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CENSUS FIGURES KEY IN DISTRIBUTION OF NATIONAL CAKE – DG LOTETHIRO

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro has called on residents to turn up in large numbers and present themselves for enumeration in the upcoming national census slated for later this month.

The census, he said, would determine the share of national cake that Turkana County will receive in future as part of devolved funds from the national budget. He warned that failure to take part would lead to slashing of funds and end up denting development plans meant to benefit residents of the County.

Speaking in Lokitaung during the funeral ceremony of the late Ruth Erukon, the Deputy Governor highlighted County government development plans that included ongoing construction of a theatre at Lokitaung Sub County hospital and planned upgrading of the existing  mortuary which he said would save residents from incurring cost of moving to Lodwar to seek treatment. He promised further support for the hospital to add to the vehicle allocated to the facility in April.

He blamed the recent uprising disease like hypertension and cancer to changing of lifestyle and modern foods that he said were laced with chemicals.

He assured that the County Government has procured enough drugs and was in plan to increase and build houses for medics within the facility so that they can stay around their station of work and attend to locals.

On referendum debate that has dominated national discourse, DG Lotethiro said that he together with other   leaders will guide residents on the best path for the region to chart on proposed amendments the constitution. He urged residents to live together in peace to speed development of the area.

Cabinet Secretary for Mining and Petroleum John Munyes called for unity among residents of Turkana North sub-county saying it was key to development of the area. He said that he and Members of Parliament are working with Governor Nanok and other county leaders to support implementation of development.

The late Mama Ruth Erukon Lojao 73, was eulogized as devout and caring christian who was instrumental in starting and construction of the Lokitaung Catholic church.

Senior County Government officials present included Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, County Director for Medical Services Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel, Culture and Heritage Advisor Boniface Korobe among others.

Members of County Assembly present were led by Deputy Speaker Michael Ewoi.

TURKANA COUNTY GOVERNMENT, STANDARD GROUP MEDIA COMMIT TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONS

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro has called on the Standard Media Group to improve its presence in the Turkana to boost media coverage of the second largest county in Kenya.

During a meeting with the senior management from the media company, the Deputy Governor pointed out that although the Standard’s Radio Maisha was popular in the county additional investment was needed to increase presence of the electronic media through KTN and the print media through Standard Newspaper.

He said this would call for establishment of a bureau office and additional equipment to cater for the vastness of Turkana.

“We would really like to see Standard Group set up a studio in Turkana, in order to have an independent media with professional reporters so that the reporting can be objective,” he said. 

He proposed that the County Government and SMG come up with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize the partnership in a bid to increase coverage of Turkana affairs that he maintained was still limited; and to highlight development progress made through devolution, as well as challenges faced.

Speaking on behalf of the Group CEO, Head of Corporate Affairs Charles Kimathi, said that the media group was looking to partner with Turkana County Government for better precence on the print and electronic media platforms.

“We would like to improve our working relationship, address any concerns and explore partnership opportunities,” he said. “And also listen and understand what Turkana County needs from us as a media partner.”

County Secretary Peter Eripete, requested the editorial department of Standard Media to maintain the accuracy and balance of news reports published. He urged the media to facilitate the reporters sent to the ground to ensure they maintained their objectivity independence.

The County Executive Committee Member (CEC) of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources Charles Lokioto acknowledged the long relationship between the Standard and the County through coverage of the Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival Tobong’u Lore since its inception and echoed the calls for formalisation of the partnership.

This 5th Edition of the festival is expected to start on the 14th to 17th August, 2019.

Head of Editorial Department Ochieng’ Rapuro admitted that the County’s potential as a Tourist destination and the successes of devolution and implementation of flagship projects needed better coverage which would be achieved through strengthening of relations to increase presence of the media house.

The DG also raised the issue of training their reporters, offering internship opportunities to Turkana County students and CSR opportunities to the community.

Also in attendance was John Emeripus (Director of Public Communication), Jimmy Nzivo (Commercial Manager – SG) and local Standard Media Group correspondents.

COUNTY TB PROGRAM ON 3RD QUARTER PERFORMANCE REVIEW MEETING

The head of Turkana County TB and Leprosy program Dr. Job Okemwa led a team of stakeholders to a one day programme Performance Review meeting at the wellness center of the Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) this morning.

