Rongena shopping centre at the boundary of Mara and Ilmotiok wards had a day to remember on Friday as Governor Samuel Tunai presided over a fundraiser like none other. Flanked by his deputy Everlyn Arusa and 7 MCAs, the Governor led the people of the two wards in raising a record 7 million for widows from the two wards.
It was the first time a harambee has been held for widows in Narok – and possibly the first time so much money has been raised for widows anywhere in Kenya. Governor Tunai brought 2 million from the county government and an additional 1,930,000 from his friends and associates. Deputy Governor Everlyn Arusa, the unofficial patron of the moment because it was her that the two women groups had first approached for help earlier in the year, chipped in with 500,000.
Governor Tunai also brought an additional 500,000 from Deputy President William Ruto.
Later, Bomett Governor, Isaac Rutto – whose county’s border with Narok is a few kilometers from Rongena – joined the harambee and added 200,000 to the kitty.
The MCAs in attendance all enthusiastically supported the fundraiser. The host MCA, Deputy Speaker Ketuyio Otuni gave 800,000 while six of his County Assembly colleagues backed him with various contributions. Nominated MCA Monica Chebet gave 200,000 while Narok Town MCA, Benard Torome and Siana Ward MCA Siololo gave 20,000 each. Ilmotiok MCA Barusei, Nominated MCA Lucy Ololngojine, Ilkerin MCA Ezekiel Kiprono and Sogoo Ward MCA Moses Cheruyiot added 10,000 each.
The two women groups, led by Mama Elizabeth Masasa from Ilmotiok ward could not hide their joy at the hugely successful fundraiser. They recalled how they had initially approached Deputy Governor Arusa for help in raising funds in March this year and how she had linked them to the Governor who turned out to be greatly interested in their plight. The two women groups thanked the governor and his team for the support and promised to invest the funds in income generating ventures that could give a livelihood to all the women involved.
A visibly happy Governor Tunai assured the two groups – and all women and youth of Narok – of his support in line with his promise in his election manifesto to empower women and youth across the county. He promised to follow-up on the national funds for the elderly and, to cap a hugely successful day, promised to continue with his efforts to marshal investors to set up a milling plant in the area. Already, the Narok County Government is finalizing plans for a major investor summit later this year and several investors have expressed their interest in setting up milling and other major investments in the County.