Puzzle of top governors booted out
SEE ALSO :Google fined Sh5.7b over GDPR failuresOn the flip-side, average governors and poor performing ones were rewarded with a second term. Either by design or default, voters fired 10 out of the top 15 governors in the counties that had improved their economies most between 2013 and 2017, when they came in. Though economic growth is not just a factor of the county government and its administration, policies put by governors to support their population had a hand in expanding their economies. Unavailability of this data or just poor voting patterns may have cost performers their jobs. Economic growth is also one of the best tools to measure the speed of wealth being created and distributed in the county, but it is not the only parameter. Except for Elgeyo Marakwet, which was the best performer in the five years to 2017, that rewarded its pioneer Governor Alex Tolgos with a second term, the next four best counties all fired their governors. Mr Tolgos, who was the only lucky one in the list of top five to survive voters’ wrath, led an administration that pushed up the county’s GDP by an impressive 190 per cent, making him the best performing governor in the first term of office.
SEE ALSO :CBK cautions Treasury on cost of loansBut Laikipia’s Joshua Irungu was not very lucky. During his time as the county boss, the economic might of Laikipia swelled by 112 per cent, but this was not enough to convince the electorate to vote him back into office. Bungoma also did not spare Ken Lusaka, whose administration saw the more than doubling up of the county’s GDP. KNBS data shows that the economy of Bungoma County expanded by 106 per cent between 2013 and 2017. But the wheelbarrow scandal and ‘wrong’ political affiliations saw him replaced by Wycliffe Wangamati, who was running on the opposition party ticket. If Lusaka was not lucky to have landed a job at Parliament as Speaker of the Senate, he would probably be also out there in the cold as well. The other top performing counties that replaced their county bosses include Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi and Lamu. Nyeri’s case was however special because its founding governor died in office. Despite the regime changes, the county grew its economy by 105.6 per cent in the period.
Poor performersBut it was not all gloom. Some counties that had the poorest growth also seemed to have felt it in their pockets and acted when the time came to vote. For instance, all the bottom five counties in terms of GDP growth replaced their governors at the ballot. Kisumu, the poorest of them all, sent Jack Ranguma packing after he presided over slowest growth in all the 47 counties. Kisumu grew by 43.6 per cent in the five year period. The second last county was Garissa, which also fired Nathif Jama. Wajir and Nairobi recorded poor economic expansions but also booted their governors. In between, a number of governors still retained their seats, having done nearly nothing to stir their economies and put more money in the pockets of their residents. The report notes that counties that are largely dominated by urban centres, notably Nairobi City and Mombasa, have had their shares of GCP consistently decline over the period, mostly due to growth in agriculture’s contribution to the GDP.