During the meeting, it was communicated that the infrastructure for TB management included 29 diagnostic sites, 211 facilities, 55 treatment sites and 6 treatment zones.

Participants of the meeting noted the slight improvement in the diagnosis of TB cases has been due to the innovative approaches in contact tracing and testing.

The roles and contributions of the community health volunteers (CHVs) were also noted as significantly in supporting the process especially in respect to community based approaches and strengthening active case finding at household levels.

Dr Okemwa noted that the involvement of Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO) has helped in training at least 15 CHVs in every sub county of Turkana.

Dr Okemwa noted that the key priorities for the ministry in combating the TB problem would be hinged on strengthened IPC training, contact management, upgrading of TB treatment infrastructure and establishment of new diagnostic sites.

It was further noted that safety of health care workers handling TB patients had not been prioritised as expected. The meeting resolved to upscale the screening of facility staff with the help of the ministry after every six months.

The factors that contributed to lessening the TB burden in the county included; partners participation especially IRDO, advanced drug resistant TB training of 20 clinicians at Kakuma, existence of harmonised county and national strategic plan on TB, health advocacy and cross border treatment initiatives.

Despite the progress made, the setbacks realized over the period were; lack of localised TB messages, weak linkages between the facilities and the community and knowledge gaps on the part of the CHVs on TB management.

The challenges notwithstanding, the county TB program has been able to initiate active case finding, involvement of CHVs, contact tracing and management and partnership with EGPAF.

The ultimate goal of the TB program is to eradicate the TB problem from the county of Turkana and the country as a whole by the year 2030.

MoH Communication

COUNTY GOVERNMENT AND FAO LAUNCH GIS LABORATORY SYSTEM IN LODWAR

Turkana County has joined select counties in Kenya that benefit from a Geographical Information System (GIS) laboratory established by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro led FAO Country Representative Gabriel Rugalema in the launch of the lab that will be hosted at the County Ministry of Lands, Energy, Housing and Urban Areas Management. The system will support the County Government in digitisation of records related to land.

Speaking during the launch DG Lotethiro said the system will enable the County Government develop digital data register which will support better decision making, planning, implementation and monitoring of development programmes. 

“The GIS lab is great milestone in administration of land related matters and will be an important tool in development. The digitisation of records will also support revenue collection as it gives us layout of businesses at the touch of a button.”

He said the system which was developed through funding by the European Union (EU) will be critical in food security programmes, reduce land related conflicts and support spatial planning of urban areas by the County Government. 

On urban planning the DG said GIS will be used in the development of Lodwar Municipality and the future Kakuma/Kalobeyei Municipality to monitor growth and expansion to ensure maintain order. He stated that the County intended to develop spatial planning for the entire county.

He insisted that the data developed through the lab will be crucial to private developers who had an interest in investing in the county.

DG Lotethiro commended the partnership with FAO under the Land Governance Programme whose main goal is to enhance food security through better land management. The programme is being implemented in seven other counties including Tana River, West Pokot, Marsabit, Samburu, Laikipia, Nandi and Baringo.

He called for a continuation of this partnership to develop the capacity of County Government staff to manage the system and registry that whose construction is set to be completed this financial year.

FAO Representative in Kenya Dr. Gabriel Rugalema said the GIS lab was part of the organization’s support to ASALs counties to enhance “equitable and secure access and management of land for improved livelihoods and socioeconomic development in the framework of Vision 2030”. He added that the system will help limit conflicts over boundaries between counties.

EU Country Representative David Mwangi termed the launch a milestone in enhancing digital access to land information for better land administration; and expressed hope that more youth and women will be involved in use of the system.

County Executive for Lands Dr. Anthony Apalia said land for the Lodwar Municipality fire station has been identified, with a fire engine procured by the County Government to be availed within two months. He assured a public sensitization exercise will be carried out before decongestion of urban centers already planned begin in September.

In the launch were a host of MCAs led by Willy Nalimo who is the Chairman of the County Assembly Committee on Lands, Chief Officer for Lands Joshua Lemuya, FAO’s Project Manager for Land Governance Programme Husna Mbarak as well as representatives of the National Land Commission (NLC) and the Council of Governors.

