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Daily Nation : February 23rd 2014
SUNDAY NATION February 23, 2014 INVESTIGATIONS | Governor says he wants audit carried out Sunday Review 29 Farmers buy fertiliser in droves after President intervenes on prices BY FRANCIS MUREITHI @FMureith1 fmureithi@Ke.nationmedia.com AND PHILIP BWAYO @philipbwayo firstname.lastname@example.org A few days after President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off lorries containing subsidised fertiliser at Egerton University in Njoro, Nakuru County has recorded a huge turnout of farmers who want to stock up on fertiliser ahead of the next planting season. The National Cereals and Produce FILE | NATION Nyandarua Governor Waithaka Mwangi with Mrs Mukami Kimathi, the widow of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi, when she called on him at his Ol’Kalou office last week. Three to face probe in row over private building Watchdog committee wants to know how a private building was rented and renovated without a contract BY DAVID MACHARIA @DavidMacharia1 email@example.com Transitional Authority are to appear before the County Assembly’s two watchdog committees to answer questions about the renovation of the governor’s office. The move follows rev- O elations that there was no contract signed between the county and the owner of the building rented in Ol Kalou town to be the governor’s office. The chairman of the two committees, Mr Sylvester Kagiri Mwangi, said millions of taxpayers’ money were used to renovate the building, but preliminary investigations indicated that no contract was signed between the owner of the building and the county government. “We want to know how the officers committed public fficers seconded to the Nyandarua county government by the money to a private building without signing any papers,” Mr Mwangi said. The officers expected to appear before the Public Investments Committee and Public Accounts Committee are former county secretary Isaacs Githui, outgoing procurement officer Ephantus Thiga and county finance officer Jesee Mwangi. Civil society groups claim Sh20 million was spent to renovate the building located next to the post office and that the county government will further be paying Sh372,000 in monthly rent. Governor Daniel Waithaka issued a statement, saying Sh12.8 million was used in renovation, partitioning and landscaping of the building adjacent to the car park. The governor said a com- mittee was tasked to acquire office space for the county executive arm, and the committee settled on the private building. Mr Waithaka said the com- mittee was formed after it became apparent that former County Commissioner Esther Maina would not vacate her office for the governor soon after the General Election. “Because I have heard the outcry, I have told the minister for Finance that I want a full audit, and when the report is ready, I will make it public,” the governor said. But Mr Mwangi, who is also the MCA for Githioro ward, said counties that lacked suitable public buildings, including Nyandarua, received Sh61 million to renovate one of the buildings used by the former local authorities to accommodate the governor. “That money came to Nyandarua specifically to either revamp the former county hall of the former county council or the offices of the former Ol Kalou town council, for the governor to occupy. How they then settled for a private building is a mystery,” the PIC/PAC chairman said. Board (NCPB) depot was a beehive of activity as farmers emptied out the stores in Nakuru. The government has spent Sh7.2 billion to buy 143,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser to be distributed country wide. NCPB workers had a hectic time serving hundreds of farmers who flocked to the Nakuru depot to buy the fertiliser last week before the planting season that begins next week. Accompanied by Deputy Presi- dent William Ruto, Mr Kenyatta announced a sharp reduction in the price of the fertiliser in a bid to boost production. The President said the price of a bag of DAP would drop from Sh2,480 to to Sh2,000, while NPK would now cost Sh2,000. CAN, which farmers were buy- ing at Sh1,600, will now retail for Sh1,500 while the cost of urea will drop from Sh1,800 to Sh1,500. Speaking to the Sunday Nation, NCPB silo manager in charge of Nakuru County, Ms Anne Gichau, said the depot had received more than 50,000 bags of fertiliser. “The response has been over- whelming, and farmers who are raring to go have been buying fertiliser in large quantities to avoid a last-minute rush. Already, DAP has sold out,” she said. Ms Gichau assured farmers that additional supplies of the sold-out fertilisers were on the way. Last year, hundreds of area farmers had to spend sleepless nights camping outside the NCPB depot to buy fertiliser due to high demand. Some of the farmers were conned by unscrupulous traders who took advantage of the shortage to sell them sub-standard fertiliser which adversely affected their production. “I’m happy that the President has released the fertiliser and reduced the prices because last year I bought a bag of DAP, but half of it was black soil,” said Mr James Kiarie, a maize farmer in Lare Division in Njoro sub-county. Another farmer, Mr Humphrey Omwoyo from Kiamunyi, thanked the government for releasing the fertiliser in good time and appealed to the NCPB manager in Nakuru to ensure that no farmer was sent away empty handed. In the North Rift, farmers have welcomed the President’s intervention and called on the NCPB to quickly review the prices. “We welcome this move but call on Last year I bought a bag of DAP but half of it was black soil ” —James Kiarie, farmer ‘‘ BY WYCLIFF KIPSANG @wsang08 firstname.lastname@example.org The perennial rivalry between the Tugen and minority communities in Baringo County has found its way into the county government with Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) from minority sub-groups complaining that their people have been passed over in job appointments. The issue came up last week when FILE | NATION Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi Amaya/Churo Ward representative Thomas Minito sought a statement from the Leader of Majority Elijah Toroitich (Mogotio) on the employment of the county finance and procurement staff by the County Public Service Board. Mr Minito complained that the recruitment was flawed and unconstitutional. “The appointments do not repre- sent the face of the county as people employed come from one ethnic group. It does not reflect regional diversity, and it is devoid of fair representation as certain groups have been left out,” Mr Minito said. He said the majority Tugen have taken the lion’s share of the positions at the expense of other minority communities in the county, including the Ilchamus, Turkana, Pokot and Kikuyu. Tempers flared at the assembly as Temporary Speaker Solomon Chemjor (Kapropita) had a hectic time bringing the house to order as the MCAs traded accusations. Mr Jacob Cheboiywo (Kisanana) said the county government recycled people who served in the former local authorities instead of employing new people. Mr Peter Amasile (Tangulbei) said the Constitution recognised the rights of minorities and marginalised groups. “What the County Public Service Board has done is a deliberate attempt to sideline the minorities. The majority Tugen will continue dominating this county. We feel our rights have been violated,” he said. NCPB to hurry its review because we have to stick to planting timelines or else we will be doomed,” said the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers regional chairman William Kimosong. The farmers further called on the government to put measures in place to ensure rogue traders do not take advantage of the waiver to make a kill by re-packaging and re-selling the fertiliser. Baringo tribal rivalry explodes during assembly meeting Earlier, nominated MCA Purity Ta- laam said the minorities should lobby for the remaining positions. Members of the Pokot community came close to reacting violently after Vincent Kiror (Saimo-Kipsaraman) claimed that residents from the Pokot community were not qualified for county jobs since they were engaging in raids when people from other communities in the county were going to school. “We are agitating for the rights of our people who elected us,” said Fredrick Kibet (Loyamorok ward). Mr Toroitich said that qualifications were important in hiring workers and should not be compromised.
February 22nd 2014
February 24th 2014