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New CSs come into office breathing fire

Judy Akuma, Seth Onyango, Wangui Githugo and Robin Obino @PeopleDailyKe

Four newly-appointed Cabinet Secretaries yesterday took office and vowed to ruthlessly deal with shortcomings that have blocked service delivery.

Keriako Tobiko (Environment), Prof Margaret Kobia (Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs), Farida Karoney (Lands and Physical Planning) and Simon Chelugui (Water and Irrigation) reported to their new offices with a vow to effectively deliver. At the Environment Ministry, Tobiko warned Kenya Forest Service (KFS) personnel over massive illegal logging in government forests. Tobiko warned that he would weed out rogue KFS rangers colluding with traders in illegal logging.

“There are saw millers who are not following the laid down procedure. Their licences will have to be revoked,” he said as he assumed office at Mazingira House in Nairobi. Tobiko, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, took over the environment docket from Prof Judi Wakhungu who was appointed Kenya’s ambassador to France.

At Ardhi House, Karoney promised radical changes, foremost being dismantling cartels that target public land. She also pledged to streamline the lands management system, which has been manipulated by cartels to grab both public and individual land.

Her vow comes amid allegations that ministry staff had been colluding with businessmen to grab public and private property. “I know there are those stories about the cartels. I believe that if we have the right system we will do what we have to do. Our staff need to know that the people they need to serve is the ordinary Kenyan,” she said.

Karoney said she would speed up the digitisation of lands records. Only 18 out of 57 registries are digitised. On her part, Kobia described youth unemployment as a ticking time bomb, which needed proper planning. Kobia said efforts from NGOs, churches and private players had not yielded significant change in creating meaningful jobs for the Kenyan youth.

Consequently, Kobia called for a different approach in mainstreaming youth empowerment programmes in order to generate jobs. “The youth constitute 75 percent of our population.

We need to re-evaluate our strategies to come up with practical solutions to help them have some form of income,” said Kobia. She said the Big Four agenda of the Jubilee government had clear road maps of what the youth could do to enhance food security, manufacturing, value addition and skills for the construction of affordable housing.

At Maji House, Chelugui pledged to deliver on water projects initiated by his predecessor Eugene Wamalwa. Handing over his policy documents to his successor, Wamalwa said: “I leave you with a very strong team of dedicated civil servants of whom we are proud.”

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