, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – President Mwai Kibaki has urged pastoral communities to support the ongoing Government initiatives geared towards ensuring sustainable peace in their areas.
Reaffirming his government’s commitment to provision of sufficient resources for the development of arid and semi arid parts of the country, President Kibaki asked the pastoralist communities to unite and work together in curbing activities that undermine peace.
The President was speaking on Friday at his Harambee House office where he met a delegation of Members of Parliament and professionals from 32 arid and semi arid districts of the North and Central Rift, and Upper Eastern regions.
President Kibaki assured the delegation that the government, in its ongoing efforts to improve the livelihood of the public in the arid and semi arid districts, would give priority to education, restocking of livestock and construction of dams and water pans.
The Head of State said the government would also fast track the construction of security roads to beef up security in the region.
The President pointed out that the planned construction of a major highway from Lamu, through the region to Ethiopia and Southern Sudan would not only stimulate rapid economic growth but also ensure improved security.
During the meeting, President Kibaki accepted a Sh5.3 billion budget proposal for development projects that was presented by Members of Parliament and professionals from the 32 arid and semi arid districts of the North and Central Rift, and upper Eastern regions.
In this regard, the President directed line-ministries to consult the Treasury for the allocation of funds for the projects that will be done in phases.
In their memorandum, the legislators and professionals from the districts reassured President Kibaki of their commitment to peace and unity.
They also said they would work together with the government to ensure that the ongoing disarmament exercise is successful.
The leaders, however, requested the government to initiate rehabilitation programs that will provide the youth with an alternative source of livelihood once they are disarmed.
They recommended that bursary funds in the region be enhanced, model boarding primary and secondary schools be upgraded, the restocking program and construction of water points be speeded up, saying this will ensure the public in the region reap maximum benefits from the peace dividends.
The meeting was attended by 12 Members of Parliament from the 32 districts.