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Second term governors trump first timers

By Noah Cheploen
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana accompanied by colleagues during a past press briefing outside the Supreme Court. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

Second-term governors have trounced first time colleagues in a newly-released poll where Council of Governors (COG) chairman Wycliffe Oparanya emerged top after scoring 82.3 percent.

Oparanya, the governor for Kakamega, was ranked the best performer in the poll that also saw county bosses serving their second term in office scoop seven of the top-10 positions.

 “Seven years into devolution and almost 27 months to the next elections, the time for concerted action is here,” the report released yesterday says. 

“County governments need to fully decipher the perception of their residents and develop strategies in line with their expectations,” it adds.

Evaluate the governors

Dubbed ‘Countytrak Performance Index 2019/20’ the Infotrak provided residents in all the 47 counties opportunity to evaluate their governors in terms of performance and service delivery basing on the state of devolved functions.

“One of our objectives was to get a sense of the perception of the customers on whether the mode of service has improved over time in the county,” says the report.

“It was designed with the core objective of ascertaining county residents’ assessment on the performance of their county governments against set key performance indicators and to develop a Citizens Scorecard on the performance of their county governments,:” the report adds.

Occupying the second position is Kwale’s Salim Mvurya with 77.1 percent while in third position is Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) who garnered 74.4 percent. 

A first term governor, Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) was placed fourth with 65.9 per cent while Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua emerged fifth while former

COG chairman Josephat Nanok was placed ninth with 62.5 per cent. A similar report was conducted in 2015 and this enabled the pollster to conduct a comparative analysis.

Interestingly, Governors Kibwana and Mutua who come from the same region (Eastern) have declared they are going to run for the presidency in 2022 noting their track records place them in good stead.

Apart from the fact West Pokot and Turkana counties fall under the marginalised areas, Governor John Lonyang’apuo and Nanok have to contend with perennial cattle rustling and cattle rustling menace in the North Rift region.

Some of the first term governors in the top ten include: John Lonyang’apuo (West Pokot, 64.2 per cent), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi, 62.6 per cent) and Hillary Barchok (Bomet, 60.6 per cent).

Despite finding himself without a deputy after Nicholas Atudonyang moved back to his base in the US soon after he was sworn in 2017, Prof Lonyanga’puo recorded a sterling performance, scoring 64.2 percent.

At the same time, Njuki, currently battling corruption charges scored an impressive 62.6 percent while Barchok who took over last year following the death of Governor Lorna Laboso emerged tenth with 60.6 percent.

It is little surprise that former  Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who was impeached last year after being hauled in the courts to answer to corruption charges emerged last after scoring a meager 33 percent.

Observers will be interested to know why Narok, another rich and strategic county particularly in terms of tourism and agriculture, is steadily slipping away from the top although it is blessed with immense resources.

The bottom ten governors are Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo), Mahamud Abdi (Wajir), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta), Godhana Dhadho (Tana River), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), John Nyagarama (Nyamira), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu), and James Nyoro (Kiambu).

Governors Murungi, Khaemba, Kuti, Samuel Tunai (Narok), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua),

It is worth noting that Kiambu is one of the rich counties and one of top leading GDP contributor by virtue of the fact that it is both an agricultural and industrial hub neighbouring Nairobi.

But, curiously, it was ranked in the bottom five in terms of agriculture performance; alongside far flung and Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties such as Wajir, Isiolo, Tana River and Taita Taveta.

In terms of overall county performance, Kakamega was ranked number one with 57 per cent followed by Kwale (54.8 per cent), Makueni 54.7) per cent, Kisumu (53.4 Per cent), Uasin Gishu (53.1 per cent), and West Pokot (52.7 per cent).