Most first term governors in the North Rift are now under siege for failing to fulfil their campaign promises, even as they plan to seek re-election in 2022 General Elections.
Financial audit reports in a number of the counties have revealed wastage of millions of tax payers’ money in stalled projects.
The electorate has been criticising the governors, accusing them of failure to implement their development blueprints. The county bosses have also been accused of not doing much in the fight against corruption allegedly committed by their predecessors.
In Nandi, the county’s six lawmakers have taken issue with Governor Stephen Sang over stalled development projects and alleged rampant corruption in his administration. They have vowed to mobilise residents to vote him out in next year’s elections.
Legislators Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Cornelly Serem (Aldai), Vincent Tuwei (Mosop), Julius Meli (Tindiret), Wilson Kogo (Chesumei) and Samson Cherargei (senator) took issue with Governor Sang over what they said is a poor developmental record since he took over in 2017.
Senator Cherargei, while referring to the 2018/2019 Auditor-General’s report, said that most projects have either stalled or remain unimplemented despite the push for allocation of additional funds to counties.
According to the report, 491 projects in the county are either stalled or incomplete, while Sh4.9 billion remains unaccounted for.
“There are 311 projects that have not been started but unsupported documents indicate that they are complete. The governor should explain to us which projects he has implemented since he took office,” said the senator.
On his part, Mr Keter claimed that most roads in the county are in pathetic conditions despite the devolved unit receiving Sh18 billion over the last three years.
“It is unfortunate that the governor has been busy launching projects which were completed by the former county administration or current legislators instead of initiating new ones,” said the vocal MP.
Aldai MP Cornelly Serem claimed Governor Sang has failed to transform the county despite making a lot of pre-election promises.
“When the governor was elected, he made a lot of promises including the upgrade of all the roads and [employment of] ECDE teachers but most of these have remained empty promises,” said the legislator.
Mismanagement of resources
Aon the other hand, Mosop’s Vincent Tuwei regretted that the county had lagged behind in terms of development due to mismanagement of resources.
However, Governor Sang defended his track record, saying that his critics are being sponsored by land cartels out to grab public utilities.
“My track-record is clean and the lawmakers are fighting me because of my firm stand in defending public land. Some these people claiming there is looting and mismanagement of public resources have pending corruption-related cases,” said Mr Sang.
In Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis’ development record has come under sharp criticism from a section of local leaders and residents who claim that most of the flagship projects he promised when he took power in 2017 are yet to be implemented.
The first term governor’s manifesto was mainly focusing on the provision of water, especially in the remote areas where there has been perennial shortage.
However, the residents claim that the promises are yet to be implemented, with the region having several stalled projects.
Akiru Naibokore, a resident of Chemolingot in Tiaty Sub-County, complained that in 2018, the county boss promised to construct water tanks in the town to supply the crucial commodity to remote villages but, to date, it has not happened.
“We are still facing perennial water shortage in the entire sub-county, with locals forced to walk tens of kilometres with their livestock in search of the rare commodity. The promises given to us by the governor still remain a pipe dream and people are still questioning why he promised what he could not deliver. Do you expect us to re-elect him? posed Mr Naibokore.
Recently, a ward representative from Baringo Central threatened to sponsor a motion to impeach the governor over stalled projects in the region.
Tenges MCA Silas Tochim, a close ally of the county boss, raised concern that a lot of projects initiated last year had not yet started yet money had been allocated to them.
“There are more than 12 projects in my ward that have stalled for more than six months yet money was allocated to them. We cannot sit and watch anymore and someone should be answerable to what is happening in Baringo because most of them will be rolled over to the next financial year,” said Mr Tochim.
In West Pokot County, Governor John Lonyangapuo, who took over from Mr Simon Kachapin, is faced with the challenge of battling corruption in the awarding of tenders by the previous regime, which resulted in massive loss of public funds.
Governor Lonyangapuo has invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to probe inflated tenders by the previous regime, a challenge the residents claim remains unresolved since he came into office.
“Some of the non-priority projects were awarded to briefcase contractors yet our people are grappling with abject poverty,” said Governor Lonyangapuo when he suspended the construction of 23 projects in the county started by the former regime in order to pave way for scrutiny.
But the residents have decried lack of reforms by the governor, noting that this has slowed development initiatives in the region.
“We expected the governor to fast-track transformations in the county as he had pledged during his campaigns but the status quo remains,” said Mr James Chetotum.
Prof Lonyangapuo has asked contractors who have been awarded tenders to ensure the projects are completed within the stipulated time.
“How can a Sh50 million project take six years yet the government taxes the money? We have stopped some projects so that we [go to] the bottom of the matter,” said the governor.
He said his administration will revoke tenders for lazy contractors who have failed to complete their projects.