Governors in western Kenya say they have fulfilled most of the pledges they made four years ago as they seek re-election on August 8.
In their scorecards, during their state of county addresses, Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Sospeter Ojaamong of Busia, Bungoma’s Ken Lusaka and their Vihiga counterpart Moses Akaranga highlighted the promises they made and kept.
Ojaamong said he had expanded the road network. He said they bought equipment they used to open up 1,600 kilometres of new roads and repaired another 700 kilometres.
“My government has also constructed 112 culverts, 12 bridges and set up 177 light masts across the county,” Ojaamong said.
He said his administration had constructed over 200 classrooms in Early Childhood Development centres - at least six classrooms in each of the 35 wards in the county. “We have also disbursed Sh320 million as bursaries,” said Ojaamong.
He said his government had also provided clean and safe drinking water to residents with over 100 solar-powered boreholes having been constructed, at least three in each ward.
However, his fiercest rival Funyula MP Paul Otuoma said the governor had failed to initiate any meaningful development in the county.
“I want to offer good leadership at the grassroots in terms of resource distribution, development and creation of wealth. I also want to empower women and youth. I believe I have what it takes to achieve all that and more,” said Otuoma.
The Busia gubernatorial contest is touted to be a two-horse race pitting Ojaamong against Otuoma. The two will battle it out for the ODM ticket.
This is after former Kisumu County Secretary Humphrey Nakitare, who was also eyeing ODM ticket, defected to Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC).
Nakitare is said to have defected because he did not believe he would have the equal chance in ODM with Ojaamong and Otuoma, both close friends of party leader Raila Odinga. Ojaamong and his supporters have repeatedly told off competitors over the party’s ticket, claiming they were sure of clinching it.
In Bungoma, Lusaka said he had accomplished a lot and for that, he deserves a second. “I have done a lot in almost all sectors in four years and that is why I am seeking re-election to complete what is left,” said Lusaka.
Lusaka, who will be running on a Jubilee Party ticket, will be up against former Kanduyi MP Alfred Khangati of ODM, Consumers Federation of Kenya boss Stephen Mutoro (ANC) and businessmen Wycliffe Wangamati (Ford Kenya). They said Lusaka had failed.
“This administration has failed to curb corruption. I want to correct the ills they have committed, including corruption, if elected. My other focus will be to empower youth and women and create an enabling environment for doing business,” said Mutoro.
Lusaka cited construction of a rental unit at the Bungoma County Referral Hospital, modernisation of theatres in hospitals in Webuye and Bungoma and a Sh300 million water project that has benefited 300,000 people as some of his achievements.
Wangamati’s candidature was endorsed two years ago by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and since then, he has been traversing the county campaigning.
Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has since endorsed Lusaka’s re-election.
A Sh6 billion Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital, which is under construction, is one of the mega projects Oparanya’s administration has initiated.
The county government is also upgrading Bukhungu Stadium to international status at a cost of Sh1 billion.
“The hospital will offer specialised healthcare for cancer, diabetes, kidney patients, among other ailments. Despite many challenges, we have made tremendous strides,” he said.
He added: “We five have radiographers and equipped all level four hospitals with specialised equipment.”
On infrastructure, the county government has started a Sh10 billion project to tarmac 200 kilometres of roads.
However, Senator Boni Khalwale, who is seeking to unseat Oparanya, says not much has been achieved and that corruption is rampant.
Oparanya will be seeking re-election on an ODM ticket, where he is one of the deputy party leaders while Khalwale will be seeking the seat on a Ford-K ticket, where he is the deputy party leader. This will depend on whether or not NASA will hold joint nominations.
In Vihiga, Akaranga says he prioritised rehabilitation and expansion of infrastructure. Akaranga says he has opened up many roads and tarmacked main roads.
“The economic growth strategy for the county demands a review of farmers’ incentives and modernisation of agriculture through affordable and appropriate technologies and this is what we have done,” said Akaranga.
He added: “My administration also regarded education as key to unlocking the potential of our children.”
But Emuhaya MP Wilbur Otichillo has accused Akaranga of not selecting qualified individuals for county jobs.
Ottichilo says he wants to create cohesion and integration among the three major sub-tribes in the county - Tiriki, Maragoli and Banyore - who are often divided.
He said he wants to invest in the youth, most of whom are jobless. Otichillo will contest the seat on an ODM ticket while Akaranga will seek re-election on a Progressive Party of Kenya ticket.
Akaranga declined to dissolve his party but has been working with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He maintained that his good working relationship with the national government had seen various projects initiated in the county, including a Sh1.8 billion water project.