Full in-tray for Kisii governor-elect Arati

Simba Arati

Kisii County Returning Officer Michael Kosgei (left) gives Kisii Governor-elect Simba Arati his IEBC election certificate at the Kisii National Polytechnic on August 12, 2022. 

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

A full in-tray awaits Kisii Governor-elect Simba Arati, who embarked on draining trenches and excavating mounds of garbage in the streets of Kisii town long before he was sworn in.

Mr Arati faces a plethora of challenges as he walks into striking nurses and doctors at public hospitals in the county.

With enormous expectations from an electorate weary of widespread corruption that bedevilled the outgoing administration, Mr Arati faces a daunting task of reassuring residents of accountability and efficient public services.

While he was elected on account of his passionate assurances that he had zero tolerance on corruption, he is expected to show the practical steps he’ll take to slay the endemic graft that became institutionalised under the old regime.

Besides poor public services, Mr Arati has embarked on negotiations with the striking medics to work out a return-to-work formula as he awaits his swearing-in to start addressing their grievances.

Earlier this week, the governor-elect hit the ground running when he personally supervised the collection of a huge mound of garbage that had built up around Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital and had partially blocked the Kisii-Marani-Kisumu bypass.

Mr Arati also faces huge pending bills owed to contractors and suppliers, some dating back eight years.

No salary for three months now

The former Dagoretti North MP also faces county employees who have not been paid for the past three months, high expectations from residents grappling with lack of clean drinking water, congested streets and encroachment on public and riparian land, among other ills.

Speaking during the removal of the mountainous garbage, Mr Arati said “this is the work I promised to do for the people of Kisii. We are ready to deliver on our promises and the first priority is to remove this health hazard that has been an eyesore near the hospital and blocking the street for many years”.

Mr Arati said he wants to unite the people in an effort to build a prosperous county.

“I want to assure our people that despite the outgoing regime leaving broken structures and other maladies, my team and I are committed to deliver the promises we made to them during the campaigns,” he said.

He added: “Kisii is a very rich county and there are many different products that we’ll work hard to find markets for to spur microeconomic growth in the county.”

He said the soapstone found in South Mugirango was a unique “white gold” that could be a source of huge foreign exchange if a foreign market was found for the artisans to export the stone carvings.

He said “we’ll endeavour to see if we can find foreign investors to invest in it and also assist in reviving the dead coffee industry”.

Mr Arati said he will ensure people have money in their pockets by supporting the agricultural industry. “We want to ensure tea, pyrethrum, sugarcane and coffee are revived.”

He revisited the issue of corruption and reiterated that fighting the vice will be his single most important assignment, vowing to “drain the swamp” before embarking on development.

“If we seal those loopholes of corruption, equip hospitals with drugs and ensure the early childhood facilities are constructed, water supply and roads are done, this will promote a conducive environment to thrive on,” he said.

Mr Arati said he wants to restore sanity and bring discipline in the county government, saying extorting contractors was one of the reasons many, especially those who refused to pay bribes, have not been paid for many years.


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