Samburu County Council Visits World Travel Market
This Years World Travel Market was honoured by the visit
of the Samburu County Council to Excell in London. As guests of the Kenyan
Tourist borard they 'spread the word' by promoting the wildlife and people
of Samburu. Visitors were treated to videos of the lions and Elelphants
of the Game Reserve. Enthralled by the video presentations and chatting
with the representatives of the council on their stand. People flocked from
all over the world to see them. Old friendships were re-kindled and new
friends were made.
Here you can see the Kenya stand
The team spent happy hours amongst friends and left exhausted
but pleased with the links they had made.
Nothing but smiles from the Samburu Council
Roll on next year, which promises brighter and better things.
Brothers and sisters,
Ladies and gentlemen.
I salute you all in the name of our fore fathers.
I feel honored to take this opportunity to sincerely address you on this our auspicious week dedicated to us pastoralist.
We, the pastoral communities of Kenya, occupy some of the
most difficult areas in the country, namely arid and semi arid lands. Here
the weather is harsh with little rainfall that does not support agriculture.
We thus had to adopt pastoralism as a way of life and an economic activity.
As keepers of livestock, to survive we have to move from place to place in
search of pasture and water for our source of livelihood, our livestock. This
movement is entirely dependent on the weather conditions that we are compelled
to learn, adopt and predict thoroughly. We are entirely dependant on this
rainfall patterns and attached to our ancestral land. Nomadic pastoralism
is dependant and requires large tracts of land. Any interference with either
the land or the movement pattern puts the livelihood of our people in jeopardy.
Since the advent of colonialism and all through the independent governments, the lives of pastoralist have been interfered with in so many ways. The colonial and even the after independence developers were of the opinion that pastoralism is not an economic activity. To curb its continuity, they enacted draconian laws that prohibited the keeping of large herds, grazing rules and even moved a section of the pastoral community from their prime homeland to marginalized areas.
Nomadic pastoralist do not practice sedentary form of life and as such they were and are now being denied development in form of education, health facilities and communication infrastructure as a way to discourage them from the practice. To date the successive governments after independence have not shown much in form of development in the pastoral areas. Pastoralism is really being destroyed not only by the government denying basic facilities to the pastoralist and improvement of the sector, but also by middlemen from dominant communities, masquerading as businessmen and who have connived with government officials and other development agencies to curtail the capacity of the pastoral communities to control their destiny in form of trade in livestock. Pastoral communities have been denied the requisite education and empowerment; cheap and affordable credit facilities, infrastructure and security. The later being a recipe for the development of trade and other development activities.
The pastoral communities have rich and diverse cultures that are being exploited for touristic purposes by the dominant groups. To promote tourism in Kenya one has only to depict a member from the Maa group to hit the nail on the head. The Maasai and their kin the Samburu are used as marketing tools and yet they derive little from tourism. Their traditional regalia/ costume is dotted all over the country and yet during the search for the national dress, shamelessly and through machinations, it was ignored.
Pastoral and ancestral land was acquired initially to settle white immigrants after the wars. When some of the immigrants left and the government acquired the land it used it to reward sycophants and members from the dominant communities in the name of settlement of squatters. Pastoral communities, particularly the Maa group, that were originally the landowners were left out. This culminated in the recent Maasai land claims that we support and where the government met with unnecessary excessive force. Several people were injured with one fatally. Other lands were alienated for conservation and military training that have no direct benefit to the communities involved e.g. The Amboseli National Reserve. The communities were not involved or consulted. Free prior informed consent was therefore lacking. As if this insult was not enough, the government again came in and gazetted large tracts of land as military training areas e.g. the much-publicized Samburu range.
In Pastoral lands there are large deposits of precious stones and other minerals. To ensure that the pastoral communities do not reap benefits from these deposits, laws were enacted to make anything below the surface to belong to the state and that licenses can only be obtained from the state!
All this affected the size of land available for pasture, thus infringing on the very survival of the pastoral communities. The diminishing size of the land, coupled by reduced water and salt lick sources as a result, intensified ethnic conflicts for scarce resources. This culminated to open warfare, cattle rustling and highway banditry, a problem the successive governments were not able to contain. The quest for more arms escalated, as the government could not offer security. As a result, proliferation of small arms intensified and with the government pumping more arms to the communities in the name of community policing even intensified conflict further and decimation of wildlife.
