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Supremacy wars, ego politics derailing development in Kisii

Governor Simba Arati. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Kisii County has experienced ugly political scenes that could derail the region's development. 

From selfish political interests to supremacy wars, the county seems stuck as leaders clash. 

The recent tabling of the impeachment motion against Deputy Governor Robert Monda seems to have opened the lid on what could be ailing the county. 

A quiet and soft-spoken Dr Monda, while addressing the media last Thursday, exposed what could be the underlying factors in his otherwise bad blood with Governor Simba Arati. 

This is even as Arati seems to be at loggerheads with some political leaders from the region, including his Senator Richard Onyonka and Woman Rep Dorice Donya.  

Arati, alongside Onyonka and Donya, campaigned ahead of the 2022 General Election under the Azimio la Umoja Coalition. 

High-handedness

However, Onyonka could later part with the governor, accusing him of being high-handed. Donya followed suit and called on the governor to consult his fellow leaders in the county. 

National Assembly Chief Whip Slyvanous Osoro has also been on Arati's case, accusing him of under-performance. 

"The issues are much more than what we see in the public. The county leadership lacks accountability and transparency. We will continue to speak our minds. The governor should come down and listen to his people and let him seek an expert's opinion on how better to manage the county. Development in the county is stuck," said Mr Osoro. 

The governor has constantly accused local leaders of interfering with his leadership. 

"Each one of us has a role to play. Those accusing me have a responsibility in their respective electoral areas. I won't be intimidated. We have to clean the mess because there are no angels who will come over to work for us. There is no problem in Kisii," said Arati. 

Attending a funeral service at Nyaura in Kisii last Friday, Arati said he has been trying to fight corrupt individuals he inherited from the former regime. 

"I have been cleaning the mess, but I have only come to realise that I assumed office along with other corrupt individuals. It is a war I am fighting against those who were corrupt in the last government and the corrupt I appointed to office,"  he said.

He said all that is needed is prayers to take Kisii to the next level. 

"I have asked for prayers. I have been threatened for way too long. The leaders criticising me have even sponsored staff in the Health department to go on strike." 

On the ongoing investigations into the NHIF fake claims at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, Arati said it is a creation of his critics. 

He also accused other leaders from the county of the delays in the release of bursary funds to the county, adding that the claims that the Controller of Budget had rejected the county's supplementary budget were false. 

However, the deputy governor's revelation during his media address last week paints a picture of a troubled county. 

Monda said he was a victim of a witch-hunt, saying he would put up a tight defence on all the three allegations levelled against him. 

He said the hurriedly prepared impeachment motion was being used as a cover-up on challenges bedevilling the county, adding that he would continue to speak his mind. 

"I have taken my time to speak to my boss. I have not been shouting or doing letters to him, but I have on several occasions approached and talked to him on how best to manage the county. 

"I have experience, having worked as a senior government officer and later on as a Member of Parliament, but what is happening in Kisii is an example of how not to the run government," said Monda.

The deputy governor highlighted several issues he said had led to having a troubled leadership. 

"We have had instances where senior staff are harassed and intimidated through arbitrary transfers and written show-cause letters. These are the people we expect to sign government documents and guide us on how to run day-to-day operations in the county," he said.

Monda said his boss commissioned a staff headcount exercise, which he says has not bore any fruit. 

He said the staff audit report allegedly revealed the presence of at least 1,000 ghost workers, a figure he said came down to 740.

"I asked the governor to follow the right process, but I was seen as an enemy of progress,"  he said.

He also cited the issue of pending bills and low absorption of development funds. 

"We now have a staggering Sh5.7 billion unspent development funds in Kisii. What we are telling our people is that we are not capable of spending our allocation,"  said Monda.

A week ago, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said he had done his part to help bring peace and reconciliation to the county but accused the governor of ignoring and despising every other leader from the region. 

Machogu said during his early days in office, he tried to bring together Gusii leaders to pacify the political environment and create a working condition for the development of the region. 

The CS later met all Gusii elected leaders and personally led them to see President William Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and individual Cabinet Secretaries to present the needs of the community. 

"There are those who feel that they should lead using an iron fist, those who think they have a monopoly on creating instability. I have done what is expected of me, showing the way. We should avoid petty party politics in our service to humanity," said Machogu.

According to Machogu, Kisii has been experiencing unfortunate incidents where leaders are attacked and others insulted because they criticise the county leadership. 

"Kisii has received more than Sh12 billion, but our people cannot see any tangible project. We must begin to ask tough questions. Some people have mistaken our silence for being cowards," said Machogu.

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