TURKANA YOUTH IS KEY IN ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY

County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Chris Aletia has challenged the Turkana youth to take advantage of the existing World Bank grants at the ministry to   come up with proposals on value chains to secure funding.

Addressing groups of aspiring artists today in Lodwar, CECM Chris Aletia said that funding of youth groups on value chains activities that include goat/sheep meat production, sorghum-cowpea intercrop, apiculture and poultry farming was part of the County Government plan to achieve food security by empowering youth economically.

CECM Aletia assured the youth that ministry through the National Agricultural And Rural Inclusive Growth Projects (NARIGP) is ready to help youths draft well written proposals that can secure funding.

Apart from increased budgetary allocation to the agriculture ministry as a means of achieving food security in the county, CECM Aletia revealed that the county government had plans to procure more farm machinery and increase land for crop productivity through flood-based farming in this financial year. 

He said that County Government was committed to addressing issues of food security through reclaiming more farming land and increased food productivity despite cycles of drought that hampered its efforts. He stated that the ministry had knowledgeable staff and experts to capacity build groups on how best to promote the four value chains activities under NARIGP.

NARIGP is a National Government project funded by World Bank with an objective of increasing agricultural productivity and profitability of targeted rural communities in selected 21 Counties. Its main objective is to increase Agricultural productivity and profitability of targeted rural communities in selected counties.

The County Agriculture minister also promised artists,  who have been in Lodwar for a three-day training on “PARTICIPATORY EDUCATION THEATRE  FOR YOUTH GROUPS” that the ministry would lobby for a space for them to perform during the upcoming Tobong’ulore event slated for next month.

County Agriculture Deputy Director, Paul Lokone, said that the government had stepped up efforts on farming by adopting modern farming techniques and planting of drought resistant crops like sorghum and cowpeas that withstand varying weather conditions. He encouraged youth to work closely with NARIGP which he said offers an employment opportunity through business.

CECM Aletia had earlier own hosted officials from German International Development agency, GIZ, to discuss on the selected sites for farming as well as  trainees who will be traveling to Mekele University (Ethiopia) to training on flood-based farming. The selected sites for farming through the flood based system includes; Lodoopua in Lobokat ward, Korich in Kangatotha ward and Namortot in Lakezone ward.

The ministry has partnered with GIZ to train five County government agriculture officers for two weeks in Ethiopia to learn on modern and improved technology on flood-based farming. The officers will also have a further six-week field training while implementing the projects on the selected farming sites.

STATEMENT ON THE COUNCIL OF GOVERNOR’S LEGAL PUSH OVER THE DIVISION OF REVENUE IMPASSE

As the immediate former Chairman of the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Governor of Turkana County, I unequivocally support CoG’s decision to seek for legal advisory from the Supreme Courton the issue of division of revenue between counties and the National Government.

After the failure of mediation attempts between the Senate and the National Assembly, I believe that the buck stops with President Uhuru Kenyatta after he un-procedurally approved the Budget and Appropriations Act 2019for the National Government before the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 is enacted into law as is required by the constitution. The President has contributed to the creation of the financial crisis which threatens to grind to a halt service delivery by County Governments and holds the key to unlocking the impasse.

The success of the President’s Big Four Agenda is reliant on County Governments ability to provide sustained and effective service delivery. It is a shared understanding between both levels of government that intergovernmental coordination is crucial in implementation of the Big Four. However, the impact of this deadlock will be far reaching as counties will be forced to shelve implementation of their development plans and will be unable to deliver services to the public.

The difference of Sh17 billion from the Sh335 billion recommended by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and the Sh310 billion approved by the National Assembly means counties will be forced to reduce budgetary allocations to key sectors such as healthcare, food security and other infrastructural development that are part of the Big Four.

The additional funds demanded by Governors and as recommended by CRA is a small amount out of the huge Sh3.02 trillion national budget.  This I believe is a small sacrifice for the rural communities of Kenya who are far from the center and whose access of government services is heavily reliant on the smooth running of devolved units.

As we wait for an outcome from the apex court, it’s my hope that the President will take charge of the situation and have the National Assembly and Treasury follow the law byincorporating recommendations by both the CRA and Senate.

