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February 21, 2019

County Bumblers Have Lost The Plot

The Nyamira government puts up a gate for Sh9 million. Across the country, the county government of Embu is outdoing Nyamira by erecting a super entrance to its headquarters at Sh12-13 million. What difference does a measly million shillings make in county finances?

Meanwhile, the Bungoma government is issuing a check to the supplier of 10 golden wheelbarrows that cost Sh100,009 each. Governor Kenneth Lusaka cannot understand the hullabaloo about the barrows being in the same price range with boda bodas. After all, they are made of stainless steel and have something ‘genic’ about them.

From Murang’a, noise emerges about non-payment of suppliers and the government there claims it diverted the money meant to pay the debts to ‘development’ projects. MPs from the region doubt this, but Governor Mwangi Wairia dismisses them as power hungry politicians looking to replace him in 2017.

Back to Embu and speaker Justus Mate laments that MCAs are drawing sitting allowances without attending assembly sessions. Apparently, the crafty MCAs show up to sign the register and then take off without setting foot in the chamber. And of course the signature automatically, if fraudulently, qualifies them for the hefty allowances. While these ward representatives are enjoying their ill-earned allowances, elsewhere the assembly sessions are adjourned due to lack of quorum and the poor electorate loses both ways – their money is stolen and their issues are not discussed, let alone passed. There is this bigger house in the city from where we keep hearing about lack of quorum.

Up north, some leaders in Turkana are up in arms, claiming Governor Josephat Nanok has his priorities all wrong. He recently staged a cultural festival that the other leaders dismissed as a waste of resources, saying the money should have been used to improve the standard of living of the Turkana people. None other than ODM boss Raila Odinga came out to defend the governor and expresses his confidence in Nanok's leadership.

In another part of western Kenya, Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has his office and residences in Busia ransacked by officers of the anti-corruption commission over graft allegations. Predictably, he blames the ‘mess’ on his political enemies and gets a hero’s welcome from his supporters when he lands in Kisumu, after a trip to the capital city.

In Kirinyaga, a Facebook account is opened at a cost of Sh2 million. That county government must have imported the techies from the Silicon Valley. In Nyandarua, the never-ending petty wrangles between the two Waithakas (Daniel Waithaka, the governor and Deputy Governor Waithaka Mwangi), continue to derail development projects.

Even before he can get time to internalise President Uhuru’s refusal to ‘vunjilia mbali’ his county government, Governor Kivutha Kibwana is astounded by his Machakos counterpart, who without invitation or notification, invades his backyard with his ‘Maendeleo Chap Chap’ in the company of current and former MPs.

All Kibwana wanted was a new round of elections in Makueni and the exciting campaigns that come with it, Mutua helping him develop his county.

Obviously the county government of Meru has its priorities right and having fully equipped its medical facilities with manpower, drugs and equipment, has now bought blue curtains and linings for its medical facilities for over Sh7 million.

And MCAs from the athletics-incubating Rift Valley have now found out that athletes are not made in Iten but rather in Congo. Recently their lot from Marakwet spent Sh5 million ‘benchmarking’ on athletics in that country.

Then TNA leaders converge in Ruiru to pray for Deputy President William Ruto and diminutive journalist Joshua Sang in the hope that God will rid them of ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, but Governor William Kabogo and governor-in-waiting Ferdinand Waititu mess up the prayers. Instead of bowing their heads in supplication, the two, through their followers, implored leaders from the Rift to register in large numbers in Kiambu and vote for them in 2017. But Governor Jackson Mandago would hear none of this – he wants to retain his seat in Uasin Gishu.

If governors, MPs, MCAs and county executives earn what they do in salaries and allowances just to talk shop and occasionally pray, no wonder teachers and nurses are on strike! And we have not said anything about the ‘nyumba ya wazee’ .


Njonjo Kihuria is a freelance journalist. [email protected]

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