Coast MPs have been challenged to lobby against the proposed community land bill which if passed as it is, will lead to alienation of huge chunks of the regions’ land especially the ranches.
Addressing the public in Mwatate during events to mark this years’ Mashujaa Day celebrations, Taita-Taveta governor John Mruttu pointed out that Coast region would be a major loser if the bill passes as it is and asked Coast lawmakers to fight for amendments to the bill to remove all contentious clauses.
“The case of Taita-Taveta county is a glaring example of how much the bill will alienate much of our land. Already 62 per cent of our land is covered by the Tsavo National park.25 per cent is covered by community ranches which if put under the stewardship of the national government we shall be left with only about a paltry 15 per cent of land area. That is outrageous,” said Mruttu.
The governor also faulted the bill for trying to remove the powers vested on the national Land Commission(NLC) and giving them to the lands ministry under the national government, saying this would reverse the gains that were supposed to be made in the system of devolution.
In a more radical move, Bura Ward MCA Flumence Mshila asked Coast MPs to fight against the bill or else risk losing their seats in 2017 elections.
“The ball is squarely in our MPs court since they are the one’s making laws at the national level. If they fail to fight against this bill and it sails through they should be prepared to kiss their political seats goodbye,” said Mshila.
education and development
Governor Mruttu, in his speech to the county, underscored the key role education played in development and pointed out that his government had taken several measure aimed at addressing the seemingly low academic standards in Taita-Taveta.
The governor pointed out that his government has set aside Sh 50m for bursaries and scholarships for bright needy students both in secondary and tertiary institutions.
Mruttu also revealed that more than Sh 6 million had been set aside for mobile library services that would take books and other reading materials to areas where the same were not easily available.
The governor said that the county government had so far employed 635 ECDC teachers and 13 supervisors in order to ensure that children from the county got a sound education foundation at an early age.
However, he pointed out that the county government could not play a central role in advancing the education agenda as most sectors of education had not been devolved.
The governor revealed that in the last fiscal year more than Sh89 million had been spent on different health institutions, key among these being the installation of a Sh 43 million CT scanning machine at the Moi Referral hospital in Voi.
He further revealed that in the current fiscal year the county government targeted to initiate 15 health projects at a cost of slightly more than Sh 100 million.