Water and food security top agenda of three leading gubernatorial candidates for the county top seat. Also ranking high is how to tackle insecurity that has claimed scores of lives with the most recent case being the Napeitom village incident where seven people were torched in their houses on Sunday night.
In their manifestoes and in a debate held on Sunday night the candidates John Munyes (Jubilee), Jeremiah Lomurukai (ODM) and John Lodepe (UDA) said they would prioritize water provision followed by food security should they assume office.
It is not lost to residents that governor Josphat Nanok also promised to provide water for the residents especially during his second term.
Water provision was one of his five priority areas in his second term, the others being food security, mineral and natural resource management, peace building and cross border engagement as well as partnerships and investment.
The subject also saw the candidates go for each other’s jugular in the debate with Lodepe and Lomurukai accusing Munyes of not doing enough to address water woes of the residents during his tenure as water assistant minister during President Mwai Kibaki government.
In his defence, Munyes said he had initiated water reforms that saw him and then water Minister Martha Karua win an award in Paris, France for the water reforms.
“When I was in the Ministry of water we managed to establish five water companies including the one in Lodwar and Kisumu for which we were recognized globally,” said Munyes.
He added that he has sunk many boreholes in the county including at Lokichoggio mosque to address the water woes of the residents. He lashed out at Lodepe saying water cartels had taken control of Lodwar and Kalokol towns which are in his constituency.
On his part, Lomurukai said he had sunk boreholes in his constituency to alleviate the suffering of his constituents and promised to scale up the boreholes if elected governor.
Lodepe promised to delegate water provision to a consultancy and also overhaul the water infrastructure by replacing the old water pipes with new ones.
According to the latest report released by the National Drought Management Authority the county is at an alert stage and worsening due to failed rains.
“The return distance of households to water sources increased and was above the long-term average. During the month of June, the return distance covered by households from dwelling places to water sources was 6.9Km, which was slightly higher by 11 percent compared to the distance recorded in the previous month,” says the report.
With regards to food security, the candidates rooted for irrigation and tapping the potential of lake Turkana to provide food for the residents.
The county is currently among 19 counties facing acute drought. The drought situation continued to worsen in twenty (20) of the 23 ASAL counties. The number of counties in the Alarm stage of drought has increased from five (5) in May to eight (8) in June 2022.
The counties in Alarm drought phase are Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir, Laikipia, Tharaka Nithi, Turkana, Samburu and Isiolo while twelve (12) counties including Garissa, Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Nyeri, Embu, Turkana, Kwale and Kilifi are in Alert drought phase.
Munyes is selling his experience to woo voters and being the senior most politician having served as a Cabinet secretary, minister, senator and member of parliament for 15 years.
Lodepe is selling his education track record for starting more secondary schools and primary schools during his two terms as MP for Turkana central constituency.
On his part, Lomurukai has vowed to deal with corruption that has denied residents access to services despite receiving an average of Sh 10 billion annually. He has vowed to ensure that corrupt officers do not remain in office if he assumes office.
With regards to insecurity, the leaders are in agreement that there is a need to cooperate with national security organs to tame the crime.
Munyes is being deputized by former speaker of the county assembly Erastus Ekaale. Lodepe has picked youthful lawyer Ekusi Loree while Lomurukai has settled on Dr John Erus.