Hundreds of potential Jobs for Vihiga residents hang in balance after a German investor abruptly left the country. HE Rev. Moses Akaranga, declined to sign an MOU to establish a state of the art leather tannery in Vihiga for reasons not so clear to the residents and the proponents of the leather factory. This is in spite of the fact that the local partners had identified a site and signed a 22-year lease agreement for the facility to sit on the 20 acre plot of the disused KPCU factory land at Lunyerere, a kilometre from Mbale town. Someone would have thought that ,with only one factory in Vihiga County namely Mudete Tea factory, Vihiga County Leadership would have Jumped at the prospect of establishing a second factory to provide Jobs to the jobless young people and create a much needed revenue to the county. But in the era of no priorities from the Vihiga County government, this was not the case.
The investor, a reputable supplier of high quality leather to Mercedes Motors AG for car interior upholstery, was keen on establishing the facility and help kick-start the leather industry in Vihiga. Working in conjunction with local retired professionals, the envisaged investment promised hundreds of decent Jobs for the locals in addition to transfer of critical skills, machinery and linkage to international Markets.
Leather industry is one of the sectors covered under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). However, Kenya has not fully exploited this opportunity and as such, a golden opportunity exists for rural counties like Vihiga to invest in Leather industry. Hide and skins are presently sold to exploitative Middlemen and the left overs used to make drums for churches like Pentecostal Assemblies of God and for Igada entertainment groups. Leather industry has placed Ethiopia on the world map of shoe making. Haute couture companies are setting up research and design facilities in Ethiopia, helping create a viable economic base to improve the lives of Ethiopians. This is what we need to emulate and turn rural impoverished Vihiga into an economic powerhouse.
Fortunately for Vihiga residents, the coming election present a new start and with the upstart Hon. Ken Butiko of United Democratic Party (UDP), a more investor friendly climate will reverse the current trend occasioned by Akaranga’s auto pilot regime. Hon. Ken Butiko, a progressive young professional with vast international and local experience brings his vast network to work for the people of Vihiga. As a team player and builder, Hon. Ken Butiko has assembled a team of ambitious people to help push the economic agenda of equity, self sufficiency while inculcating culture of zero tolerance to grand graft that is the hall mark of Akaranga administration
After shaking of the 2013 loss debacle in which Akaranga was dubiously declared a winner, Hon. Ken Butiko chose not to contest the fishy out come, but immersed himself in creating useful networks, nationally and internationally. The fruits of his tenacity can be seen in the new party UDP, whose founder members are strong proponents of the actualization of the devolution idea and economic advancement of the people of Kenya, especially the potentially rich counties of Western Kenya. Time has come to put the best Vihiga Son on the reigns. Hon. Ken Butiko is a tremendous Opportunity we cannot miss in Vihiga.