•Arati vowed radical surgery in the public service in a spirited effort to improve service delivery.
•The immediate former Dagoretti North MP spoke shortly after being sworn into office by High Court Judge Teresa Matheka at Gusii Stadium.
Kisii County’s new Governor Simba Arati on Thursday pledged to crack the whip on lazy staff, tackle corruption and hand over any suspected graft suspects to courts to get justice as he assumes office.
Arati vowed radical surgery in the public service in a spirited effort to improve service delivery.
The immediate former Dagoretti North MP spoke shortly after being sworn into office by High Court Judge Teresa Matheka at Gusii Stadium.
He takes over from his predecessor James Ongwae who wound up his tour of duty after two terms as governor.
Arati said while he is ready to forgive those who had stolen public wealth in the outgoing administration, the wheels of justice must be seen to be in action to end future incidents of theft of public resources.
"They may come and seek forgiveness but they must be held accountable for the sins of looting public resources,” warned Arati.
Quickly, he slashed his swearing-in budget from the allocated Sh57 m to Sh 10 million and ordered the remainder to be used to pay doctors who had been on strike.
He further rejected the proposal by the transition committee to buy him new official cars signalling the first austerity measures the new county boss would take to stop the haemorrhage of public funds.
Arati said he would rely on his own fleet of cars to use throughout his tenure in office.
“I thus instruct that the money they had set aside for the same to put into health care to buy drugs for the patients,” he said.
The function held at Gusii stadium was attended by the residents in thousands.
It was marked with pomp and colour attracting the attendance of local elected leaders among them MPs elects Daniel Manduku (Nyaribari Masaba), Obadiah Barongo (, Bomachoge Borabu) and Alfa Miruka (Bomachoge Chache)
Others were Zaheer Jhanda (Nyaribari Chache), Charles Onchoke (Bonchari), Japhet Nyakundi (Kitutu Chache North) and Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango).
Former leaders included outgoing Senator Sam Ongeri who also unsuccessfully vied for governorship on the DAP party.
Senator-elect Richard Onyonka and Woman Rep elect Dorice Donya Aburi who won on the Wiper Party ticket were also present.
Arati took the oath of office at 11.30 am in the morning before being handed over instruments of power.
Arati said he owes the church for the constant prayers they had for him as he campaigned for the seat.
He also praised the thousands of voters who braved the prevailing weather condition to vote for him
Arati said he was alive to the fact that the County was replete with serious challenges, many of them a spillover from the unfulfilled promises the outgoing regime could not keep.
“There shall be conversation; I am sure so that we find the best foot to push this county forward. Much trust has been bestowed on us to ensure we do much too,” he said.
Arati said his election provides him with opportunities to sign a new performance contract with the residents to measure the quality of leadership.
He spoke of plans to improve health even as he warned the lazy that there is no middle ground in service delivery.
Among the initiatives, he rolled out the Simba Shelter Health Scheme an insurance scheme, to cover the majority of elderly and the vulnerable.
He further promised to kick start a school feeding for the young learners as part of the efforts to improve education standards.
He further vowed to Arati end what he referred to as the prevalent culture of cronyism in the devolved unit.
He said those who would feel the heat in his government should opt out now.
"We have a huge task ahead that requires serious engagement with all stakeholders as part of the multi-pronged efforts to spur service delivery and thus there is no room for lethargy," he said.
He also warned land thieves in town that they will have nowhere to hide as he assumes office.
Ongwae on his part said politics was now over and it was time for all those who were in the race to accept the verdict of mwananchi and moved on.
He said the new governor had all along demonstrated the zeal required to move the devolved unit forward.
Among the pending projects he passed on to him were the Cancer Centre and the sugar factory
He told him to nurture those that had been done, especially the 350-bed Mother and Child Hospital which has already been flagged off.
Ongwae also tasked him to follow up with the national government to ensure the Suneka airstrip which has been under construction is completed.
The outgoing County boss said he was not a saint as he walked out of power and should be forgiven for errors he may have committed.
Ongwae told the residents to appreciate the little he has done even as they embrace the new to the office.
"Nobody is perfect, and neither was I, so let's move forward," he said.