His Excellency President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.
Her Excellency the First Lady, Mama Margaret Kenyatta,
His Excellency the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. David Mabuza,
The Right Honourable Dr. Hon Raila Amolo Odinga,
Mama Ida Odinga,
The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom
The Cabinet Secretary State Department of Health and your colleagues,
Chairman, Council of Governors, Josephat Nanok,
Excellency Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Development Partners present,
Members of Parliament and the County Assemblies,
All Protocols observed.
Mr. President this is your day. Let me therefore begin by welcoming you and your guests to
this great county of Kisumu, particularly to the City of Kisumu as you launch the Universal
Health Coverage (UHC), a key pillar in the BIG FOUR AGENDA. Your Excellency, on behalf of the people of Kisumu, and on my own behalf, we deeply appreciate the fact that Kisumu County is one of the four counties where this initiative is being piloted.
We cannot take it for granted that the launch today allows us to be part of an unfolding history in which we are present at the dawn as hosts. Thank you Mr. President for this singular honour.
Mr. President, Universal Health Coverage aims to attain equitable, affordable, accessible and quality healthcare for all. I do believe that access to accessible, affordable and quality healthcare can only be fully realized through the full implementation of UHC. This journey has been long and tortuous Mr. President, quite often making two steps forward and reversing with one step backwards. But now I can see the resolve, I can feel the energy and I can smell the victory that we are bound to achieve because we are working together on this enterprise.
In Kisumu County, we are still disturbed by the high prevalence rates of both Malaria and HIV, high maternal mortality rates and increasing cases of cancer. However, we are making good progress in addressing these and other challenges through deliberate policies at the County level to enhance health financing, legislative and policy frameworks as well as partnerships. We have dedicated 30% of our total budget to health and recruited 2,280 Community Health Workers in 193 active community units whom we pay stipend. We will highly appreciate the assistance of the national government to establish the Cancer Centre at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH).
Going forward Mr. President, Kisumu County is hopeful that we will maintain constructive dialogue with the national government on implementation of UHC, finalizing implementation guidelines and linking those guidelines to our County strategies for the health sector, complete with a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system. This environment of dialogue will also make it possible for counties to deliberate with national government on some of the sticking issues in healthcare delivery such as training of health personnel and resource allocation criteria.
Our potential for success is further energised by the relaxed political atmosphere that you and your brother Raila Amolo Odinga have breathed into this nation through the Building Bridges Initiative. Let not the two of you relent in chasing the corrupt elements in this nation wherever
they may be found. Leave no stone unturned as the Assets Recovery Agency seeks to return ill-gotten wealth back to the public treasury.
Mr President we need these recovered funds and assets to finance our health care system, build our Vocational Training Centres and take care of our public servants in retirement.
In this region, Mr President, we have had gallant men and women, brave Kenyans, who have always stood for what is right and just for all Kenyans. Their aspirations may not have been realised in their life time. But I stand here with pride and confidence that I am serving Kisumu as a Governor at a time when your Presidency is more than ready to give the common Kenyan an opportunity to live in a prosperous and democratic Kenya; a Kenya where periodic circles of elections will no longer herald predictable conflicts and misery for the common man.
Mr. President the secret of development lies in good and democratic governance, institutionalized rule of law, unassailable respect for human rights and the Universal acceptance of the equality of human kind. You and the Prime Minister have recently led by example in supporting the two thirds Gender Bill. This Bill is not just important in eliminating gender based discrimination in political representation; it is vital in establishing a culture and a national ethos of universal equality among men and women.
I have no doubt in my mind that our women play an exceptional role in bringing us up as children and in providing livelihoods in most peasant families. If we are to fully liberate our women, we must invest in modernizing our Agriculture through improved mechanization, irrigation, improved seeds, and good farm gate prices for our farmers, while supporting value addition and innovation in the sector
Mr. President, I therefore hope that it will no longer be treated as a rumour that your government has finally decided to implement the KORU-SOIN multipurpose dam. This project will be a game changer in the political economy of this region. Agricultural productivity will go up ten-fold in the Nyando Basin through improved, expanded and reliable irrigation. Flooding in this river basin will finally be tamed, stabilizing family settlements and eliminating water borne diseases, among other things.
As far as the sugar industry is concerned let me assure you that those of us in the committee you appointed chaired by Governor Oparanya, working together with CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, will do our best to deliver to you a report that will help solve all outstanding problems once your government acts on the recommendations.
Finally, Mr President, Kisumu and the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) looks forward to the SGR reaching here by January 2021. We are working hard to revitalize Maritime transport on the Lake and we are well aware that we will achieve even more in this area in partnership with the national government and the private sector. The SGR, Maritime transport and the road network you have launched today will link the region fully with the rest of Kenya and East Africa.
Why, Mr President, am I making this plea on the SGR?
We make this plea because, Mr. President and Rt. Hon Raila Amolo Odinga, Kisumu has a date with Destiny in November 2021 when about 10,000 people from Africa and the rest of the world will assemble here for the 9th Africities Summit. This is the premier event of Cities and Local Governments in Africa organized every three years by the United Cities and Local Governments in Africa (UCLGA) and the 8th edition of the Summit was held only last month in Marrakech, Morocco. I would like to thank you and your government for having made this possible by leading the bid by Kenya and Kisumu as host country and host city respectively. Governor Josephat Nanok and the Council of Governors, C.S. Eugene Wamalwa and the State Department of Devolution together with the Principal Secretary Charles Hinga in the State Department of Housing and Urban Affairs all went the extra mile to hold our hands on this adventurous journey. To them I extend my gratitude.
I would be completely out of order were I to end my welcome remarks without paying special tribute to three people: The Cabinet Secretary in charge of Health, Ms Cecily Kariuki, the Administrative Secretary in the same department my brother Dr. Rashid Amana and my Chairman Dr. Kuti, the Governor of Isiolo who I deputize in the Health Committee in the Council of Governors. On behalf of all other members of that Committee we would all like to appreciate the productive working relations we have had, culminating to this day – a day like no other!
Mr. President, please continue the valiant struggle to rid Kenya of the enemies of good governance and development. By their very nature, human beings don’t easily obey laws and rules. In fact God has always had problems with us since the day of Adam and Eve. Even Moses had a very hard time negotiating with God how many laws the Israelites would accept from God.
Every time Moses climbed the mountain to go and receive the laws he would come back with 72 which the people rejected as too many. He then went back and negotiated with God coming back with 50. The Israelites pleaded with him to reduce them and let God make them a little bit simpler to obey. Finally he went up and came back with the good news.
The good news was that he had managed to convince God to.make them only 10: one line each, simple, easy to understand and not reducible any more. The people applauded.
The bad news, however, Moses sadly announced with his head bowed down, was that ADULTERY WAS STILL PART OF THE LAW, the breakage of which would invite utter damnation.
Like I said at the beginning, this is your day Mr. President and talking beyond this point would be committing a cardinal crime even under the reduced laws numbering only ten.
May I wish you all a happy stay in Kisumu City and the County as we reflect together on the future of healthcare delivery system in our country.
As for me and the people of Kisumu County, we have seen the future and it works!
Thank you and may God bless Kenya.