14 Counties forge common front to fight COVID-19

Fourteen member counties of the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) have formed a common front to upscale the fight against COVID-19 as the disease begins to spread at community level.

The Counties Friday unveiled a 21 member LREB Covid-19 resource mobilization and mitigation team comprising businessmen, philanthropists, industrialists and professionals to help in resources fundraising to fight the pandemic

The Governors of Kakamega, Kisumu, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Busia, Bomet, Siaya, Nyamira, Migori, Kisii, Kericho , Nandi and Vihiga counties  say the new fundraising approach seeks to have resource mobilization sourced from within the counties.

Cabinet Secretary for Interior, in a speech read on his behalf by his Devolution and ASAL areas counterpart Eugene Wamalwa during the unveiling of the team at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports centre hailed the initiative saying there was need to increase internal capacities within counties as a common approach to mitigating the effects of the virus.

Matiang’i said the National government efforts in combating Covid-19 was beginning to bear fruit adding that inter-county cooperation was vital in enhancing wananchi’s participation to fight the disease.

He said already a number of private and public entities were making face masks and sanitizers and that this has gone a long way in flattening the Covid-19 infection curve in the country.

“Improving internal capabilities at county level is vital for long term solution in tackling the spread of the disease,” he added.

This is the new team of the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB) Committee of Eminent Persons charged with mobilization of resources to fight COVID – 19 pandemic among the 14 member counties. Chaired Prof. Khama Rogo, Deputy Dr. Catherine Mumma and a renowned music icon Esther Akoth aka Akothee the team will also advise the Governors in relation to the pandemic.

On his part, CS Eugene Wamalwa said the government has developed policy framework to give legal backing to the economic regional blocs to ensure proper operations.

“Government is in full support of Senator Rose Nyamunga’s bill before Parliament that seeks to develop policies and programmes to give regional economic blocks legal backing,” he said

Kakamega Governor, Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, who is also the LREB chair and of Council of Governors said he team is expected to spearhead resource mobilization for the 14-member LREB bloc and ensure proper coordination and utilization of resources in the region.

According to Oparnaya, the committee will among other things provide relevant advice and recommendations for control and mitigation of the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic across member counties.

Governors present at the function included Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Bungoma’s Wycliffe Wangamati, Siaya’s Cornel Rasanga, Vihiga’s Wilbur Otichillo, Nandi’s Stephen Sang and Bomet Governor Hillary Barchock. Others sent representatives.

Members of the team, chaired by Prof. Khama Rogo (formerly of World Bank) include Eliud Kipchoge, renowned athlete, Moody Awori, former Vice-President, Mr. P. Patel of Butali sugar and Esther Akothee of Akothee Safaris and a renowned musician.


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