Maralal gets its first tarmac road 52 years after independence

maralalA 10-kilometre tarmac road is set to change the face of Maralal Town upon completion in February. The road is being constructed alongside a 35-kilometre line of street lights through the town’s major streets. Apart from a small section of the Isiolo-Marsabit highway that passes through Archers Post Town in Samburu East, the tarmac road in Maralal will be the first in the county since Kenya gained independence 52 years ago. The dusty town hosts the International Camel Derby, Maralal Wildlife Sanctuary, Kenyatta house and is the county headquarters. Leaders and residents say the town and county were deliberately neglected by previous governments.

Mr Alex Lolongoyo from Shabaa Village said unfulfilled pledges by politicians made him believe construction of a tarmac road in Samburu was impossible. “Women and children from my village used to trek to town during Christmas to pose for photos on the only tarmac surface at Maralal Police Station,” the 62-year-old said.

ELDERLY HERDERS

The new Constitution and devolution have made it possible for Mr Lolongoyo and other elderly herders to see a tarmac road. The Sh300 million road was commissioned in April last year and construction began in July.

Probase International, a Malaysian company, was contracted by the county government to build the road. Construction of a kilometre of a road using the probase technology costs just Sh30 million. Doing the same using traditional Kenyan methods costs between Sh80 million and Sh120 million per kilometre.

However, some town residents have been questioning the quality and durability of the road. Mr Edwin Gachie, the project’s engineer assured the residents that the eight-metre wide road would last 10 years.

PROBASE TECHNOLOGY

He said Samburu was the second county to adopt the probase technology after Meru. Roads, Transport and Public Works Executive Stephen Lekupe said the project would see Maralal realise its dreams of a rapidly growing urban centre with a 24-hour economy. The county government plans to lobby with the County Assembly and National Government for another 100 kilometres of tarmac road. 

The new road is projected to pass through Maralal, Wamba and Baragoi towns. Before the contract was awarded to the company, County government officials travelled to Malaysia to see roads built using probase technology.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Fish trade in Lake Turkana suffers blow

Commercial fishing in Lake Turkana has taken a beating due to siltation and interference with breeding zones. Traders are staring at a bleak future after quantities of fish went down. Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) says Lake Turkana can generate Sh3 billion per year if well managed. The situation will worsen if the Ethiopian government goes ahead with its plan to construct a dam on River Omo which empties over 90 per cent of its waters into the lake.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS OPPOSITION

DNLakeTurkana1406bEnvironmentalists in the area have opposed the planned construction of Gibe Dam. “The water levels in Lake Turkana which is source of livelihood for over 20,000 families will go down by 60 per cent if the dam is constructed and will interfere with the marine life,” said Mr John Mame, chairman of the Impressa Beach Management Unit (BMU) that brings together environmentalists. Ethiopian has received donor funding to constrict a dam that will be used for irrigation and generation of electricity.

“Kenya and Ethiopia must save Lake Turkana from extinction,” said Mr Eyang’an Ekidor of Friends of Lake Turkana Environment Group. Mr Ekidor called on the government to allocate adequate resources for research to establish economic potential of the lake under the poverty eradication programme in devolved system of government. KMFRI cites interference with breeding zones, siltation and use of improper fishing methods as some of the factors that contribute to waning quantity of fish in the lake. Mismanagement of the Kalokool fish processing plant and attacks of fishermen by militias are also derailing fishing in the lake. “The plant has not operated to its full capacity due to mismanagement and political interference. Insecurity has also scared away investors,” said Mr Hosea Akoru, a fish trader at Kalokool Beach.

APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT

He appealed to the government to beef up security along the Lakeshores to facility commercial fishing activity and boost income generation. “The frequent attacks by militias has scared away potential investors from engaging in commercial fish activities and  improve income generation and living livelihood of the locals,” added Akoru.

The government has however deployed additional Kenya Marine Police to patrol the Lake following the recent resigning of a peace agreement between Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders to contain armed conflict between Turkana and Merrile communities. The marine police have been posted to patrol Kalokool to Todonnyang’ to counter attacks by armed militia and promote trade.

Fishing activities at the Lake had drastically declined after most traders moved out following recurrent attacks by raiders from the two communities. Seven people including an administration policeman and a Kenya Police Reservist (KPR) were last year killed at the lake by suspected Merrile raiders who also escaped with fishing gear.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Insecurity, climate change blamed for slow progress in war on malnutrition in Garissa

gar picSecurity challenges and climatic change have been cited as the biggest hindrances to addressing malnutrition in children and mothers in the reproductive stage in Garissa County. Speaking during the launch of the Garissa County Nutrition Action Plan, Dr Farah Amin Hassan, the Garissa County medical director, said several health facilities used in addressing malnutrition in the county had been closed as a result of insecurity.

