Narok County Governor today welcomed Safaricom’s new expansion plan for Narok County. Speaking at the official opening of an ultramodern Safaricom shop in Narok town, the Governor thanked Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore for the renewed faith in the county and called for an expansion of Safaricom's network to cover all parts of the county.
Currently, some parts of Narok such as Mosiro and Loita have patchy mobile network reception.
In his remarks, Safaricom CEO revealed that the new Narok shop is part of Safaricom’s new regionalization strategy that includes setting up of regional head offices and expansion of the 3G network. In Narok, the company has already installed an additional twelve cell sites over the last few months and intends to add two more. Meanwhile, the current 73% national coverage of the 3G network will be raised to 80% by the close of the year.
Governor Tunai later held discussions with Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore at the County offices where the two agreed to pursue a closer partnership. In particular, the Governor called for a more robust corporate responsibility presence by Safaricom in Narok in sectors such as school bursaries, flood mitigation and borehole construction.
The governor also called for the Maasai Mara anti-poaching project of upgrading mobile phone reception in the park – which is being undertaken jointly by Safaricom and the National Government – to be expanded to cover all parts of the county.
Only days after calm settled in the troubled Olpusimoru area, Narok Leaders led by Governor Tunai have began the difficult task of rebuilding the shattered lives and livelihoods of the affected families.
Yesterday, Governor Tunai led a team of leaders from Narok County in presenting building materials to the affected families. Among the leaders accompanying the Governor were MP Soipan Kudate and Nominated Senator Liza Chelule.
As he has done since the outbreak of the destructive skirmishes on Christmas day, the Governor spoke strongly against ethnic prejudice and disregard for the law that was experienced in the area. He assured area residents of his administration’s support and called on leaders and the affected families to remain calm and embrace reconciliation.
Olposimoru is now calm as elders from both communities, backed by the County and National Governments, proceed with reconciliation efforts. The donation of building materials is part of the County Government’s initiative to enable those whose houses were destroyed to rebuild their homes and foster peace.
The Government of India and the County Government of Narok have agreed on a program to market the Maasai Mara in India and boost technical training of qualified Narok students, particularly in engineering, ICT and medicine.
The agreement was reached today when the Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E Ms. Suchitra Durai paid a courtesy call on Narok Governor Samuel Tunai. Under the arrangement, the India High Commissioner will support Narok County’s marketing of the Maasai Mara tourist destination in India, including the possibility of roping in a major Indian music or movie production in the Mara.
India will also offer scholarships to qualified Narok students as well as facilitate the County in establishing concessional training arrangements with selected Indian universities. The two governments will also pursue a students and cultural exchange program.
The two leaders also discussed the increasing Indian investor interests in Narok since the County held its international investment conference last month – which High Commissioner Suchitra Durai attended.
Governor Tunai lauded the High Commissioner for supporting the investNarok Conference and noted that almost half of the investors who signed agreements at the conference were from India.
The governor revealed that one Indian investor is set to break ground on January 21 for a 50-bed hospital and medical training college while the construction of wheat and maize processing plants will commence in February.
The India High Commissioner was accompanied by her husband, former Ambassador R. Swaminathan, and their son. The family proceeded to the Mara for a brief holiday.
An update of the Narok investment summit and calls for unity of purposes and objective criticism were the overriding themes at the Jamhuri Day celebrations in Narok.
Also featuring dominantly was the announcement by Narok Governor Samuel Tunai that the county government was fast-tracking the issuance of Title Deeds in Narok town and the Group ranches that are yet to be fully sub-divided.
Governor Tunai led the official ceremony at the Maasai Mara University grounds in the company of County Commissioner Afande Mutindika, County Women Representative Soipan Kudate and Deputy County Assembly Speaker and Mara MCA Joseph Tubula Otuni.
Also present were Majority Leader Stephen Saibulu Kudate (Naroosura MCA) Benard Parsaloi Torome (Narok Town MCA), MCA Rapanke Ole Samante (Ildamat), Dickson Nchoe Muntet (Olorropil), Salankat Memusi Nchoe (Mosiro), Moses Kimutai Cheruiyot (Sogoo) and Rono Luguny (Angata Barrikoi).
