STATE OF COUNTY ADDRESS

Ottichilo has no flagship projects one year to term end

In State of County address, governor banked mostly on World Bank projects, blames bloated bills and corruption

In Summary

• Previously, Senator George Khaniri had raised concerns over the county's budget and its record of development. 

• Fate of county's Sh50 million granite factory that was to create job opportunities remains unknown. 

Vihiga assembly speaker Hasna Mudeizi and Governor Wilber Ottichilo at the county Assembly during the State of the County address
FRUITS OF DEVOLUTION: Vihiga assembly speaker Hasna Mudeizi and Governor Wilber Ottichilo at the county Assembly during the State of the County address
Image: MARTIN OMBIMA

Vihiga county lacks flagship projects due to poor governance structures, bloated bills and corruption, Governor Wilber Ottichilo has said. 

Ottichilo, in his State of the County speech, banked mostly on World Bank projects without indicating major projects the county has done on its financial allocation. 

Some of the projects he banks on include the beautification of Mbale town, Water supply and floodlights funded by foreign bodies.

 

Ottichilo said the overwhelming pending bills have also choked the county's development as the government struggles to settle them. 

Previously, Senator George Khaniri had raised concerns over the county's budget and its record of development.

“We lost the game in 2013-17 on development; let’s not miss it again from 2017-22,” Khaniri said during his address to the assembly. 

He added that since the inception of devolution in 2013, a good number of counties have registered development with flagship projects that have created job opportunities.

Some of them are Uasin Gishu with milk coolants that have benefited farmers as well as creating job opportunities to youth

Others are Kitui and Makueni. However, the fate of Vihiga's Sh50 million granite factory that was to create job opportunities remains unknown.

The project was undertaken by both the national and county governments was to be completed in June creating over 1,000 jobs. It now remains mere paperwork.

 

Ottichilo, while addressing the 5th Devolution Conference in Kakamega last year in April, assured his people of the factory. 

Another doom project is the hospital plaza that was started by his predecessor Moses Akaranga.

The eight-storey hospital is being downsized to six floors and its completion remains in dim light.

The governor gave health as a priority. 

The sector was allocated Sh1.4b this financial year. 

Ottichilo started to improve the sector by hiring staff and renovating various health centres to ease services at the county referral facility. 

However, the process has been hijacked by county goons targeting to siphon allocation. Already the Sh35 million allocated for recruiting health staff last year is missing, leaving the governor at war with newly employed health workers.

Previously Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries Vihiga chairperson Billy Nyonje said Ottichilo is being misled by his advisors to cripple county development. 

Ottichillo admitted in the assembly that the county has been hijacked by corrupt individuals appealing to MCAs to help him kick them out.

The governor said when he assumed the office, corruption was on the rise which forced him to conduct Corruption Risk Assessment.

However, during the CRA, it was revealed that most of the activities in the county were undocumented hence opening a window for graft. 

“The Agriculture department has made it well and I urge other ministries to develop as well,” he cited. 

He said the county will focus on Agriculture to improve its income. 

Edited by R.Wamochie