PICTURE: MASHUJAA DAY CELEBRATIONS HELD ON FRIDAY THE 20th OCTOBER, 2017 AT MOI GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL’S GROUNDS – MARSABIT TOWN
The Great People of Marsabit
H.E. The Dep. Governor of Marsabit County, Solomon Gubo Riwe, 
Our First Lady, Mama Guyo
Honourable Senator, Marsabit County, Eng Godana Hargura; Nominated Senator, Senator Naomi Jillo Waqo; 
Hon Members of the National Assembly Hon Raso, Hon Safia Sheikh Adan, Hon Chachu Ganya, Hon Musa Arbele, Hon Kalicha Gufu:
County Commissioner, Mr. Mwangi Meru; 
Speaker of County Assembly, Hon Mathew Loltome; 
Honourable Members of the Marsabit County Assembly present here today; County Executive Committee Members, 
County Security Team; Our Esteemed Elders; Religious Leaders, Representatives of the Non-Governmental Organizations, 
Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen;
It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the 55th MASHUJAA DAY celebration. I would like to extend my warm greetings to you all – the People of Marsabit County, wherever you may be. 
Mashujaa Day is the day on which we pause to pay tribute to our National Heroes and Heroines present and past as well as reflect on what we can learn from their lives and experiences.  
As we enjoy the freedom we now have, we must remember that the road to independence was not a smooth one. It was a long, torturous and painful journey and many men and women lost their lives during the eleven years of emergency. Mashujaa Day offers us the opportunity to reflect on the virtues of self-sacrifice and patriotism shown by those courageous men and women in realising their dream. Theirs was a dream of a free, democratic and united Kenya, where everyone is secure and healthy. Yes, a Kenya where we all enjoy a quality life and other values that are pillars of a Country that is moving forward. 
Coming here today to pay tribute to the fearless men and women who fought for our country’s independence is a commendable show of patriotism and I thank you all for coming. 
Beloved People of Marsabit:
The heroes and heroines we celebrate on Mashujaa Day come from all walks of life, and from every community in Kenya. 
We salute the great efforts of the first leaders of pre-independent and post-independent Kenya who laid the foundation for our socio-economic development. Theirs was politics anchored on the voice of reason and devotion to serving humanity.
We pay tribute to them all and the only befitting reward we can accord them is to collectively live up to their dreams and vision by sacrificing our narrow interests for the sake of our country and county.
HEROES OF OUR TIME are numerous and they surround us wherever we are. A nurse in a remote village of Korr being woken up in the middle of the night to go and attend to a critically ill patient is a hero; the only car owner in a far flung village of Golole and a Boda Boda rider in Ileret who unconditionally wake up past midnight to offer emergency services, are heroes; a person who out of his kindness offers to pay school fees for the less fortunate child in Goro Rukesa is a hero; People who have set up orphanages and children homes and those who have initiated WhatsApp pages for charity causes are our heroes too. We celebrate you!
And to all our unsung heroes and heroines, our parents who struggle to pay schools fees for their children; traders and small retailers in Marsabit who struggle to sustain our economy; our livestock keepers and farmers who feed us; our gallant soldiers and police officers who have put their lives in the fore to protect us; and all individuals who struggle every day to make ends meet, I salute you all! This day is marked to observe your unsung deeds and personal sacrifices. 
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We cannot celebrate this day Mashujaa Day of 2017 without giving prominence to the mandate accorded to me by the people of Marsabit to spearhead socio-economic development and quality service delivery to them. 
Now, in an era of a new political dispensation and precisely with the Kenya’s devolution system, the surest way to honour our heroes is ensuring that economic resources have been dispersed to all Kenyans at grass roots irrespective of social status, age and political affiliation.
Undoubtedly, Marsabit County is a home to many communities and ethnic groups with diverse social and cultural heritage. This diversity should neither be a barrier to peace and development nor should it be an avenue for the political class to “Partition and Conquer” in the pursuit of narrow political interests. 
As I said during my inauguration, I remain convinced that, the aspirations and concerns of the people of Marsabit are indivisible. Therefore, in my administration, the politics of exclusion and division will have no place. 
Fellow County men and women, this is the first national celebrations since the last general elections. As we all celebrate this day together, we should also make it the day to set aside our differences and work together to realize our collective resolve to build a better Marsabit – Marsabit that is stronger & safer. Marsabit that is for us, All!
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Our founding president at independence told us that as a country we faced three major enemies of progress namely Illiteracy, Disease and Hunger. 
As a Country, we have since then made remarkable progress in reducing illiteracy, preventing and controlling diseases as well as improving on our food security thanks to the tremendous expansion of the Kenyan economy. 
