As the curtain falls on the terms of some Nyanza governors, the future of a number of projects the county chiefs initiated remains uncertain.
Some of the projects gobbled millions of taxpayers’ money, but have failed to live up to their billing after contractors abandoned them.
Several stalled or incomplete projects dot the region, and with the county chiefs left with less than two months before exiting office, it is almost certain the projects will not be completed during the governors’ tenure.
The fate of the projects now lies in the hands of the next administrations, but there are fears the new bosses may focus on their own projects and neglect the ones started by their predecessors.
And while the county chiefs are blowing their trumpets for steering devolution as the pioneer governors, the stalled projects are a dark cloud tainting their legacies.
The projects include stadia, dispensaries, early childhood education centres, roads, resource centres, colleges, markets and Huduma centres.
A spot check by The Standard across the region established that some of the projects have been vandalised while others never took off at all.
In Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya counties incomplete stadia top the list of the projects tainting the legacies of the retiring county bosses.
In Migori, the multi-million-shilling Migori Stadium, which topped Governor Okoth Obado’s to-do list when he was elected in 2013, has stalled.
The construction that began in 2014 stalled leaving the pitch in a deplorable state. And despite allocating millions of taxpayers’ money in subsequent budgets, the project still lies incomplete.
The stadium was allocated Sh30 million in the 2014/2015 financial year for its completion after it stalled ‘due to lack of funds’. The stadium was to be designed to have a capacity of 20,000.
In the financial year 2019/2020, the county government set aside Sh80 million for the completion of the stadium, however, only Sh30 million was allocated for the works.
Joseph Odhoch, a resident, said it was unfortunate that the county government had failed to deliver the project for an entire two terms after promising to revive sports in the devolved unit.
“The stalled projects are undermining the growth of the county at large to compete favourably with other counties economically,” said Odhoch.
But it is not the stadium alone that has stalled, a spot check across the region has established that several other projects started by Obado’s administration have either stalled or have been abandoned.
They include the Migori town market and the construction of a maize milling factory in Nyabisawa in Suna West.
In September 2016, traders from Migori town destroyed the Migori town market shelters and the fences that were erected by the county government. They accused the administration of delaying the project.
The traders noted that they had suffered for a long time and could no longer continue working under the scorching sun or rains.
According to Migori Small Traders secretary Odhiambo Migore, the county government had promised to complete the market within six months but the project has since stalled.
Water projects in Oruba, Ragana, Nyakenda and Kadika have stalled, with residents relying on boda boda operators to ferry water from the river.
Governor Okoth Obado in his manifesto in 2013 promised residents piped water which remains unfulfilled to date. About three weeks ago, Obado defended the performance of his administration and unveiled a scorecard of some of the projects his administration had implemented.
“When I came into office in 2013, there were no proper structures and there were no resources to finance major projects. Our roads and health system were horrible,” Obado said.
In Homa Bay, several projects have also stalled, putting Governor Cyprian Awiti’s administration under sharp criticism from locals.
The projects include a Sh160 million maize milling plant in Kigoto village in Suba South Constituency. Construction of the maize miller started in July 2015 and is yet to be completed.
In August 2015, the county government launched the construction of a Sh500 million factory for manufacturing animal feeds in Arujo village. The project has since been abandoned. Locals were optimistic the factories would create employment opportunities.
Awiti’s Deputy Hamilton Orata told The Standard that their administration implemented several projects but did not complete some because of a lack of funds.
In Siaya, a number of projects dating back to the 2014/2015 financial year are incomplete.
They include the Sh488 million Siaya County Stadium project that was to be completed last year.
The project consultant Samwel MacOpiyo said the contractor had done initial groundworks, running tracks, boundary walls, compacting and filling the field with a mix of red soil, sand and planting of grass.
“The contractor is yet to do the civil works at the parking area, including excavating the entire area and backfilling it to pave way for carpet tiling,” said MacOpiyo
County Secretary Joseph Ogutu said the delays had been occasioned by the effects of Covid-19.
In Bondo sub-county, the construction of the Migwena Sports complex and modern slaughterhouse has stalled despite millions of shillings being allocated to them every financial year.
According to the Financial Year 2019/20, the sports facility was allocated Sh10 million, with an additional Sh20 million in the proposed budget for the 2020/21 fiscal year.
At Got Agulu hospital, weeds and bats have taken over the mortuary facility, more than five years after its construction began
In Siaya, a toilet that was allocated Sh300,000 for completion in the fiscal year 2017/18 is still not in use.
In Kisumu, although Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o is seeking a second term, his administration has been criticised for failing to complete some projects.
In Kisii, retiring Governor James Ongwae can hold his head high after completing the major projects he promised residents when he was elected in 2013.
[Reporting by Anne Atieno, Stanley Ongwae, Eric Abuga, Olivia Odhiambo, James Omoro and Isaiah Gwengi]