The race for governorship is attracting technocrats in Nyamira and Kisii counties with politicians scheming to have their allies take up the positions.
The region known for electing leaders on clan and financial basis, is now shifting to proven managerial record. In the past two months, a non-governmental organisation, Kisii Centre for Community Dialogue on Governance and Human Rights, has been educating the electorate on leadership skills they should look out for when electing candidates for the governorship.
“We are telling our people that they must elect a manager to the office of governor. Not a politician and a mere populist. We are telling our people to forget clans but vet all those we will offer themselves on what they did while in office,” said the NGO’s Director Geoffrey Mogire.
Mr Mogire has advised the electorate to go for a leader who has the ability to manage farming activities and investments.
“ Kisii has about 20 banks operating in the town centre alone.?That shows that money in circulation and the exchange of cash from one sector to the other is high and all it needs is a conducive environment under trustworthy hands of a governor for the region to prosper,” he said.
The NGO has cautioned the electorate in the two counties against falling prey to handouts to influence their choices. “We want a manager capable of linking easily the county with others in foreign countries, but not a person who knows only Kisii region and Kenya,” said Mogire.
Kisii County leaders eyeing the governorship include former PS James Ongwae now heading the Raila Odinga presidential campaign, former DC Peter Ndemo, brother to PS Bitange Ndemo, former National Social Security Fund CEO Naftali Mogere, and Kitutu-Chache MP Richard Onyonka. Mr Ongwae is a holder of a Master’s degree from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands, on Public Policy and Administration and an economics degree holder from the University of Nairobi. He has served in the public service for 30 years.
ODM faces a delicate balancing act given that Ongwae and Onyonka want to vie for governorship on the party ticket. And Public Works Minister Chris Obure is eying the senator’s position in Kisii County, which has also attracted ODM Executive Director Janet Ongera.