Ndiritu Murithi (top left), Nick Wanjohi, (top right), Susan Koech and Edward Ouko.
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Governors tap Kibaki- and Uhuru-era technocrats to boost county revenues

Ndiritu Murithi (top left), Nick Wanjohi, (top right), Susan Koech and Edward Ouko.

Photo credit: File

Governors, especially those in their first terms, are tapping the expertise of technocrats who served under former presidents Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta to spearhead economic revival efforts in their counties.

Eager to make a lasting impact, the county leaders have assembled teams of experienced professionals to help implement ambitious economic agendas and overcome challenges such as high wage bills and overdependence on national government funding.

Governors Wisley Rotich (Elgeyo Marakwet), Gladys Wanga (Homabay), Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos), Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira) and Prof Peter Anyang Nyong'o (Kisumu) are among those drawing on the expertise of former technocrats.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, Governor Rotich this week appointed Nick Wanjohi, a former aide to President Kibaki, to head the county's economic think tank.

The team includes the likes of Dr Susan Koech, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Kenya and Julius Kipng'etich, group CEO of Jubilee Holdings Limited.

Mr Wanjohi served as private secretary and economic adviser to the late President Kibaki, who was credited with a major economic transformation after the Nyayo era of President Daniel arap Moi.

Education and health sectors

Kibaki boosted the education and health sectors, which had suffered from mismanagement under previous regimes, and launched ambitious infrastructure projects, including large-scale road construction.

His government introduced free primary education for children and revamped hospitals and the agricultural sector.

Mr Wanjohi was also the former Vice Chancellor of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
Through a gazette notice dated April 11, 2024, the Governor also appointed Timothy Kipchumba and Alex Kibet to represent the business community and youth respectively on the Budget and Economic Forum.

"The think tank, which also has Mr Ronald Kipchumba and Anderson Kipkoech, representing academia and professionals respectively, will serve for five years. Prof Wanjohi was part of President Kibaki’s economic and social council and I am confident he will bring in his rich expertise and experience,” Governor Rotich said.

"He represents Elgeyo Marakwet County’s external linkages in the team. He is currently a university lecturer in Nairobi," added Mr Rotich.

Governor Rotich is banking on the team of economists to turn around the county's economic fortunes.

Job creation

He has identified job creation and increasing household incomes as key areas of focus for the economic team.

The team will guide on priority sectors that will drive economic growth and job creation.

“I am also banking on the team’s expertise to attract investment in Elgeyo Marakwet. We will work together to champion the use of available resources and turn them into high-potential sectors," added the county boss.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) deputy governor Susan Koech previously served as principal secretary in the ministries of Tourism and Wildlife, East African Community, ASAL and Regional Development under President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Another think tank in the county, which includes agricultural expert Prof Paul Kimurto, will also guide the county's ongoing contract farming, which includes East Africa Breweries Ltd's sorghum production deal and other sub-sectors, including the revival of pyrethrum.

Governors Wanga, Nyaribo and Nyong'o have for their part sought the advice of former Laikipia County boss Ndiritu Muriithi to boost revenue generation in their respective counties.

Mr Muriithi is a former assistant minister for industrialisation in Kibaki's government between 2007 and 2013.

"I have been advising county governments on resource mobilisation. Myself and other colleagues from Laikipia have been advising Homabay, Nyamira, Kisumu and other counties on how to increase revenue," said Mr Muriithi in an interview with the Nation."We also share knowledge about corporate bonds. We are the team that organized a bond at the county level. We were also acclaimed for growing our own source revenue while in Laikipia County. We grew the Laikipia County OSR from Sh 400 million to Sh1 billion by the time l left office. Our team helps curb pilferage and corruption during revenue collection, "explained the immediate former Laikipia county boss.

In Machakos, Governor Wavinya Ndeti has enlisted the services of Daniel Yumbya, former CEO of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council, to revitalise the health sector.

Founding CEO

Mr Yumbya, the County Executive for Health in Machakos County, is a long-time champion of medical safety with a public service career spanning more than three decades.

He was the founding CEO of the Kenya Practitioners and Dentists Council.

For many years, he was at the helm of the medical regulatory body, ensuring improved access, safety and quality of healthcare.
In Siaya, Governor James Orengo appointed Prof Adams Oloo last year to audit the county's systems and reform its governance.

The task force has been evaluating, assessing and determining the county's human resources and revenue management.

It is chaired by former Auditor General Edward Ouko.

Members of the task force include Dr Peter Okoth, the former CEO of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Dr Grace Ongile, Ms Bella Akinyi, Mr Jared Buoga and Mr Leonard Okanda.

Governance expert Daniel Kimani says most of the county bosses are serving their first term and hired the technocrats to impress the electorate and secure a second term in 2027.

"The county bosses, who have hired the technocrats to advise them on various issues, are trying to impress the electorate to secure a second term. Most of the county bosses are very ambitious and want the technocrats, who are seasoned economists and experts in various fields, to help them deliver on their promises, especially flagship projects," Mr Kimani told the Nation.

"They simply want to breathe life into the economies of their respective counties and stand out among their peers. They want to be assured of a second term," he added.