H.E Josphat Nanok

Governor, Turkana County

TURKANA AND KAPOETA LEADERS ENDORSE KENYA, SOUTH SUDAN BORDER AGREEMENT

Leaders from Turkana County and Kapoeta State of South Sudan yesterday endorsed an international border agreement signed between Kenya and South Sudan, to solve border conflict between the two countries.

In a bilateral meeting held in Kapoeta, the leaders unanimously declared their support for the boundary delimitation and demarcation MoU which was signed by Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Monica Juma and her South Sudanese counterpart Nhial Deng Nhial in Nairobi last month.

Led by Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes and Governor Josphat Nanok, the leaders held consultations with the South Sudanese delegation headed by Governor of Kapoeta State Louis Lojore Lobong, and were sensitized on the contents of the MoU whose implementation agreement was signed by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Salva Kiir in 17th June.

The leaders committed to embark on joint community sensitization exercise and drum for the support of boundary delimitation and demarcation as solution to intercommunity conflict the Turkana and Toposa and to deepen existing relations between the two countries. A community sensitization committee was formulated to spearhead the drive, comprising of elected leaders from both sides.

In his remarks Governor Nanok informed the leaders that the meeting was a directive of Presidents Uhuru and Salva Kiir who had insisted upon the interaction of two sets of leaders. He acknowledged that the two communities had held extensive previous engagements on peace and security of the border.

He said: “I know there will be issues to do with colonial history on boundaries and migration patterns but there are mechanisms set in the MoU for the communities to express themselves and for bodies formed to look at that and make a decision.” He said the diplomatic framework of the MoU depended on joint sensitization of the communities to ensure delivery of one message.

CS Munyes said the leaders’ meeting was important to build consensus on the MoU and develop teamwork ahead of the boundary delimitation and demarcation. He assured leaders that the MoU had been drafted in the spirit of friendship and the process of its implementation tailored to jointly seek solutions to the boundary issue.

Host Governor Lobong thanked the two presidents for the wisdom to seek for a resolution of a long standing problem over the boundary. He reiterated the calls by other speakers that the border demarcation should encourage communities to “build bridges rather than barriers”.

The meeting set the joint community sensitization exercise for the last week of this month in Nadapal, Kibish town, Nasinyono and Napak in Kenya and Narus, Naliel, Napwatasigira, Nanyangachor and Lotimor/Nakuwa.

The leaders also addressed emerging security issues along the border and passed resolutions to foster peaceful coexistence in the course of the boundary delimitation and demarcation initiative.

Members of Parliament who were part of delegation included Senator Malachy Ekal, who urged the leaders to rebuild the sense of brotherhood between the two communities according to their shared ancestry as members of the larger Ateker. Others were Daniel Epuyo (Turkana West), Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North), John Lodepe (Turkana Central), and Mohamed Ali Lokiru (Turkana East).

Speaker of the County Assembly Erastus Lokaale led a host of MCAs were also present in the meeting, who included Leader of Majority Bethwel Lochor, Leader of Minority Benedict Lokamar among others.

County Secretary Peter Eripete who accompanied the Governor said the Kenya- South Sudan border remained one of the least developed of Kenya’s borders but said the MoU if well implemented will solve the problems that had hampered development. Other officials were CECM for Public Service and Disaster Management Esther Lokwei, Senior Advisor for Security, Peace and Borderlands Initiatives Cpt. (Rtd.) Augustine Lokwang and Director Peace Col. (Rtd.) Edward Lojore among others.

From the national government were the Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, Director of the Kenya International Boundaries Office Jasper Nkoroi, Kenya Ambassador to South Sudan Pius Mburu and other officials from the Office of the Attorney General.

UNHCR DENY REPORTS OF DEATHS IN RECENT KAKUMA CONFLICT AS COMMUNITIES COMMIT TO PEACE

The UNHCR Kakuma Sub-Office has today dismissed reports of deaths in Wednesday’s unrest that erupted from demonstrations over cases of insecurity within the refugee camp.

During a meeting between representatives of the Somali refugee and host Turkana communities, Camp Manager Kasili Mitambo clarified that during the incident the refugee groups and local community did not clash and reports of deaths that were circulated on social media were greatly exaggerated.

During the talks attended by County Secretary Peter Eripete representing Governor Josphat Nanok, local leaders led by area MP Epuyo Nanok and heads of security agencies of Turkana West sub-county, both communities denied that there was a conflict between them and insisted that isolated cases of armed robbery were to blame for interruption of the peaceful coexistence.

