President William Ruto has said the government is ramping up security operations in Turkana County and its environs to combat cattle rustling.
The President said the Government will deploy National Police Reserve to help police officers manage the security of the region.
He added that three new sub-counties, Suguta, Lokiriama and Aroo, will be established and operationalised within 90 days.
“We cannot allow a few people to cause insecurity and derail our development agenda,” he said.
He made the remarks on Thursday during the Turkana Cultural and Tourism Festival (Tobong’u Lore) in Lodwar, Turkana County.
The annual event brought together members of the community from South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Present were Cabinet Secretaries Alfred Mutua and Aisha Jumwa, Governors Jeremiah Lomorukai (Turkana), Jonathan Bii (Uasin Gishu) and Mohammud Ali (Marsabit), and MPs and a host of MCAs.
President Ruto said the Government is putting in place a framework that will protect and promote Kenya’s traditions.
The Head of State said cultural assets will be instrumental in enhancing cohesion and stimulating economic growth.
He noted that the focus on culture will propel cultural industries, creative economy and tourism.
This, he noted, will expand economic opportunities for the youth.
“Our Plan identifies the creative economy to be the prime driver of transformation and employment creation,” he said.
To achieve this, President Ruto explained, the Government is implementing robust legislative bills including the Culture Bill that was approved by the Cabinet last week.
“Others like the Creative Economy Framework, National Kiswahili Council of Kenya Bill, the Kenya Film Bill, the National Heritage and Museums Bill, are currently being developed,” he said.
The President observed that the festival has promoted peace and security and deepened regional integration and cooperation in the region.
President Ruto said the Government will spend Ksh 800 million to enhance electricity connectivity in Turkana County to spur economic growth.
President Ruto pledged to deliver a charter to Turkana University in the next one year.
He said the government is exploring strategies for utilising Lake Turkana to revive the blue economy in the county.
The President said the Kenya Meat Commission will take over local abattoirs and establish a hides and skins centre to boost cattle farming.
Mutua called for the development of airstrips and other facilities in Turkana County to ease the movement of tourists.
“Let us have exhibition halls and develop a tourist circuit to boost tourism in Turkana,” he added.
Jumwa asked community leaders to spearhead the eradication of cultural practices that undermine the human rights of their members.
“The government will not tolerate practices like female genital mutilation, early child marriages and denying children access to education,” she said.
Governor Lomorukai (ODM) vowed to work with the government to address the challenges facing the people.
“I was voted for by the people of Turkana. I will therefore not be intimidated by other leaders,” he said.
Bii lauded the government for ensuring counties receive funds on time to finance their development agenda.