President Kenyatta has visited North Eastern Kenya more times than any other president since independence
The region has been neglected by successive governments and any one visiting the region was always greeted by “how is Kenya?”
In other words, they felt isolated by the government in Nairobi and suffered under development that saw them view themselves as second class citizens.
Sessional Paper Number 10 of 1965 on African Socialism and its Application spelled doom for less developed regions such as north eastern by propagating the theory that for the economy as a whole grow as fast as possible, development money should be invested where it will yield the largest increase in output.
Though former president Mwai Kibaki made some progress to address the development disparities that the region was subjected to, the Jubilee administration deserves accolades for going overdrive to bridge the development gap between north eastern and the rest of the country.
In his latest tour of the region, among the projects that the President launched was the Isiolo-Moyale road, which was constructed at a cost of KSh42 billion.
He said there was enough reason for locals to feel they properly belong to Kenya.
In the past, traveling to the three counties of Wajir, Mandera and Garissa was a torturous affair that took one up to three days. The situation got worse when the rainy season kicked in as the roads became impassable.
However, the construction of roads linking the region with the rest of Kenya has made the journey much shorter and improved its economy.
Things are set to get even better after the government partnered with South Africa to tarmac the 600-kilometre road linking Lamu to Isiolo.
The government has also begun constructing Kinna-Garba Tulla road that connects Isiolo with Garissa.
Another one linking Isiolo and Moyale is also being constructed at a cost of Sh42 billion.
Also being tarmacked is the road linking Garissa and Mandera.
The completion of the Isiolo Airport is also a game changer.
The airport handles about seven flights per day making travel between the region and the rest of the country even easier.
It, together with the Moyale International Airport, promises to change the country’s economic fortunes.
As the President noted while launching the Isiolo Airport, it will open up access to the beautiful northern Kenya tourism attractions, which include eco-tourism, rich cultural heritage, national reserves, private ranches, wildlife conservancies and anticipated the resort city that will be constructed under the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan- Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project.
The government is also looking for land to construct an airstrip at Eldas in the Moyale county.
The government has also launched key water projects as well as medical training college in Wajir, in addition to that in Garissa.
Apart from impassable roads that were a common feature of the region in the past north eastern has also suffered from insecurity, lack of adequate medical facilities and poor education standards, which the Jubilee administration has sought to address.
In making public appointments, the President has also ensured that the people of north eastern feel fully included.
For the first time in the country’s history, the Leader of Majority (Aden Duale) is from north eastern.
Other key figures in the Jubilee administration that hail from the region is Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and her Industrialisation and Trade counterpart Adan Mohamed.
“Jubilee has not left out the people of North Eastern. Is there any Government that has included more people from this region in government than Jubilee” the President rightly posed when he addressed a campaign rally in Garissa.
For long, residents of north eastern have suffered from the vagaries of the weather.
The fact that their main economic occupation is livestock rearing has made them very vulnerable to drought and flooding.
However, through a livestock insurance programme, the government has moved to cushion them from the unpredictable weather patterns.
The Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme was launched in 2015 as a partnership between the government and seven insurance companies – Kenya Orient, UAP, APA, CIC, Jubilee, Amaco and Heritage. Essentially, the government purchases insurance on behalf of vulnerable pastoralist households, helping sustain their livelihoods.
By Abdi Mohamed
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