He said drought had also been an impediment in fighting malnutrition in children under the age of five and mothers in the reproductive stage, noting that a lot of effort is needed to reverse the trend. Dr Hassan, however, noted that medical personnel had been sent to Hulugho and Fafi sub-counties, the most affected by insecurity caused by constant terror threats along the border.

PARTNERS

The function was also attended by representatives of International Medical Corp (IMC), Unicef, Mercy-USA, ActionAid and other donors. A maternal and child nutrition programme was launched that Dr Hassan said would ensure all work done by donors and the government is coordinated into one to avoid confusion.

“We have seen there are many actors involved in addressing malnutrition and there is a need to bring together an action plan for all our partners so that everything is coordinated into one to produce a document and to mobilise resources to address this problem,” he said. Garissa Deputy Governor Abdullahi Hussein, who was chief guest during the function, said malnutrition in the county had drastically declined since the inception of devolved governance.

He noted that in 2008, malnutrition was at 25 per cent compared with the current 11.4 per cent. He said malnutrition was a threat to the county’s sustainable development goals because it affects the education of children. He added that there was a need to sensitise and involve communities in the fight against malnutrition.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Church leaders condemn Narok clashes

Baringo Church leadersOver 100 church leaders have condemned the violence in Narok County that has displaced more than 2,000 people. When they met Governor Benjamin Cheboi at his residence in Kabarnet on Thursday, they said the two communities should co-exist peacefully for the sake of development. Bishop Daniel Chemon of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya said the situation in Narok County was a threat to national security.

“We pray for peace and appeal to residents to remain calm. The government should deploy more officers to beef up security in the area,” he said. Dozens of houses belonging to Kipsigis and Maasai villagers were torched in a retaliatory attacks following the killing of two herders in Maasai Mau Narok Forest on Wednesday, last week. The clergy also praised leaders for the peace witnessed in the North Rift, saying it had given residents time to engage in meaningful development.

Banditry has not been reported in Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Turkana and Samburu counties for the last three months. Mr Cheboi recently termed the peace as encouraging.

PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE

“Peaceful co-existence, especially on the borders of Tiaty, Baringo North and Baringo South has enabled us to speed up development. This should be maintained,” Mr Cheboi said. The war on insecurity was boosted a few weeks ago when more than 100 bandits publicly denounced cattle rustling and promised to promote peace.

The North Rift has not known peace for years. More than 400 people have been killed in the last one year. The number includes 19 Administration Police officers killed in Kapedo on the Turkana-Baringo counties border. Meanwhile, an Esoit Village family in Olpusimoru, Narok is mourning the loss of their Standard Seven child killed as they fled the clashes on Boxing Day. Mr James Kones, 64 and his wife Violla Chepkoskei are yet to come to terms with the tragic events that robbed them of their second born child.

Their house was also razed by the attackers. Like many other villagers, the family slept in the cold on December 26, fearing attacks as tension mounted. They were in a thicket near their home at 4am when Mr Kones spotted a group of about 100 armed youths approach. He immediately alerted his wife and children and told them to flee. Only later, around 6am, did they notice that a member of the family was missing. Mr Kones said his son Amos Kipkorir, must have stumbled and fallen.

POLITICS PLAYED ROLE

Like many other families, Mr Kones’ sought refuge at Township Primary School in Olenguruone. Though the Maasai insist that the cause of the fighting was the killing of two herdsmen, administrators insist politics played a role. At a meeting in the troubled area on Sunday where Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery ordered a ceasefire, speakers pointed to the possibility of politicians fanning and funding the conflict. Speakers, including Rift Valley Regional Security Coordinator Osman Warfa named a man they said was at the centre of the Mau controversy, prompting Mr Nkaissery to order his arrest. The man, popularly known as Kalyaso Tol Tol, is said to be wealthy and well-connected. According to Olpusimoru MCA Wilson Masikonte, the standoff among leaders over the Mau Forest has political undertones, with the 2017 elections in mind.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

ABOUT PDNK

Pastoralist Development Network - of Kenya

We are an advocacy NGO established under a Trust deed number 791 DI 4453128 in 2003. The network is a conglomeration of 60 pastoralists’ individuals, NGOs and CBOs and non-pastoralist institutions and individuals supporting pastoralists’ development process in Kenya. It draws its membership from North Rift, South Rift, North Eastern and Upper Eastern regions of Kenya representing 14 pastoralist Counties. Its mission is to lobby for the inclusion of the pastoralist agenda in mainstream development with the vision of a prosperous pastoralist society.

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