A new survey on county governments has placed Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana at the apex of the best performing governors in the country.
The survey which was commissioned by Weekly Citizen, has laid bare the thoughts of Kenyans concerning their county leaders. In what is expected to expose the lazy governors, pundits say such surveys are a catalyst of ensuring that governors undertake their duties effectively.
The survey placed Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya at number two for his transformational agenda in the largest county in Western Kenya. Nairobi governor Mike Sonko was ranked third.
According to respondents interviewed on this survey, the repossession of public land that had fallen into the hands of land grabbers has been a major score for Sonko and also the transformation of Nairobi markets and fire stations.
Also Sonko has scored hugely in sealing loopholes of thievery at City Hall and also introducing tough measures for those who are responsible for revenue collection. Unlike number one and two who are both serving their second and final term.
Tharaka Nithi boss Muthomi Njuki was placed fourth while Kitui governor Charity Ngilu came in fifth.
Njuki has adopted hands on approach where he has gone beyond the call of duty to engage residents in the three constituencies in any development initiated.
For example, in Tharaka constituency, the loudest cry from the people was about water.
The county boss, through citizen participation, has been able to drill over 50 boreholes, which residents are benefiting from this far.
Also, digitisation of revenue collection streams has upped revenue collection from Sh79 million in the 2016/2017 financial year to Sh243 million in the current financial year.
Accessibility for farmers and traders to markets has also contributed to Governor Njuki’s popularity as they appreciate strides his government has made in easing the cost of doing business.
His major undoing this far is the sealing of corruption loopholes that has cost him support of those in the previous regime who made a killing from revenue collection loopholes and are now cursing him.
“He is too strict and seems to benefit alone,” one John Mwenda from Chogoria said.
The executive structure was also recently changed, with the governor reshuffling his government to conform to the needs of the people.
Tharaka Nithi county is made of Chuka Igambangombe, Maara and Tharaka subcounties
On healthcare, Tharaka Nithi county was ranked second best in service delivery after Makueni.
It also ranked as the most improved in a survey carried out by the ministry of Health.
The success is being attributed to the introduction of community health volunteers who are stationed in the county’s three constituencies.
“The case of the CHVs rescuing a lady who had been locked in by her husband for five years in Maara has shown the importance of improving the health systems,” said Jiamati from Magutuni.
He was, however, quick to call on the county government to pay close attention to the Magutuni health facility which he said was in a sorry state.
Ngilu on her side has championed the revival of the textile industry in Kitui prompting Uhuru Kenyatta to issue a directive that all uniforms for chiefs and their assistants across the country will be produced by Kitui County Textile Centre. This was a huge score for her.
Kirinyaga counterpart Anne Waiguru is also rated high.
Kivutha, who has outdone his peers when it comes to involving citizens in deciding on and oversighting public works, has won even the admiration of the World Bank, which through the Council of Governors has been taking the other governors to learn about his development model, and compare notes on their models of citizen engagement, an approach termed as a key ingredient of sustainable development.
According to the survey, Kivutha’s development model is premised on a complex matrix of citizen development committees consisting of 11 volunteers at each of the six administration levels, from the villages to the county level, which ensures prudent financial management. A Marxist-Leninist socialist, Kivutha still lives a modest life in his old three-bedroomed house that he built when he was a law don at University of Nairobi.
Waiguru on her part has adopted Kivutha’s development model and recently sent three senior officers in her government to Makueni to further study Kibwana’s public participation model.
They are closely followed by Kisumu’s Anyang Nyong’o, whose county, alongside Alfred Mutua Machakos, Nyeri and Isiolo, have been selected for the Universal Health Coverage “Afya Care” that was launched in December last year on a pilot basis by Uhuru.
Next is Elgeyo Marakwet, governor Alex Tolgos, who, despite having a longrunning personal battle with his senator Kipchumba Murkomen, is investing in a Sh1 billion potato factory that will also serve neighbouring counties that produce potatoes.
Under his watch, the county has achieved 80pc completion of development projects through the Rapid Results Initiative and expects to push the result to 99 per cent.
Kisii governor James Ongwae is also among top performers, according to the survey.
The governor, who is serving his second term has given health the first priority and already a three-storey ward with 450-bed capacity has been completed at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Kwale governor Salim Mvurya also fared well with one of his major achievements being completion of an intensive care unit at Msambweni Referral Hospital that is now serving residents who were initially forced to travel to Mombasa for the services.