As befitting the occasion, the Governor paid homage to the national heroes whose efforts led to the independence of our nation Kenya, and noted that the fruits of freedom in a nation on the right path are security, increased job opportunities, good health and the efficient use of national resources for the good of all citizens.
The Governor recalled that it was now only about three years since the advent of devolution and county governments and the steps that his administration had taken to move the county forward are evident to all because they have been done in the open.
In regard to investments, Governor Tunai revealed that the investors who made commitments at the investNarok Summit of 3-4 December were on course to set up industries at the county, among them an abattoir, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, maize and wheat milling facilities, a dental hospital and solar energy production facilities.
The leaders present touched on the need for the people of Narok, more so those in leadership, to avoid tribalism, work together, and objectively assess government performance as distinct from offering endless criticism that does not acknowledge any development taking place. Narok County Women representative Soipan Kudate termed those who do not concede any development even when it is obvious as people who are only interested in their own personal gains rather the gains of the county. The County Commission weighed in by asking the people of Narok and their leaders to remember that the existing leadership was elected by the people and therefore deserves respect.
Good news: Narok Deputy Governor, Evelyn Aruasa is fine.
The Deputy Governor had a medical scare earlier today at the graduation ceremony of Masai Mara University when she felt dizzy and had to cut short her speech.
She recovered fully within minutes but was rushed to hospital for a medical check-up. The doctors at Nairobi Hospital have since determined that it was an incidence of normal fatigue and recommended she stays overnight for observation.
The eagerly awaited Narok county investment summit – investNarok Summit – that took place on Thursday and Friday is sending ripples across the county and the nation at large.
Virtually all notable media covered the event led by live coverage by NTV and KASS TV, plus multiple live links by Mayian FM. Nosim FM and Kass FM were also covered the summit as did all the national newspapers. The national TV stations carried the event in prime time prominence news, including multiple prime-time news live interviews of Governor Samuel Tunai.
The big news, naturally, was the staggering investments numbers: investors signed up for investments worth $536 million, approximately ksh53.6 billion. The projects in the bag include an Abattoir, wheat and maize milling plant, a solar power plant, pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant and a potato processing firm.
Investors from across the world attended, alongside Kenyan investors and a contingent of Narok based investors. Deputy President William Ruto and Tourism Minister Najib Balala joined Governor Samuel Tunai in presiding over the event. Also present were Transnzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba and Environment PS nominee Charles Sunkuli.
But the Narok investment summit was also notable for the sheer sophistication of the organization. The staging was spectacular, with a digital multiple screen backdrop in massive tents set right within the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
To cap it all, Deputy President William Ruto joined Governor Tunai and Tourism Minister to host a live on TV panel discussion on investments. The arrangement allowed investors to directly engage the two levels of government and get clarifications on the spot – and in full view of the entire nation.
Maasai celebratory songs rent the air at the plenary hall of the United Nations in Gigiri, Nairobi, as Narok First Lady Sarah Tunai received a UN Commendation Award.
The occasion was the UN Day which commemorates the day in 1945 when the UN Charter came into force, leading to the founding of what is today the premier global union of nations. This year’s celebrations marked the 70th universally of the UN.
First Lady Sarah was awarded for her work in support of eco-manyattas, the modernized environmentally friendly manyattas that she has been championing, and her campaign against female genital mutilation as well as her ongoing programme in support of girl-child education.
In a moment that took the UN dignitaries by surprise but which they evidently seemed to enjoy, the Narok County traditional dance troupe, resplendent in Maasai attire, escorted the First Lady to the stage and ceremoniously accorded her a heroine’s reception.
That Maasai touch set the hall abuzz and set the tone for the day. As each of the two other award winners, Bernard Chepchumba and Martha Karua, took the stage to receive their awards, the day’s guest of honor Finance CS Henry Rotich called on the Narok team to the stage to crown the moment. And the dancers, who are this year’s East Africa Community state organ traditional dance group champions, obliged with style and gusto.
