NYANDARUA, Kenya Feb 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has kicked off his extensive countrywide tours, starting with Nyandarua where he vowed to protect his legacy by fulfilling his pledges.
Speaking when he launched a road project, President Kenyatta spoke in parables, blaming people who have been going to the ground to launch projects which never took off, and pledged to ensure all projects financed by the government are implemented.
The President, who began his visit in Njabini by launching the construction of the Sh1.8 billion Njambini to Naivasha road, also commissioned the construction of a Sh100 million potato processing plant at Ol’Kalou.
The potato cold storage and processing facility will be equipped with a high volume borehole that will supply area residents with clean water.
The day-long tour also saw the Head of State launch a Sh4 billion Stawisha SME Mashinani, a national program by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development aimed at supporting small businesses in the country.
Stawisha is fashioned as on one-stop-shop to provide business advisory, asset financing, working capital, project finance and grants to SMEs either at start up, expansion or modernization stages.
Speaking in Ol’Kalou at the close of his visit, the President said the launch of projects in Nyandarua County is part of a broader government plan to implement development projects that will uplift the lives of Kenyans across the country.
“These projects we launched today are aimed at improving the lives of the residents of Nyandarua and are part of our wider plan to improve the lives of Kenyans across the country.
“We want to improve our roads. We also want every household and business to be connected to electricity to boost and also enable people to engage in small businesses that will benefit them,” the President said.
On the cold storage facility, the President said the new plant will help cut out middlemen from the potato business who have exploited farmers for a very long time.
The 20,000 metric ton storage facility occupies three acres of land and is one of the three cold storage facilities that the national government plans to set up June this year.
The other two cold storage plants will be constructed in Kisii and Meru Counties, at a cost of Shs 100 million each.
President Kenyatta observed that the Ol’Kalou cold storage facility will enable farmers to store their potatoes for upto six months, a move that will enable them to sell their harvest at a time when prices are at their best.
Nyandarua produces over 30 percent of the potatoes consumed in the country but it is estimated that over 40 percent of the potato harvest go to waste as a result of lack of cold storage facilities.
The Head of State also assured Nyandarua residents that the government will also construct a potato processing factory that will help in value addition and create jobs for the youth.
On the Stawisha SME Mashinani, the President advised those who will benefit from the program to use the affordable credit to boost their businesses.
Sectors eligible for the Stawisha SME Mashinani support include agro and food processors, building and construction materials, wood furniture and metal fabrication, medical facilities, leather, textile and apparel, pharmaceutical processing and electrical and electronics works.
President Kenyatta once again emphasized the need for Kenyans to unite and live together in harmony, saying no development will be realised without peace.
He urged leaders to stop engaging in politics at the expense of serving the people who elected them.
“We know Kenya is a democracy and we hold elections at every five years but now is time to serve the people and not to concentrate on advancing personal interests at the expense of the welfare of Kenyans,” the President said.
The President had earlier in the day kicked off the issuance of title deeds to residents of former colonial villages by issuing 707 title deeds for five villages at Rurii, one of the campaign promises he made to the people of Nyandarua County.
He directed Lands CS Farida Karoney, who was present, to ensure that 5099 title deeds for the remaining 22 former colonial villages are issued within the next three weeks.
Leaders who accompanied the President included Agriculture CS Peter Munya and Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia among other local leaders and senior government officials.