Three governors from the lower Eastern region have unanimously agreed to use the 7th Devolution Conference slated for Makueni County in April to market the region as an investment hub.
Addressing a joint media brief in Machakos Monday, Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and her Makueni counterpart Prof. Kivutha Kibwana also promised to continue working together to uplift the lives of the people in the region despite their diverse political affiliations.
The announcement came amid concern on whether the much hyped Southern East Economic Block (SEKEB) initiative has achieved anything worth writing home about since it was launched in October 2018.
The situation has further been compounded by an announcement by both Dr. Mutua and Prof. Kibwana in regard to their intention to run for the Presidency come 2022.
But the two have since dismissed the claims and insisted on their newly crafted resolve to forge a united front that will unlock the economies of the three Counties through mutual trading deals and shared resources.
“The idea behind the South East Economic Bloc was to help fast track development for the three counties and eventually improve the livelihoods of our people. It is for this reason we wish to involve all of us in planning for the upcoming event which will help in showcasing this region as an ideal investment hub in the country,’’ said Prof. Kibwana.
He further revealed that all the three Deputy Governors in the region together with top County executive officials will be part and parcel of the taskforce to undertake planning of the upcoming devolution conference.
Ngilu pointed out that the idea to jointly plan for the conference will be a major gain to the region in terms of attracting potential investors in line with the aspirations of SEKEB.
“We want to own this conference and not leave everything to the Makueni Governor as the benefits will be shared by residents of the region. We cannot develop and uplift the living standards of our people unless we unite,” she said.
Ngilu also said the region is fully behind the realization of changes to the constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
However, she called upon for the creation of more positions for women to help empower them, but was quick to challenge women to come out and contest for senior leadership roles instead of complaining from the sidelines.
“Kenya has enough resources to be shared among the 47 million people. We want to bring this wealth together for the benefit of the people through constitutional amendment which will ensure more resources are channeled to the counties,” she said.
Dr. Mutua also backed the ongoing debate on the BBI saying the initiative will cure the curse of electoral violence that has become synonymous with every general election cycle.
The governor said as leaders of the lower eastern region they will continue pushing for the recognition of the needs of the area and ensure they eventually form part and parcel of the final document.