Benerd Chepchumba received an award for his work in polio immunization while Martha Karua was celebrated for her pioneering efforts in fighting for women rights through her legal practice and in politics.
The First Lady was accompanied to the event by her husband Governor Samuel Tunai, family members and friends. Also present to support the First Lady were her counterparts from Machakos and Taita Taveta, First Lady Lillian Nganga and First Lady Hope Mruttu.
Among the dignitaries at the event were the Director-General of the UN Office in Nairobi Sahle-Work Zewde, Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro.
The event also saw the launch of the UN70 postage stamp by Stephen Munita of the Office of the Postmaster General.
Narok Governor Samuel Ole Tunai yesterday held consultations with the County Assembly on new laws to manage new investments in the county as well as reform the management of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
In a day-long consultative meeting, the governor updated the assembly on the progress made in preparations for the Narok Investment Conference slated for the first week of December, and explained the need for an investment board to oversee all investments in the county.
He also apprised the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) on the progress the county government has made in reviewing the Maasai Mara Management Plan.
The County Assembly team was led by Speaker Ololtisatti Ole Kamwaro, majority leader Stephen Kudate, minority leader Dickson Muntet and Chief Whip Richard Keter. In a another sign of the close working relations between the County Assembly and Governor Tunai, only two of the County’s 47 MCAs were absent from the meeting – and the two had sent apologies.
On investment, Governor Tunai reported that over the last few months, international consultants working for the county government have mapped the resources and investment opportunities in the county and prepared investment memorandums for potential investors. Subsequently, the governor has held multiple bilateral meetings with private and state investors in India, UAE, Turkey and Oman.
As a result, two investors have committed to set up an abattoir and a potato processing factory. Discussions over several other investments are at an advanced stage, including a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and a high end private hospital. Many other investors have confirmed participation in the investment conference in anticipation of making investments.
The governor asked the County Assembly to enact a law establishing an investment board so as to oversee all aspects of investments during and after the investment conference. Investment in Narok has to be anchored in law, declared the governor.
On Maasai Mara, the governor revealed that a bill to revamp the management of the game reserve would soon be tabled in the County Assembly. He asked the MCAs to debate and enact the new law as soon as possible so as to enable the county government implement far reaching reforms.
The new Mara Management law will set and enforce standards in quality, location and type of tourism facilities in the Mara, as well as define relationship with local communities, including setting up new laws on land use, grazing and community sharing of profits from the reserve.
The governor also noted that virtually all Narok MCAs attended the meeting and thanked them for their support and spirit of cooperation.
It was a day of music, dance and poetry at this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations at the Maasai Mara University Grounds. The Narok County Cultural Troupe performed one of the dances that won them this year’s East Africa traditional dance trophy. Five year old Christabel Bonareri from Door of Hope Primary School recited her famous poem about floods. One of her key issues with floods: the lack of maize “choma” when it floods.
In all, 17 dance groups, choirs and schools performed – and more would have done so were it not for time constraint.
But it was matters of meat and potatoes that stole the day. Governor Samuel Tunai, the day’s guest of honor, took the occasion to announce that two foreign investors have confirmed plans to set up a meat processing and, separately, a potato processing firm in the county.
The two firms mark the first batch of investors to enter Narok since Governor Tunai began a concerted international campaign to woo investors in preparation for the county’s first investors’ conference. For the first time, the Governor also announced the date of the much anticipated investor conference: December 2nd-3rd.
The Governor also explained that he was looking to get investors in the major produce sectors of the county, in particular wheat, maize, meat and milk processing. There is no reason, he declared, why Narok’s produce should be leaving the county without value-addition and the added returns to our farmers.
Citing the ongoing Tarmacking of the Nairagie Enkare road, the governor assured residents that his administration would continue its development efforts in all other sectors. In this financial year, the county government will spend 2 billion on roads alone.
