The lives of the residents of country’s three cities have not improved significantly, despite the hype of devolution and billions spent by county governments.
Overall, 40 per cent of Nairobians polled said devolution has had no impact on their welfare over the past four months, while 24 per cent said it has, in fact, worsened their situation.
According to a survey released yesterday, public outrage is uniform across the three cities at the failure of the counties to tackle common problems mounds of garbage, lack of clean water, poor sewerage systems, environmental hazards and lack of drugs in hospitals.
Public approval of the governors of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu is also low, while devolution's success turns out to be overrated by the people it is supposed to help.
Of the three, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is the worst performer, with an aggregate D+, according to a scorecard by research firm Tifa.
The flamboyant county chief trailed equally vocal Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, who scored a C of 53 points, nine points apart.
The survey conducted from May 1-4, just three days after the close of the National Devolution Conference in Kakamega, gave Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang' Nyong’o a C+ of 56 points.
The former Kisumu senator and planning minister is a stark contrast to his peers in terms of academic qualifications and is expected to change the face of the lakeside city.
The survey shows low public satisfaction with the performance of the governors for the nine months they have been in office. The research polled 500 respondents in each county through face-to-face and telephone interviews.
Sonko, who has recently been severely criticised over the state of city roads and piling garbage, scored C and below in 10key devolved functions, except street lighting in which he scored a B- of 62 points.
He scored a D- on sewerage system and feeder roads and a D+ on environmental cleanliness, market centres, access to clean water and public health services.
His efforts on Early Childhood Education, an enabling business environment, bursaries as well as youth polytechnic education earned him a plain pass, C.
Sonko succeeded Evans Kidero, who was similarly criticised. He has defended himself against the charge of incompetence, arguing that he is operating on the budget and priorities he inherited from his predecessor.
"With these scores, it is evident that Nairobians are not happy with Sonko's service delivery," pollster Maggie Ireri said yesterday.
But Sonko attacked the integrity of the poll, saying even last year, Tifa had predicted he would lose the Nairobi governor's race.
"It is not true that nothing has been done in Nairobi. We accept the results because Tifa last year ranked me last and (predicted) that I will not win the election. We are trying our best bearing in mind we inherited a dead city," Sonko told a press conference.
Nairobi has been choking with garbage with city roads littered with portholes and turning into lakes with the slightest rainfall due to poor drainage. Sonko has said some of the roads do not fall under the county but the Kenya Urban Roads Authority.
Many city estates are still on a water rationing programme that began more than a year ago.
Of those interviewed, 87 per cent said they were unhappy with Sonko over the garbage littering, while 65 per cent cited blocked sewers.
Other issues include poorly maintained feeder roads and lack of drugs in health facilities.
Nairobi receives the lion’s share of the allocation to counties — Sh16.7 billion in the financial year ending June 30. This is besides the billions in revenue collected from a host of services, including parking, land rates and licence fees.
Joho, the ODM deputy party leader, scored a D in providing clean water and a D+ on environmental cleanliness and sewerage system.
The governor, who is serving his second term, recently has been criticised for prolonged absence since the beginning of the year.
He got a C on feeder roads, market centres and public health services.
Joho performed well, however, on youth polytechnics, getting a C+. On business environment and providing bursaries for needy students, he got a B-.
His highest rating was on street lighting, a B with 67 per cent). More than 70 per cent of those interviewed were dissatisfied with the road network in the county compared to 64 per cent who abhorred the garbage.
Overall, 46 per cent of Mombasa residents said devolution has had no effect on their household welfare over the last four months and 12 per cent said it has made things worse.
However, 32 per cent of Mombasa residents believe their welfare has improved over the past four months due to devolution.
Mombasa was allocated Sh9.2 billion in the financial year ending June 30.
Although better performing, Nyongo's stewardship was faulted for the poor sewerage system (D) and bad feeder roads (C-).
He got an average score of C+ for education bursaries, market centres, youth polytechnics, county health services, business environment and environmental cleanliness.
The governor scored above average in ECDE, providing clean water and street lighting.
In comparison, 50 per cent of Kisumu residents said devolution had improved their household welfare over the past four months. Another 34 per cent of residents said nothing had changed in their lives because of devolution, while eight per cent said it had worsened.
Nyong'o recently succeeded in relocating the infamous Kachok dumpsite that had become an eyesore in the lakeside city.
Part of the dissatisfaction with Nyong'o was lack of drugs in health facilities (42 per cent) and the long waiting period at the public hospitals (28 per cent).
Nyong’o is facing a petition against his election from his predecessor, Jack Ranguma.
Former Kisumu governor aspirant Chris Ondiek applauded Nyong’o for striving to restore investor confidence in Kisumu and establishing a City Management Board.
He deplored exclusion of the youth from the Cabinet, which he claimed is made up of “the old guard, old friends of the governor, long-time partners in private business and people with family ties."
Political commentator Benji Ndolo said, “Nyongo is a professor who was involved in writing the Sessional Paper 10, which was used in Singapore. He is an educated man, thus the expectations of him should be higher."