, ISIOLO, Kenya, Nov 26 – President Mwai Kibaki received a rousing welcome when he made a historic entry to the far flung Merti division in the expansive Isiolo County.
And as the first President to visit the area, President Kibaki did not disappoint residents who eagerly waited for him and his entourage.
The residents braved drizzling rains to listen to President Kibaki who assured them of Government’s commitment to implement projects intended to uplift the living standards of wananchi in all parts of the country.
During the occasion President Kibaki was tremendously cheered as he unwrapped various gifts for the area that particularly suffers from harsh climatic conditions as well as incessant cattle rustling and intercommunity rivalries.
The first gift was the creation of a new district to be called Merti district and the Head of State directed that a district commissioner be posted in the area with immediate effect.
President Kibaki also announced the disbursement of Sh40 million for the construction of Guta bridge along the Isiolo-Gachuru-Bulesa-Merti road.
The bridge, that crosses river Ewaso Nyiro, becomes impassable during heavy rains with residents being forced to spend over five days on either side waiting for the water levels to subside.
During the occasion the President also upgraded Merti health centre to a district hospital to enable local residents get necessary medical attention instead of traveling to Isiolo district hospital over 200 km away.
With regard to the perennial water problem in the area, President Kibaki assured local residents that more bore holes would be drilled in the area to solve the problem.
With regard to education the President urged the local community to take all children who had acquired school-going age to schooling.
He reiterated that education was an important cog of development adding that an educated society was the future of the nation.
During the occasion President Kibaki was installed as Borana elder for his exemplary leadership that had brightened up the nation like day light.
Area MP and Minister for Livestock Development Dr Mohammed Kuti praised the President for his visionary leadership and development record in the country.
Noting that President Kibaki had genuinely promoted unity among all communities in the country, Dr Kuti said the Head of State had laid a firm foundation for the country’s future generations.
The livestock minister, however, called proper disarmament and mop up of illicit arms within the region to avoid intercommunity hostilities.
He said that the Borana Community had been terrorised by neighbouring communities for cooperating with the government and handing over its arms and urged government to remedy the situation.
Speaking during the same occasion Water Minister Charity Ngilu disclosed that an estimated Sh40 million had been allocated to solve water problems in Cherab Division.
Mrs Ngilu said that under President Kibaki’s leadership the budget of the Water Ministry had grown from a mere Sh9 billion to over Sh37 billion including donor support.
She affirmed that the ministry was keen to supply clean water to all Kenyan communities in any part of the country.
Others who addressed the ecstatic residents included Dujis MP Aden Duale and the Eastern Provincial Commissioner Clare Omoro.
In attendance were assistant ministers Peter Munya, Ferdinard Waititu and legislators Mithika Linturi, Ntoitha M’Mithiaru, senior government officials and local leaders.