Not surprisingly, the El Nino rains – which have not yet started in Narok – featured in the proceedings. Narok East MP, Lemanken Aramat, set the ball rolling with a tongue-in-cheek complaint against the meteorological department for making famers prepare for the rains only to discover the rains would be late. Governor Tunai, County Commissioner Afande Mutindika and Deputy Governor Evalyn Aruasa followed up on the subject with a caution to residents to prepare for the rains and, if necessary, move to higher grounds. The Governor added that the County government would continue the construction of check dams in the Olopito and
Ntimama Dam areas to ensure the floods do not cause the level of damage they caused earlier in the year.
There were, too, echoes of Nairobi at the Narok Mashujaa Day event, particularly on the raging national debate over Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang cases at the international Criminal Court. Like President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Mashujaa Day national event in Nairobi, Governor Tunai took issues with the ICC’s for attempting to stop Kenyans from discussing the case. The ICC is expected to lead by example, declared the governor, and not entertain a rule such as Rule 64 which allows the court to admit recanted evidence. He argued that not even the world’s most infamous dictator, Hitler, had such a rule, and that protecting the right of the victims is no justification to trample on the rights of the accused.
Narok County had a big Sunday yesterday as the Suswa historic grounds hosted a record 200 MPs and Senators – besides the host Governor Samuel Tunai, Samburu Governor Moses K. Lenolkulal, Narok deputy Governor Evalyn Aruasa and Nakuru Deputy Governor Joseph Ruto. The event was the prayer rally for Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang who are facing an increasingly controversial case at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Upwards of 90 MCAs from Narok, Nandi, Kajiado, Nakuru and Kisii were also in attendance. That made it the best attended prayer rally for the ICC duo since the current round of prayers began.
Perhaps inevitably, the rally also saw an incredible number of speakers take to the microphone. From the host MP, Ken Lemanken Aramat to the last speaker, Majority Leader Aden Duale, no less than 82 MPs and Senators addressed the gathering.
The Suswa prayer rally was also the first since ICC Judge, Nigerian Chile Eboe-Osuji, inexplicably spoke out on the series of prayer rallies being held to seek divine attention and express dissatisfaction with the way the Ruto-Sang case at the ICC is being handled.
But if Judge Osuji had expected his veiled reprimand to cow the Jubilee leadership, the Suswa rally put paid his expectations beyond a doubt. Speaker after speaker emphasized that Kenya is a sovereign country where citizens routinely criticize their leaders and institutions – including the Supreme Court, Parliament, the county governments and the presidency – and can therefore not succumb to treating the ICC any differently. All speakers at the rally read the ICC reprimand, which Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen called a ‘msomo’ as a sign that the ICC was feeling the heat of Kenyans opposition to how it is conducting itself and an attempt to intimidate Kenyans into silence.
Taking cue from the welcome address by host Governor Samuel Tunai, the leaders also pointed out that Kenyans believe in prayers and would therefore continue praying regardless of the court’s discomfiture. The court’s recent decision to admit recanted evidence under Rule 64 was also roundly criticized as being against the basic principle of natural justice. Rule 64, declared Governor Tunai, was an anachronism that did not exist in any other court system, not even in the worst dictatorships.
An interesting angle to the ICC reprimand also emerged at the rally. In the press statement by all the leaders that was read by Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau, the leaders pointed out the curiosity of Judge Osuji speaking out on a matter which neither the prosecution nor the defense or the victims lawyer had raised. As explained by Senator Murkomen who is a lawyer, a judge never addresses a matter that has not been moved by a party to a case. Yet Judge Osuji had done exactly that, in effect acting as an interested party to the case rather than a judge.
The meeting also witnessed a big announcement. As explained by Majority Leader Aden Duale, almost 200 MPs had already signed a petition and delivered it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for onward transmission to the UN Security Council and ICC Assembly of State Parties. The petition contests the retrospective use of Rule 64 and calls for the activation of the ICC Statute on oversight over the court’s prosecutor and judges.
The bottom line: Once again, as has happened many times before, the historic Suswa Grounds – a sacred prayer ground to the Maasai Community – lived to its reputation as the place where major political declarations are made. This time it was the ICC getting a ‘msomo’.