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Listen to the People

Listen to the People

Press Statement

Preamble

The persons elected to be officials of the NCCK in Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega and Vihiga counties as well as the Western Region have participated in a two-day induction workshop here at County Green Hotel, Bungoma, on 13th and 14th June 2024. Besides an intensive discussion on the Corporate Plan, governance structure and history of the Council, the leaders took time to assess the state of the nation. The reflections took into consideration the warning of God recorded in Proverbs 21: 13

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

1.         Provide Meaningful Healthcare

It is a major concern, pain and torture for the healthcare services provided to the residents of Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega and Vihiga counties are below expectations. Health facilities across the board are poorly staffed, and persistently lack medicine including vaccinations for children. The people are progressively being pushed to private and church owned health facilities. Tragically, however, the private and church owned health facilities have been crippled due to the failure by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to release reimbursements.

We appeal to the county governments in our region to hear the cry of the people and heal the health sector by procuring medications and hiring enough personnel. On its part, we call upon the national government to streamline the transition from NHIF to SHIF (Social Health Insurance Fund) by ensuring that all the debts owed to health facilities are paid.

2.         Stabilize the Education System

The Competence Based Curriculum was introduced in 2017, meaning its implementation has been going on for the last seven years. It is therefore a great distress for Kenyans that the curriculum is yet to stabilize teaching materials and facilities are not ready, and uncertainties remain as regards the transition from Junior School to Senior Secondary levels. For how long will the children of Kenya continue to be treated as guinea pigs used to test ideas?

Further, we are concerned about the insensitivity and lack of concern manifested by the government through the firing of Junior School teachers. Why did the government not employ enough teachers for the classes despite having had 7 years to prepare? If the Junior School is a permanent component of the CBC, why is the government engaging teachers on a casual basis? How will the learners in the schools where the teachers have been fired catch up with the others?

We call upon the Ministry of Education to end the injustices and uncertainties in the sector.

3.         Reduce Taxation Burden

Over the last two months, the entire country has been focused on discussing the Finance Bill 2024 as well as the budget estimates presented to Parliament by the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury. The main concern in the discussions are the proposals for increase of taxation of different commodities and services. The proposals have increased the sense of exasperation and despair among the people who are already in mental anguish.

We call upon the Members of Parliament to hear the cy of the people of Kenya and lessen the burden of taxation. Do not be insensitive to the people who are struggling to recover from the effects of Covid-19 and cycles of droughts and floods. We urge you to remember the warning God has given in Isaiah 10: 1 – 3

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?

Do not agree to pass bills that destroy the hopes and livelihoods of our people.

4.         Involve the People in Reforms

Having received and adopted the report of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO), Parliament is in the process of effecting the proposed reforms. But is this the right thing to do yet the people of Kenya do not know the contents of the report and have not agreed with the proposals? It is important to note that the reforms proposed by the NADCO will radically change the electoral institutions and processes, as well as the structure of national government. It is in essence an effort to amend the Constitution of Kenya without going through a procedural constitutional amendment process.

We call upon the Speaker of National Assembly, Hon Moses Wetangula, to facilitate the publishing of the NADCO report in a way accessible to all Kenyans. Further, the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee should 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.

5.         Reconstitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

Seeking to promote constitutionalism and rule of law, we note that it is of utmost urgency for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to be reconstituted so as to end the injustice whereby the residents of Barissa constituency as well as Nyamaiya, Kisa East, Lakezone and Chewenai Wards have been unable to hold by-elections for one and a half years. In addition, the constitutional timelines for boundaries review have been breached

We therefore urge His Excellency President William Ruto and concerned stakeholders to hear the cry of the people of Kenya and facilitate appointment of the IEBC commissioners. We encourage you to always remember the inspiration in Proverbs 29: 14

If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.

Conclusion

We conclude by appealing to all leaders in Kenya to remember that dialogue is a worthwhile exercise that God has ordained, as we read in Isaiah 1: 18

Come, let us reason together, says the Lord.

Let us all as leaders, in the church, community and nation, learn to listen to the people and dialogue with them. In this way, we will build a just, resilient and sustainable society, just as we pray in the National Anthem

O God of all creation, bless this our land nation, justice be our shield and defender

May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty, plenty be found within our borders

May God bless the Western Kenya and the entire nation.

Presiding Clerk Seth Agala

Regional Chairman, NCCK Western Region

July 2024
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