Stop Polluting Our Lives – Lower Eastern Conference

Stop Polluting Our Lives

Press Statement

The triennial Regional Conference for the NCCK Lower Eastern Region has been held here at ACK All Souls Cathedral, Machakos, on 4th and 5th April 2024 to transact statutory business and reflect on the welfare of the citizens residing in this area. The Regional Conference, which was guided by  the theme “Dignified Livelihoods, Resilient Communities (Galatians 6: 9)”, brought together delegates from Kajiado, Kitui, Machakos, and Makueni counties. The Conference was inspired by the scripture recorded in 1 Kings 4: 20

The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.

Recognizing that this is an aspiration of all citizens that God is ever willing to fulfill, we share following message.

1.         Stop Polluting River Athi

Originating in the Ngong Hills, the River Athi was created by God to support life in Kajiado, Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, Tana River and Kilifi counties. This is indeed a national treasure.

This Regional Conference is therefore horrified that the national and county governments in the basin continue to pollute and destroy this lifeline for millions of Kenyans. We are at a point where the river is so polluted that even the animals in Tsavo National Park trek tens of kilometers to find water in Tsavo River or River Kiboko. Despite this massive pollution of the river, the residents in the counties in our region have no option but to use its water for irrigation and domestic consumption.

This deliberate poisoning of this crucial river must be stopped now. Indeed, we are determined to educate our people to gauge the aspirants in future elections based on their commitment and past performance in protecting River Athi and other water sources. In this regard, we call for the following measures:

a)         Keep Your Waste Out of Our River

Assessments by state institutions have confirmed that River Athi and other water resources in our counties are primarily polluted by solid waste dumpsites, inflow of sewerage and industrial waste, and informal settlements located in riparian lands.

We therefore demand that each county government puts in place and implements legal and policy measures to severely punish any person who dumps waste in rivers and other water resources. We indeed urge the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge and prosecute any polluter with  attempted murder. We must make pollution of water resources a serious crime, in the same category as murder, for indeed polluters are murderers.

On their part, we call upon the board members of the Water Resources Authority to either safeguard the lives of the citizens or quit those positions. No one should continue playing with the lives of Kenyans.

b)         Protect Sand

This Regional Conference heartily commends the County Government of Makueni and Kitui for enacting County River Basins Sand Utilization and Conservation Acts. The implementation of these laws is crucial since residents in our region depend on water drawn from Sand Dams. We challenge the County governments of Machakos and Kajiado to enact similar laws and policies. We must not allow unregulated sand harvesting as it is a threat to livelihoods of our people.

On our part as NCCK, we are committed to supporting the construction of 7 sand dams and desilting 7 earth dams in Kitui County.

c)         Train Residents on Climate Smart Agriculture

We further call upon the county governments in our region to allocate adequate funds to provide training residents on climate smart agriculture that conserves and restores the environment in addition to enabling them to harvest water for domestic use and irrigation. Further, we urge the ministries of Agriculture in the counties to deploy enough extension officers to support production of climate-adaptive and nutritious crops.

On our part as NCCK, we are training and supporting 4,000 households in Kitui county to adopt Climate Smart Agriculture, and invite like-minded institutions to partner with us.

2.         Validate the NADCO Report

This Regional Conference has noted with appreciation that the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) completed its work and submitted a report to Parliament, which proceeded to adopt it. We are however deeply concerned that Kenyans, whose lives will be radically changed by the reforms proposed in the report, are not aware of those proposals.

We do indeed have a strong fear that even the Members of Parliament who adopted the report are not fully aware of its contents, having watched a number of them confess that they did not read the Finance Bill 2023 before they passed it.

We now call upon Hon Moses Wetangula and Hon Amason Kingi, the speakers of National Assembly and Senate, to facilitate validation of the report by Kenyans. Article 1 Sub Article 1 of the Constitution of Kenya states that “All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya”, and they should therefore have a chance to validate the proposals made in the report of the National Dialogue Committee.

Thereafter, there should be comprehensive public participation on the attendant laws and policies.

3.         Constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

This Regional Conference is shocked at the blatant and callous manner in which the Constitution of Kenya is being breached by the same people who took an oath to protect it. The failure to constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is breaching the rights of the people of Kenya in the following ways:

One, the timelines for boundaries review have been breached, and Kenya is currently in a constitutional crisis in that regardd.

Two, the National Assembly and the Senate are unconstitutional to the extent that they have not adhered the two thirds gender rule

Three, citizens In Banissa and Lagdera constituencies, as well as Nyamaiya, Kisa East, Lakezone, and  Chewani Wards have been denied the right of representation

In view of these breaches of the Constitution, we call upon His Excellency President William Ruto to facilitate the completion of the recruitment of the IEBC Commissioners. The setting up of this crucial body should not be reduced to a mere political pawn.

has noted with appreciation that the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) completed its work and submitted a report to Parliament, which proceeded to adopt it. We are however deeply concerned that Kenyans, whose lives will be radically changed by the reforms proposed in the report, are not aware of those proposals.

4.         End the Healthcare Sector Crisis

This Regional Conference continue to note with concern the insensitive and uncaring attitude of the government when addressing the prevailing crisis in the healthcare sector. The withdrawal of the Universal Health Coverage programme and the EduAfya Medical Scheme has extremely exposed the people of Kenya to ill health and untold suffering. It was quite irresponsible on the part of the government to withdraw the two schemes without putting alternative covers in place.

Could it be that the current strikes by doctors and other health workers are merely a ruse to take attention away from the endemic malaise in the healthcare system?

We call upon the national and county governments to deliver to Kenyans the provisions of Article 43 (1)(a), which states that Every person has the right

To the highest attainable standard of health which includes the right to healthcare services, including reproductive heath care.

It is time to stop playing with the lives of Kenyans by polluting their bodies with diseases.

5.         New Regional Leadership

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

Chairperson:                 Major Leonard Kasyoka

Vice Chair:                    Rt Rev Gaddiel Lenini

Hon Treasurer:             Naomi Mbugua

Women Rep:                Canon Mary Mwaura

Youth Rep:                   Rev Jackson Muema

PWD Rep:                    Joshua Muoka

Conclusion

As we conclude, we recall to mind the aspiration Kenyans have in the National Anthem: “And our homeland of Kenya, Heritage of splendour, Firm may we stand to defend”.

Towards this, we call upon all duty bearers in the national and county governments to keep in mind the warning words recorded in Esther 4: 14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

Let every one of us commit to do all we can to reverse the pollution of our water resources, our bodies and our Constitution.

May God bless this Lower Eastern Region now and always.

Signed on this 5 day of April 2024 at ACK All Soul’s Cathedral, Machakos

Major Leonard Kasyoka

Regional Chairman, NCCK Lower Eastern Region

May 2024
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