President Uhuru Kenyatta today announced that the Government will put in motion a raft of measures to boost the economy of Central Kenya.
The President, however, put leaders of several counties on the spot for being stumbling blocks to development that should benefit the people.
First among the measures announced by President Kenyatta is the formation of a high-level committee that will look into the woes that have bogged down the coffee sector.
The committee will not be specific to Central region coffee issues but will have a national scope covering all areas where the crop is grown, said the President.
President Kenyatta made the announcement at State Lodge, Sagana, where he hosted leaders from the five counties of Central Kenya. Leaders from Laikipia and Nakuru Counties.
The leaders included MCAs, Members of the National Assembly, Senators, Governors, elders and religious leaders. Leaders of youth groups were also not left behind.
The President said measures will be put in place to turn around the fortunes of coffee and tea farming besides efforts to revive collapsed factories.
“The Government will do all that it can to make coffee a profitable crop again. If it means changing the laws on coffee licensing and controls so be it,” said the President when he addressed the leaders at State Lodge Pavilion.
The President, however, urged the leaders to rid coffee societies of the rot of dishonesty.
He said even if the Government pumps in money to turn around the sector, honest leadership will still be required to safeguard the interest of the farmer.
“We will name a committee to look into the coffee issues next week but as the Government tries to help you, you have to look into how coffee societies are managed,” said the President.
The President said measures will be taken to look into all development issues raised by the leaders and promised that he will hold further consultations with leaders from each county.
The President did not finish before turning the heat on leaders who block development.
The first example he cited was the Mwea irrigation scheme whose revival has been stalled by infighting between leaders and controversies about compensations.
He called on Kirinyaga County leaders to resolve local disputes so that the project can progress.
The President also put the leaders of Nyandarua County where controversies fueled by myths about wind turbines have blocked a major wind energy project.
President Kenyatta called on the leadership of the county to get their act together because they are losing an opportunity to have a major project in their area.
The Head of State, who was in a jovial mood, sent the more than 2000 leaders in the Pavilion roaring with laughter when he explain why he has not travelled frequently within Central Kenya.
“I like to visit Central Kenya often but I have a problem” he paused, keeping the audience in suspense, as he placed his notebook down on a table.
“There is so much infighting between local leaders here and the problem is that all of the leaders are my friends. And whenever I visit, they fight in front of me,” said the President.
There was laughter and cheers from the audience, who must also have realised that the President was on point given that Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu had thrown barbs at governors a few minutes before the President spoke.
The MP sought the President’s intervention in a row over roads. “We MPs have sourced funds from the National Government but Governors have blocked the construction of the roads and we need your help in this issue” he said.
The President was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Nkaissery (Internal Security), Charles Keter (Energy), James Macharia (Infrastructure), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution) Eugene Wamalwa (Water and Irrigation), Joseph Mucheru (ICT), Cleopa Mailu (Health), Jacob Kaimenyi (Lands) and Sicily Kariuki (Public Service, Youth and Gender).