bill burden of 1.34b annually, a county whose assets have not been properly managed, a county where the staff morale is at all time low, a county with dwindling revenue base, a county where the existing social and physical infrastructure are dilapidated and a county whose systems and procedures are incoherent. We are not lamenting but must let you know because we have promised to be open and transparent. We will definitely turn around this state of affairs but in the meantime I give the following directives:

1.     Financial operations relating to pending bills is suspended until we carry out a comprehensive forensic auditthrough a reputable financial audit firm

2.     All county staffs are directed to report to their stationsand serve our citizens as we embark on a deliberate effort to address issues that are affecting them. The official working hours must be observed at all times

3.     The department of  Public Service in collaboration with the Public Service Board prepares a comprehensive report on staff establishment detailing the existing capacities as well as capacity gaps in every department.

In conclusion

I want to say that there is much for us to do. And the work begins now.

And I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater.

What has to be done has to be done by government and people together or it will not be done at all. The lesson of past agony is that without the people we can do nothing—with the people we can do everything.

I ask you to be citizens: Citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a county of character.

I thank you all,

God bless you and our beloved county

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