CS Eripete said two communities have lived as brothers and sisters for long and needed to sit and talk to amicably solve conflicts that arise for peaceful coexistence.

He said the conflicts if not managed ran the danger of interrupting implementation of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Programme (KISEDP) which has been hailed as a global model for integration of refugee and host community. The CS advised the local community to channel existing grievances to rightful authorities and cautioned that escalation of disagreement painted a poor picture of integration efforts.

Area MP Epuyo Nanok urged the communities not to blow challenges that arise out of proportion and called for strengthening of existing conflict resolution mechanism between them.

Senator Prof. Malachy Ekal said the Somali and Turkana as pastoral communities had lived together peacefully since the setting up of the camp and some had even inter-married. He wondered why it had become difficult for slight disagreements to be resolved despite years of friendship.

Deputy County Commissioner Mohamed Dara commended the two communities for taking steps to build cohesion after the incident. The meeting agreed to hold meetings for community representatives on Monday to pass resolution and further foster peaceful coexistence.

Also present was County Public Service and Disaster Management Executive Esther Lokwei and Turkana West Sub-County Administrator Esther Kiyonga.

MCAs in the meeting included James Ekaran (Kakuma), Bethwel Lochor (Song’ot), Joseph Nyang’a (Kalobeyei), Evans Ekai (Lopur), Epuu Elim (Letea), Cosmas Long’or (Nanam) and Nicholas Ewoi (Nakalale).

Head of Kakuma UNHCR Sub Office Sukru Cansizoglu was also in attendance.

COUNTY MOH, AGA KHAN PLANNING TO EXPAND SPECIALISED MEDICAL SERVICES IN TURKANA

Leadership of the county MoH led by CEC Hon. Jane Ajele and the CCO Dr. Roberts Abok received a delegation of officials from Aga Khan University Hospital at the health headquarters in Lodwar this morning to explore the possibility on partnership on various areas of mutual interest

Aga Khan University hospital team was lead by the head of outreach Mr Jamal and his assistant Mr. Mburu.

Aga Khan delegation expressed interest of establishing a specialised inpatient and outpatient medical facility within Lodwar town for to offer teleradiology and specialist medical consultancy services in the near future

The delegation further hinted at the possibility of providing support towards accelerating realization of full UHC status in Turkana county

CEC Hon Ajele expressed her gratitude towards the visit and guaranteed support of the county towards the good plans of the Aga Khan University hospital

CCO Dr. Roberts Abok added that retention of specialist medical providers in the county of Turkana and Kenya as a whole has been a challenge. He commended Aga Khan for establishing measures to reduce the brain drain by offering the medics an opportunity to serve in their facilities

The meeting was also attended by the county director for medical services Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel and the Ag director policy, planning,monitoring and evaluation Sarah Lokaala

HEALTH CEC JANE AJELE FLAGS OFF MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO SUB COUNTIES

Turkana county CEC for health and sanitation Hon. Jane Ajele has today flagged off medical supplies worth more than ksh 22 million to the sub counties from the LCRH. The order is part of medical supplies order worth 92 million that will last for six months.

The medical supplies delivered by the Kenya medical supplies agencies (KEMSA) as part of the 2018/2019 back order is expected to sustain the county supplies for up to six months

During the flagging off, CEC Ajele reitarated the commitment of the county ministry of health towards availing the best pharmacy services to the population seeking for health services anywhere across the Turkana county.

The event was also attended by the director medical supplies Dr Epem and the entire county and sub county officers in charge of medical supplies

Hon. Ajele used the opportunity to commend USAID funded Afya Ugavi for strengthening the capacity of the medical supplies unit by routinely organizing quarterly data review exercises for the last two years

She also confirmed that the county had earlier on signed an MoU with KEMSA to show commitment towards supporting delivery of UHC by consistent supply of drugs

Director medical supplies concentrated on efforts to initiate commodity security and accountability. He pointed out that his department has directed all health facility committees and in charges to minute all drug deliveries and maintain up to status stock cards.

The consignment was flagged off to Turkana North, kibish, west, South, East and loima sub counties after thorough inspection by the county acceptance committee