How I ran the county from the US- Nyong'o

Kisumu County governor Anyang Nyongo during an interview at his office on March 2nd 2018. (Collins Oduor, standard)
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has opened up about how he managed county affairs from his hospital bed in the US for nearly two months.

Prof Nyong’o kept tabs on the county, monitoring performance of his deputy Mathews Owili, executive committee and county assembly through Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and other online platforms to ensure there was no power vacuum.

“There was no power vacuum. I was in charge and was being briefed by my deputy and ministers most of the time. I chaired Cabinet meetings via Skype. We called and texted one another on a daily basis. It worked well,” he told Saturday Standard at his office yesterday.

So engrossed on county affairs was the governor that he would defy doctors’ advice for complete rest by engaging his Cabinet on long phone calls.

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With his wife Dorothy and actress daughter Lupita by his bedside, Nyong’o spent most of his time on his laptop and tablet monitoring the goings on at home.

He paid particular interest on the controversial relocation of the Kachok dumpsite, one of the key plans he had vowed to implement in his first 100 days at the Prosperity House.

Nyong’o spent close to two months at a hospital in San Francisco where he underwent a hip bone operation. The governor sustained an injury in his hip following an accident in Nairobi early last year.

He said county programmes remained on course during his absence because of his competent members of the executive committee.

“This is the advantage of going to school. We used virtual conferences to manage the county,” he said.

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Several projects including the relocation of the dumpsite and the implementation of the Kenya Urban Projects (KUK) co-funded by the French government went on as scheduled even as the governor recuperated in the US.

Fully recovered

Nyong’o said he is now fully recovered - from the prostrate cancer he was diagnosed with in 2010 and the hip bone injury.

“I am fully back on duty and we are implementing the many projects we promised in our manifesto. Kisumu has taken a new bright look. Most of the projects we promised in the first 100 days are either complete or are almost being finalised,” he said.

The governor said he was concerned but not distracted by people he claimed wished him death through social media while in the US. While undergoing treatment, he wrote a lengthy newspaper article in which he expressed anger at political detractors he said were wishing him death.

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He described those celebrating his illness as heartless busy bodies.

 “As I recover, I know my enemies; God help me from my friends,” he wrote.

When asked who the people celebrating his ill-health were, the governor downplayed the matter, only saying it was ill-mannered to wish people death. “Public figures have the obligation to tell people about their health. This is why I went public in 2010 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he said.

During his long absence, a war of words broke out between his deputy, Senator Fred Outa and County Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo.

Outa and Oloo accused Dr Owilli of mismanaging the county in Nyong’o’s absence.

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The differences between the county’s top leadership played out in the open during a rally at the Jomo Kenyatta grounds to welcome Nyong’o back two weeks ago. Outa was heckled by supporters, who accused him of undermining the governor, and had to leave the rally.

anyang nyong’okisumu county