The resultant poverty, saw increase in small arms and turned cattle rustling and highway banditry into an economic activity! More people also migrated to urban areas, where apart from facing the demands of a completely and challenging new environment they settled for cheap and lowly paid casual jobs, particularly security or commonly referred to as watchman, a profession commonly associated with the pastoral communities as a result of little or no formal education. Unemployment among the pastoral communities is also one of the highest in the country. During the national recruitment for the forces, the pastoral communities districts are allocated fewer slots. E.g. In samburu during the last recruitment for KWS rangers, out of the probable 460 recruits, it was allocated only 5!
The government has completely failed to improve the capacity of the pastoral people. Veterinary services are no longer in place while marketing of livestock have completely been ignored. Cheap and affordable credit to jump start economic activities has been removed from the districts. In samburu for example, the joint trade loan board was transferred to Nyeri while AFC to Nyahururu.
Gender is apparently not a priority in pastoral communities. It is now time for the relevant authorities and partner development agencies to come in and offer their expertise. Pastoral communities must be ready to change for the better before change takes toll of them. Gender imbalance and inequity in all sectors need be addressed. Cases of rape have been on the increase and the government is apparently doing nothing to curb the vice. Military personnel training in Laresoro, samburu district, have wantonly raped women. Recently, two women were gang raped and murdered in Maralal within two days. A sorry state of affair!
Last but not least is the issue of infrastructure. Very few pastoral urban areas are connected to the national grid. Roads leading and traversing pastoral areas are in shambles. The Isiolo Moyale road for example, has not been tarmacked despite funds being allocated over the years. We support the great walk to demand the tarmacking of this and other roads.
I congratulate our brothers and sisters who endured the long and arduous walk to bring to the attention of the nation and the international community the plight the pastoral communities endure.
I thank the civil society and other stakeholders for their valuable and generous support for the walk. I call upon them not to relent in their stance until balanced development is realized and as called for in the ILO convention NO. 169. On this note i call for an affirmative action on development in the pastoral areas for the millennium development goals to be achieved.
I further call upon the government to ensure that all lands alienated or gazetted for conservation and military training be reverted back to the control and management of the relevant communities for their use in order to generate revenue for their direct benefit.
The pastoral communities and the civil society, together have a promising future.
We must struggle and reverse the imbalance.
To borrow the words of Nelson Mandela, the former freedom fighter and first black president of South Africa this is an ideal that we cherish and live for. It is an ideal that we are all ready to suffer relentlessly to achieve.
LONG LIVE PASTORAL COMMUNITIES, LONG LIVE THE CIVIL SOCIETY.
Archers Post Samburu.
Fellow councillors, Council staff, Stakeholders, Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I salute you all.
It is with pleasure and honour that I address you here today on the state of this Council. This is a new initiative which I hope, in this era of reforms, transparency, accountability, efficiency and collaboration, will shade light on the operations and state of this Council. It would have been appropriate that this address was delivered sometimes in October 2004 before our financial report was published. However, it is better late than never. Our LASDAP process could not have been complete before then. I do hope that this initiative is brought on board and adopted by the Council and continue to be observed annually after the completion of the participatory rural appraisal (PRA) process, approval of the estimates by the minister for Local Government and publication of the estimates in the print media, that is now mandatory.
It is with confidence that I state this Council has achieved significant progress in implementation of socio-economic development projects in line with its objectives. This is one of the Councils that command significant respect from fellow councils and the mother ministry. The projects under-taken by the Council have contributed immensely to changing the standard of living of the people. It works in close collaboration with other stakeholders that include line ministries, bilateral institutions, NGOs, local communities and CBOs. It is my pleasure at this juncture to announce the councils intention to establish a partnership desk specifically to co ordinate our dealings with our various development partners.
Since early 1990s, the government through the ministry embarked on implementation of reforms. The reforms were aimed at enhancing effective delivery of services in an efficient manner. This address takes cognisance that no serious organization today can afford to do without self assessment (both internally and externally). Feedbacks are therefore necessary from those it serves. Preparation and implementation of projects should therefore adopt participatory approach. It is expected that through this process, the aspirations of the district towards achieving equitable and sustainable development will be met. I therefore call upon all stakeholders to continue to support and participate in the planning and implementation of identified projects to avoid overlaps and duplication. This is why you are here today. Your suggestions will be respected and put into consideration.
