Transform Our Livelihoods to Dignify Our Lives – Western

Transform Our Livelihoods to Dignify Our Lives

Press Statement

Preamble

The 14th Regional Conference of the NCCK Western Region has been held here at St Patrick’s Pastoral Center, Kabula, on 16th and 17th May 2024, under the theme “Dignified Livelihoods, Resilient Communities (Galatians 6: 9)”. The Regional Conference is a core governance organ of the NCCK that meets once every 3 years, and in Western Region it brings together delegates from Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega and Vihiga Counties.  During the Conference, the delegates considered and meditated on the scripture recorded in Isaiah 43: 18 – 19

Forget the former thins, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it sprigs up, do you not perceive it?

Having appreciated the importance of transformation of the way things are so as to embrace the new, the NCCK Western Region now shares the following message:

1.         Transform Agricultural Economy

The Western Region has for decades been Kenya’s bread basket, the bastion of food production. This Regional Conference is therefore shocked that both the national and county governments have neglected this critical sector, leaving the residents to suffer in abject poverty. Political leaders have failed to inspire value addition or agri-business strategies, and instead keep people’s attention focused on maize and sugar factories. It is no wonder then that residents continue to produce the same crops using the same techniques as they did 50 years ago. This status is not sustainable and must be changed.

We therefore strongly recommend as follows:

One, the sugar sector requires a radical transformation to make it farmer-centric. Farmers should control every stage of sugar production, processing and sale. Indeed we dream of a time when the farmers will be empowered to engage in small scale value addition to increase their incomes and liberalise the sector.

Two, we call upon the county governments and non government partners to work with our communities to identify other high potential crops that can grow in these counties to diversify livelihoods of the farmers. Our people are crying for freedom from the persistent bondage to middlemen and obsolete technologies.

Three, we plead with our development partners to support trainings and initiatives aimed at inspiring the youth to embrace agriculture, value addition and agri-business as sustainable livelihood options.

Fourthly, we call upon the national and county governments to reduce taxes and levies charged on agricultural inputs and products. Food security should not be made very easy and affordable.

2.         Transform Mindsets to Fight Corruption

This Regional Committee recognizes that corruption is the greatest tragedy devastating our nation. Corruption has become so entrenched in our society, affecting every sector. We are indeed similar to the nation described in Micah 3: 11

Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us”.

We recognize that this level of corruption cannot be dealt with through rhetoric and judicial punishments. What we require is a radical transformation of mindsets of Kenyans so that every citizen rejects and abhors corruption at an individual level. We call upon the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission to spearhead this campaign of demonizing corruption and glorifying good morals.

In the meantime, we call upon the Judiciary to protect Kenyans by ensuring that all corruption-related cases are speedily prosecuted and maximum sentences decreed.

3.         Reduce Taxation

We in this Regional Conference is shocked that the government is acting in a very insensitive manner by increasing taxes every other day. It is a gross injustice to increase taxes so at to match those of developed and first world countries while the government is not providing first world services. The people spend their incomes to cover for services and infrastructure the government is not providing.

We urge the government to remember that the increases in taxation is raising despair, anger and depression among the people, which is a recipe for chaos and social disintegration.

4.         Validate the NADCO Report

Earlier this year, the National Assembly adopted the report of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) and commenced its implementation. The recommendations by the NADCO have far reaching implications on the current and future of the lives of Kenyans. On account of the impact that the proposed recommendations will have on the Constitution and Laws of Kenya, we call upon Parliament to make the process people driven. We call upon the Speaker of National Assembly, Hon Moses Wetangula, to facilitate this by:

One, publishing the NADCO report in a way that is accessible to all Kenyans

Two, having the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee visit all the counties to receive feedback from the citizens on the NADCO report and proposed constitutional and legislative amendments, then use that feedback to fine tune the process.

We caution that failure to do this could cause the NADCO process to suffer the same fate as the Building Bridges Initiative some years ago.

5.         Reconstitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

Being a constitutional democracy, Kenya is wholly dependent on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to oversight the process in which individuals are elected to hold governance offices. The failure to have a properly constituted IEBC is therefore a great breach of the constitutional rights of the residents of Barissa constituency as well as Nyamaiya, Kisa East, Lakezone and Chewenai Wards who have not held by-elections since those posts fell vacant.

We call upon His Excellency President William Ruto and all concerned stakeholders to set politics aside and facilitate completion of the process.

Further, we urge the Attorney General to seek an advisory from the Supreme Court of Kenya on the next course of action following the lapse of the constitutional deadline for review of boundaries.

6.         Use Electricity Safely

This Regional Conference has noted with concern that the number of electricity-related accidents is rising, with reports that 130 deaths were reported last year while 90 have been killed so far this year.

Considering that the majority of electricity-related accidents result from illegal connections, poor wiring in houses, and operating under power lines, we call upon all the residents of our counties and the entire country to take care of their lives. To progress this understanding, we in the NCCK have partnered with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company to use our platforms to sensitize community members to use electricity safely. We especially recommend the following to the residents in our counties:

One, only engage licensed electricians to do wiring in your houses;

Two, ensure that electricity supply is connected by Kenya Power and Lighting Company itself; and

Three, avoid putting any buildings or businesses underneath powerlines

7.         New Regional Leadership

This Regional Conference wishes to inform all that we have elected a new team of officials who will hold office for the term 2024 – 2027. These are:

Chairperson:               Presiding Clerk Seth Agala

Vice Chair:                   Col Samuel Opuka

Hon Treasurer:           Rt Rev John Okude

Women Rep:               Centrine Wanjala

Youth Rep:                  Christabel Jomo

PWD Rep:                   Grace Ahono

Conclusion

We conclude by expressing our condolences to the families of all Kenyans who have died in the ongoing floods. We have also taken time to pray for all the affected individuals and families for consolation and quick recovery. Further, we continue to raise relief items through our congregations and share with those in need. Our churches remain open to accommodate any persons who have been displaced.

It is our prayer that all of us as Kenyans will embrace transformation of lives and livelihoods so that we grow to become a better people. May the message of Romans 12: 2 inspire us continually:

Do not conform an longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve of what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.

May God bless the Western Kenya and the entire nation.

Presiding Clerk Seth Agala

Regional Chairman, NCCK Western Region

June 2024
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