Dignify Our Citizens: South Rift Regional Conference Statement

Dignify Our Citizens

Press Statement

Preamble

The NCCK South Rift Region has held its 14th Regional Conference here at ACK Imani Guest House, Nakuru, on 16th and 17th April, 2024, under the theme “Dignified Livelihoods; Resilient Communities” based on Galatians 6: 9.

The Regional Conference, which meets once every three years, brings together delegates from NCCK member churches and organisations in Baringo, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru, Narok and Samburu counties.

The Conference reflected on the Word of God recorded in Ezekiel 34: 2 – 3

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.

We have taken note that the residents of our counties are greatly suffering from very high poverty levels. Indeed data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2022 Poverty Report shows that our people suffer from the double jeopardy of abject poverty and low capacity to produce the food they eat.

CountyBaringoBometKerichoNakuruNarokSamburu
Percent of Residents who Produce Own Food16.025.923.914.715.013.2
Percentage of Residents in Abject Poverty47.545.439.839.421.966.2

This state of impoverishment of people is immoral, unbiblical, and unconstitutional, and should be reversed urgently. Towards this, we make the following recommendations:

1.         Focus on Service Delivery and Infrastructural Development

We in this Regional Conference have noted with concern that in our counties, there is little to show in infrastructural development despite receiving and spending billions of shillings from the sharable revenue. According to the report by the Controller of Budgets on 2022/23 remittances, Baringo received KSh 7.8 billion; Bomet Ksh 7.0 billion; Kericho KSh 7.6 billion; Nakuru KSh 13.5 billion; Narok KSh 12.8 billion; and Samburu 6.3 billion.

Across the counties in our region, roads are in a pathetic state, there are very few social amenities, industrial development is miniscule, and there is very little support to the citizens to upscale their livelihood options.

We now urge the Governors of our Counties to put full attention on service delivery and infrastructural development as well as supporting the people to rise out of poverty. We also appeal to telecommunications companies to expand their cellular network coverage in our counties.

On our part, we are ready and willing to partner with the County Governments in initiatives that promote dignified livelihoods that could include:

  1. Capacity Building and Training for men, women, youth and persons with disabilities on entrepreneurship, value addition and financial management
  2. Organizing citizens into producer groups for aggregation and stronger marketing power
  3. Training and mentoring residents on Conservation Agriculture to improve their food security and reduce the household incomes spent to purchase foodstuffs
  4. Capacity building of residents on appropriate water harvesting for domestic use and irrigation
  5. Extensive sensitization of men, women, youth and persons with disabilities on available affordable funds for business incubation and growth
  6. Interventions to redeem  the individuals and families affected by illicit brews, while partnering with the authorities to deal with illicit brewers according to the law

Let us all join hands to end poverty in our counties.

2.         Bring Insecurity to an End

We in this Regional Conference continue to be deeply perturbed by the incessant insecurity devastating Samburu and Baringo counties. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 states in Article 29 (c) that “Every person has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right not to be – (c) subjected to any form of violence from either public or private sources.

It is therefore a gross violation of the Constitution for the government to allow banditry-driven insecurity to continue destroying lives of the people. We call upon the national government to engage all stakeholders including religious leaders for comprehensive intra and inter ethnic dialogue to find lasting solution to this crisis. On their part, we urge the County governments to be inclusive and deliberate in making all residents feel they belong.

3.         Safeguard Our Environment

We in this Regional Conference call upon all stakeholders, and especially the national and county governments, to safeguard the environment and strengthen climate change mitigation. Of urgent need is the completion of the fencing of the Mau Forest to ensure its protection. Further, it is essential that the 3,000 families that were displaced from the forest are resettled elsewhere.

4.         End the Health Sector Industrial Action

We in this Regional Conference call upon all stakeholders, and especially the county and national governments, to get into meaningful dialogue with the doctors and other health sector workers to end the ongoing strike. It is very insensitive to allow the collapse of healthcare services for more than a month. As church leaders, we are available to provide mediation as required.

5.         Validate the NADCO Report

We in this Regional Conference appreciate that the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) presented a report that was adopted by Parliament. The report is due for implementation.

However, the majority of Kenyans, most of the residents of our counties included, are not familiar with the contents of the Report, even though its recommendations will have serious implications on our lives.

We therefore call upon the speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate, Honorables Moses Wetangula and Amason Kingi, to have the report published in a manner accessible to all Kenyans. Further, the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee should hold sittings in the counties to receive feedback from the citizens, and then use that feedback to finetune the Parliamentary Bills that were drafted as part of the NADCO Report. Kenyans must be fully involved and supportive of any and all governance and electoral reforms that are discussed by their representatives in Parliament.

6.         Constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

We in this Regional Conference are concerned about the existential risk our country is facing as a result of the failure to re-constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). This is because a nation that fails to follow its own constitution opens the door for its destruction.

We call upon all concerned parties to urgently fast track the recruitment of Commissioners for the IEBC. This will facilitate the extremely delayed by-elections for Barissa and Lagdera constituencies, and Nyamaiya, Kisa East, Lakezone and Chewenai Wards, as well as gazettement of the Deputy Governor for Kisii County.

In addition, we call upon the Attorney General to seek an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court of Kenya on what should be done to deal with the failure to adhere to constitutional timelines for review of boundaries of electoral units.

7.         New Regional Leadership

We also wish to inform you that this Regional Conference has elected a new team of officials who will hold office 2024 – 2027. These are:

Chairperson:               Bishop Peter Muiruri

Vice Chair:                   Rt Rev David Lebarleyia

Hon Treasurer:           Rev Sarah Mainye

Women Rep:               Hon Miriam Katurkana

Youth Rep:                  Lft Purity Savali

PWD Rep:                   Pst Richard Mutai

Conclusion

In conclusion, we call upon the leaders and all the residents of our counties to take to heart the inspiration Nehemiah gave the people of Judah as we read in Nehemiah 2: 17

You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.

Our counties are similarly in dire need. Let us work together to dignify our citizens.

We also affirm the partnership we as NCCK have entered with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company to sensitize our people on safe use of electricity. We will be using our platforms to inspire all to stay safe from electricity related accidents that could lead to deaths and injuries.

May God bless this South Rift Region and the entire Kenya now and always.

Bishop Peter Muiruri

Regional Chairman, NCCK South Rift Region

May 2024
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