The Councils mandate is wide. It is guided by Cap.
265 of the Laws of Kenya and periodic circulars from the ministry. It is this
Councils vision to
be able to provide effective services, promote good governance and ensure equitable and sustainable economic development. To achieve this, the Council has the responsibility to reduce poverty through effective delivery of required services, promote good governance, transparency, accountability and setting of suitable by-laws. The Council core values among others include teamwork, integrity, co-operation, innovation, creativity and technological compliance.
The last two financial years 2001/2 and 2002/3, saw the Council
in its trying period financially. As a result of negative advisories in the
major tourism markets, particularly the United State that had been a major
source, earnings from tourism was at its lowest. This Council derives
90% of its revenue from tourism. It was therefore at pains to achieve its
targets on revenue collection and thus service delivery was greatly affected.
Collection of revenue from other sources was also not effectively done due
to impropriety by some members of our staff, an issue the Council is addressing.
The government too contributed its share of problems by not releasing LATF
in time and also by not clearing its indebtness with the Council in form of
cess in lieu of rates (CILOR), which now stands at over Ksh. 70 Million. Although
the council estimates to collect about Kshs 106 million, LATF included of
Kshs.16 million, this fiscal year, with a resultant surplus of about Kshs.5
million, there are indications that more revenue may be realised as a result
of an upturn in the tourism sector. Our performance for the six months ending
31/12/04 is income Kshs.47, 333,480/- against Kshs.90, 854,196 /- budgeted
and expenses Kshs.37, 148,875.65 against Kshs.89, 743,091/-
With the intended review of Cess in lieu of rates (CILOR) from Kshs. 10/- to the, current prevailing national rate of K shs.140/- per acre there are indications that our annual budget may rise from the current position (Kshs.106 million) to over Kshs. 200 million per annum!
The sheer size of the district (21,000 sq km), difficult terrain, harsh weather, poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and unemployment hampered revenue collection. Between 2001-2004 the Council received Kshs 45 million from LATF. Operations were hampered by insufficient vehicles and high running and maintenance costs. The Council however, now managed to complete repairs of its vehicles and is considering purchasing a new one. This will bring the number of vehicles in good working condition to eight. Continued maintenance of roads in Samburu National Reserve and wheat growing areas were also affected by the breakdown of the Councils only grader. This resulted in hiring or external contracts awards, which are expensive. However, resources permitting plans are in place to either purchase a new grader or subject to communities prioritising it through the LASDAP process, contribute towards the purchase of two graders through the Constituencies Development Fund.
As a result of the continuing reforms, the ministry slapped a ban on employment. This has seen the Council discontinue with casual and part-time labour. The Council has not been able to create new job employment opportunities as a result. However, to utilise the existing staff effectively
and efficiently and to avoid external dumping, the Council has embarked on a vigorous training exercise to build capacity and improve skills. From 2001 to date, 14 members of staff have been sent for various relevant courses and to enhance motivation, those who are successful are rewarded through promotions both internally and Public Service Commission (PSC). 3 members of staff were recommended to PSC for promotion and were approved. Currently, our staff ratio is 57.67%, which is within the recommended level. It is with pride to note that, unlike other councils, and despite the high number of staff, this Council has had no problem in meeting their remuneration in time.
The Council has a fairly strong capital and revenue base. It owns various buildings in the district, which are landmarks, the prestigious Samburu Lodge and Larsens camp. Market buildings will be considered for construction in strategic centres like Archers Post and Suguta Marmar with external funding be sought. We may not wish to repeat mistakes committed in the past whereby the council engaged in large capital outlays in non-strategic areas, resulting in white elephants e.g. the Baragoi market. Over the years the Council has been able to grow modest savings now standing at 17 million. It is currently not indebted as was able to clear arrears of staff salary increments, statutory deductions and other sundry debtors. This fiscal year the council has set aside about Kshs.4 million for debt resolution 25% of LATF.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Council is already technologically compliant. Computers are in place and plans are that soonest most of the operations will be computerized, particularly the accounts section. Skilled personnel are also in place and the Councils website is already online. Our survey department, in particular is already computerised and there are indications that sooner, most plots in our centres will secure title deeds. Computer literacy is key to development and the council is investing heavily on this. It is also a critical marketing tool. Marketing of SNR has never been our priority in the past. Not until we visited the World Travel Market in London that we realised how backward we have been. All the years we have been allocating a paltry Kshs. 500, 000/- for marketing. This was only for brochures, maps and the like. Our travel was even made difficult by the ministry due to this small budget, as adequate provision must be in place to secure clearance. It is imperative therefore that in future adequate provisions are made available for travel purposes to enhance marketing. We therefore intend to increase this line budget to about Kshs. 2 million in the next fiscal year and thereafter.