Mvurya, who is serving his second and final term, is working on his legacy projects.
Machakos’ Mutua though tainted by allegations of corruption and rebellion by the area MCAs, also fared well.
Despite the challenges, Mutua was able to launch a Sh300 million college and universities scholarship programme to support 10,000 students.
He has also improved roads and healthcare in the county.
Taita Taveta governor Granton Samboja is also ranked among the top more so, after he signed a petition to dissolve his county government. His decision to take corrupt MCAs headon despite a hostile working environment where the MCAs have made it impossible to smoothly run county programmes has won him hearts.
The governor was ranked highly for his zeal to fight corruption. He called for the dissolution of the county after the county assembly passed a Sh5.3 billion budget with each MCA allocating themselves Sh41.5 million for projects in their wards.
Nyandarua county boss Francis Kimemia, who has made provision of healthcare services a key mandate of his government and a basic right for the residents, was also rated highly.
His achievements have seen a team from Afya House and China visit JM Hospital in Ol’Kalou to site the location of nine CT scans designated for the hospital.
With this new technology, the people of Nyandarua will have access to the state-of-the-art radiology and diagnostic services, in addition to the now accessible renal dialysis and enable efficient surgical services at JM Hospital.
Nairobi county boss has also posted modest achievements like streamlining revenue collection at City Hall which has seen him physically inspect how officials in the finance department operate and in the process nab those who try to skim the coffers.
As a result, Nairobi is the only county in the country that has been able to pay its workers in time putting to an end perennial strikes that previously affected services such as waste management.
His county government recently launched a data centre to boost service delivery through digital solutions.
However, some residents feel he is unable to tackle the issue of street children menace and garbage collection coupled by lack of enough water.
His Kiambu counterpart, Ferdinand Waititu was first hailed for various initiatives he launched, including infrastructural development and introduction of National Hospital Insurance Scheme universal cover to residents.
However, allegation of corruption, where he is facing fraud charges, dented his image. The governor has even been barred by the court from accessing his office until the fraud case he is facing is concluded. Waititu has completely lost on ground.
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, who doubles up as ODM deputy party leader, posted modest achievements in providing clean water and environmental cleanliness and sewerage system.
But the governor, who is serving his second term, is under fire over his prolonged absence from the county, preferring to vacation it foreign lands such as United States. His highest rating is on street lighting.
Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga also posted modest achievements in the last two years.
His achievements include continued strengthening of dairy cooperatives where farmers are assured of good returns.
He has also instilled good corporate governance and has been hosting workshops for directors of water companies and other bodies.
The establishment of Murang’a Women Sacco, a cooperative movement geared towards enabling the women become self-reliant, was one of Governor Mwangi wa Iria’s key achievements.
His county government has also funded the graveling of more than 600kms, plans to establish a horticulture corporation to aid in marketing horticulture products and helping more than 3000 persons with disability with aid kits such as wheelchairs and hearing aids, saw him ranked highly.
Mandera governor Ali Roba was also ranked highly over improved healthcare where the 20 health centres treated over 474,000 Ethiopian and Somali patients.
The sick mainly come from the towns of Bula Hawa in Somalia and Suftu in Ethiopia. The locals also benefit from the improved health care. However, allegations of corruption are tainting his image.
Uasin Gishu county boss Jackson Mandago also posted fairly good results. Since the inception of devolution, the county government of Uasin Gishu has made enormous steps in transforming the county by initiating projects. Some of the areas which have seen tremendous transformation include roads, bridges, ECDE units, drainages and water.
Other governors with modest achievements include Okoth Obado (Migori), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Mohammed Kuti Isiolo), Joseph ole Lenku (Kajiado), Mohamud Ali (Marsabit), Ali Korane (Garissa), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Stephen Sang (Nandi), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Wilber Otichilo (Vihiga), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Martin Wambora (Embu), Mohamed Abdi (Wajir) Samburu’s Moses Lenolkulal.
Also said to have done commendable work is Narok governor Samuel Tunai and Turkana governor Josphat Nanok.
The survey found out that most of the county bosses have hired their relatives and cronies in key departments, which makes service delivery a tall order.
It established that ethnic elites are the primary beneficiaries of devolution, not the ordinary people, in most of the counties.