But as a County, we still lag behind in overcoming the three enemies of progress. We remain as vulnerable as we were almost 50 years ago. As your Governor, I will work hard to reverse this narrative of fragility. I am determined to break down the cycle of the multi-dimensional and multi – generational poverty. 
In Marsabit, we are not able to overcome disease, because our healthcare services continue to face various challenges relating to facilities, staffing, equipment and drugs. The health care facilities we have are not sufficient to cater for the population of Marsabit, and the average distance to a health facility in the County is 52 kilometres, ten times further than the national target of 5 kilometres. This is why, despite our swift response to the Malaria outbreak in Dukana, Ileret and other areas of our county, we still lost over 20 lives to the disease outbreak.
While we will endeavour to improve our response mechanisms, ensure that medical equipment and drugs are available in our hospitals and all health centres, it’s our promise to you that we will also invest in preventive measures to reduce the incidence of disease thereby reducing the cost of curative health care.
To ease the burden of disease on the poor families, your Government has allocated 60M to facilitate access NHIF medical cover. We intend to support 500 individuals from every Ward to acquire NHIF cards, translating to 10,000 Principal Members across the county. This can total upto 40,000 to 50,000 persons covered per year.
To address challenges related to the availability of health professionals, your government has already initiated talks with the Kenya Medical Training College to establish a Medical Training College in Marsabit. We have also allocated funding to support this plan.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
55 YEARS after independence, hunger, especially during the dry seasons still remains one of our greatest enemies. 
Our recent efforts to distribute emergency relief foods in places like Marsabit Central, Laisamis, Sololo and Maikona towns are just stop-gap measures intended to save lives. Likewise, the procurement and supply of seeds to farmers in anticipation of the short rain season is aimed at improving preparedness. 
Insofar as fighting hunger is concerned, your government plans to build stronger and resilient livelihoods by deliberately focusing on the most productive sectors of our economy. We will place major emphasis on agricultural inputs and agricultural extension services, rigorous livestock interventions, from veterinary care, livestock marketing to rangeland and water management, as well as targeted support to the fishing industry. 
In this regard, your Government has secured funding in the tune of Kshs. 1.8B from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to supplement available resources for building livelihoods resilience. I intend to direct 50% of this fund toward the development of infrastructure for the supply of water to humans and livestock. We will rehabilitate all stalled water projects and initiate new ones to ensure that there is easy access to water throughout the County.
Equally, we have already secured Kshs 110M from EU to support the construction of fish processing plants and refrigeration facilities both in Loyangalani and Ileret.
Beloved People of Marsabit:
Admittedly, we cannot prevent droughts from happening. But what we will put in place adequate measures for preparedness, mitigation and recovery from its effects. Our objective is to end drought-related emergencies by the year 2022, so that drought will only be come but will not lead a disaster of an emergency nature.
As a starting point to Ending Drought Emergencies, I have instructed the CEC Member for Administration, Coordination of County Affairs & ICT, to fast track the development of Disaster Management Policy and ensure its finalization before the end of this financial year. 
Beloved People of Marsabit:
Regarding the development blueprints for all sectors in the County and overall socio-economic development plan, your Government is in the process of formulating the 5 year County Integrated Development plan (CIDP). In this regard, I have instructed the CEC Member for Finance and Economic Planning, to immediately initiate the review process of the 2013-2017 CIDP to better inform the development of a new CIDP for the year 2017-2022. 
Ladies and Gentlemen: 
Section 87 to 92 of the County Government Act 2012 provides for citizen participation in decision making on important matters which affect them. As of necessity therefore, we must involve ourselves in the affairs of our County. The development of the CIDP is envisioned to be highly participative where the views of the common Mwananchi and all stakeholders will be sought. To this end, we shall be visiting all the sub-counties to gather views on people’s priorities. 
I urge you all, to always take part in public participation when invited to do so. It is the surest way to express the priorities that the County Government should implement in your constituency or ward.
In conclusion, I wish to urge all of you to become heroes and heroines in your own ways. As we do this, let us unite in our common goal of building a prosperous and equitable county for the welfare of all. This was my pledge to you when I took up office 2 months ago, and I wish to renew my commitment to serve the people of Marsabit County with total dedication and impartiality, honouring the trust that you bestowed upon me by electing me as your Governor. I will endeavour to unite all Marsabit communities and move them together to a better future.
Finally, I take this opportunity to convey to all K.C.P.E and K.C.S.E candidates of the year 2017 my best wishes as they prepare to sit for their examinations. Ben our heroes. 
May God bless you All. May God bless Marsabit County.
Thank you.