This Council plays an important role in education and capacity
building. Other than training our staff members, the Council also in collaboration
with other development partners occasionally organises workshops/seminars
for staff and councillors alike and it also avails resources for communities
and institutions to either initiate their own development projects or be trained.
Conservation was allocated Kshs.500/000/-, communities surrounding
SNR Kshs.2, 000,000/-, grants to the disabled Kshs.500, 000/- and livestock marketing and disease control Kshs.600, 000/-. The Council employs pre-school teachers and sets aside funds for payment of bursaries to Secondary schools, Colleges and Universities to the tune of Kshs.6, 000,000/-. 50% of LATF this fiscal year was directed to improving educational facilities. (Kshs. 8 million)
Between 2002 and 2004, the Council disbursed over Ksh. 20 million in form of bursaries. Since education is the districts main tool to reduce illiteracy and poverty, this Council will continue to assist in payment of bursaries. Indeed, this expenditure is one of our major budget line item. Over Kshs 10 million has been used to assist in capital projects and provision of equipments in schools during the same period.
The Council is also involved in other projects such as health and water. Over the last years it has invested over Kshs. 7 million in these sectors.
This fiscal year, the council has set aside Kshs. 32,962,820/-for projects. Local revenue will contribute Kshs.17, 100,000/- and the remaining will come from LATF.
In my quest to ensure that the councils invest diligently and that funds are properly utilised, I visited Baragoi and Nyiro divisions to assess development projects. I will soon be visiting Wamba and Uaso Divisions in Samburu East for the same, followed by the Leroghi and Kirisia divisions in Samburu West.
To enhance efficiency, the Council in collaboration with SNV is critically looking at the systems, capacity building and image improvement. The Council undertook an organisational self assessment and will soon embark on an opinion poll survey to gauge its rating from those it offers services the community. There will also be need to carry out a competency and knowledge assessment among our staff in order to build a database and identify gaps for further improvement and training.
On matters concerning environmental issues, I am afraid to state that currently, the Council despite having an environmental committee is not very active. However, with the advent of EMCA (Environmental Management Co-ordinating Act) and the proposed forest bill, the Council will have to be more focused and pro-active.
Ladies and Gentlemen, without development partners, this Council, due to inadequate resources, may not be able to achieve some, if not most of its objectives. To this end, I wish to recognize the Councils collaboration/co-operation with African Wildlife Foundation, who among others assisted us to develop and implement a GMP for Samburu National Reserve and as earlier mentioned, SNV in their quest for efficiency improvement and governance.
The Council too, collaborates with ALGAK, line ministries, local NGOs, CBOs and lastly but not least, the recently formed Inter Council Forum (ICF) that brings together eight (8) Councils situated in the North Rift. The forum will focus on conflict management, Tourism and Trade development; Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), bringing together councils and communities within the range and dispersal area of the samburu elephant and engaging in conservation, Maa Conservation and Tourism Development Forum (MC&TDF) for the development and marketing of tourism products within the Maa areas and control of culture to maximise benefits to the owners by reducing exploitation by outsiders, specifically the tour guides/drivers and the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF).
I have, even at personal level tried to reach out at partners
in development and will strive to do so for those I have not contacted yet.
This council cannot be an island of its own. We need relations; we need partners
to enhance the development of our people. We need to minimise overlaps and
duplications. We need to consult; we need to work together. United we are
strong and will achieve; divided we will fail and be done!
As we come up with proposals from all our locations, for the next fiscal year and given the responsibility to assess them, Political consideration apart, I call upon you all to be focused on real issues and feasibility of chosen projects that should be seen to benefit the wider community, (even if it has to transcend political or administrative boundaries) as long as the eventual goal is to enhance socio-economic development and reduce poverty.
For those remarks (many or few), Ladies and gentlemen, I declare this workshop officially open, and beg to move.