Kihika's county secretary nominee vetted

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

Samuel Mwaura, the acting Nakuru County Secretary and Head of Public Service, finally faced the assembly Committee on Appointments after months of speculation over the appointment of a substantive County Secretary.

Dr Mwaura who stepped in a year ago after Governor Susan Kihika took over from her predecessor Lee Kinyanjui, was put to task on what he would do to ensure Nakuru residents living in areas prone to floods will be secured from the anticipated El Nino rains.

Kihika submitted Mwaura's name to the assembly over that of former Speaker Joel Kairu who made it to the list of the two qualified candidates approved by a selection committee two weeks ago.

Yesterday, Mwaura who had served as the Health Chief Officer in the inaugural county government, said in his acting capacity as County Secretary, he has ensured the county government selected three committees headed by County Executive Committee Member (CECM) Public Service to ensure the county is ready for the same.

“We have 3,600 volunteers located in hot spot areas affected by floods, landslides, destruction and rising of lake levels due to heavy rains. Their role is to report the situation on the ground,” said Mwaura.

Mwaura confirmed that the county has started surveys of drainage systems in prone areas of Naivasha, Gilgil, Mai Mahiu and Nakuru city, among other areas.

He said the county has identified specific areas; Maela, Biashara ward in Naivasha, London, Kampi ya Moto, Hells Gate in Naivasha, and Kiamunyi, affected by flash floods and destruction during heavy rains.

“We have had disasters in the recent past, especially landslides that have led to infrastructure damages and blockage of drainage systems. We will control what we can and ensure we respond swiftly to unseen natural disasters,” he said.

The committee asked Mwaura about a performance contract that was signed by the CECMs, taking effect on July 1, 2023, and what it meant for the people of Nakuru.

In response, Mwaura said the CECM committed themselves to perform or else be sacked. He said the county government will be doing quarterly reviews in every department.

He insisted that the CECMs will be judged in terms of service delivery to Nakuru residents and not with how many projects they have launched or the money they have used.

“If a borehole is dug, we will do a review focused on how many residents access water through the borehole, rather than focus on how many boreholes have been dug,” said Mwaura.

He said the remodelled direction of performance review will ensure the county’s manifesto that has its people at the centre of service delivery, is implemented.

The committee raised concerns of the serious crimes that had been happening within the county.

They specifically focused on 11-year-old Jasmine Njoki, who was defiled and killed, before her body was dumped in a thicket in Kasambara Village, Gilgil on September 19, 2023.

“There are a lot of outcries over recent criminal activities including murders, defilements and theft among others. What will you do to change that if appointed?” asked the committee.

Mwaura said the county will work with the Nyumba Kumi initiative, the police and residents to deal with insecurity.

He said the county has facilitated village administration with a vehicle to ensure there are swift responses to such incidents.

Mwaura also spoke on the county’s plan to reduce and maintain traffic in the city, especially after Matatus were allowed back in town.

He said the county put up a regulation that only allows two matatus to be in the terminus of each of the 136 Saccos at any given time.

“The matatus operators have also been directed to pick and drop passengers in their respective designated areas to reduce traffic in the city,” he said.

Mwaura made a promise that the county will engage the police and the NTSA to evaluate whether the regulations are followed and take action where necessary.

If selected, Mwaura also promised that the county will come up with a policy of employment, promotions and contracts to stop corruption, tribalism, nepotism and favouritism.

He regretted that the policies in place were not well defined and said a draft document has been developed to ensure employment policies are clear and adhered to.

“We will ensure all the leaders are transparent because hiding information raises alarm and cause for concern on service delivery,” he said.