Why impeachment stalks some governors as politically-savvy survive

Counties headed by former technocrats are likely to remain in a flux for some time as their colleagues with firm foothold in politics have it easy.

The difference in the style of handling pressure is contrasting between governors with previous experience in politics and those from the private sector, public or diplomatic service.

As the technocrats learn the ropes of swimming in murky politics, there are indications some are coping by bending backwards to minister to whims of MPs and Members of County Assembly (MCAs).

They are attempting to swim with prevailing political current. The shift has somewhat quietened the turbulence that had almost become a byword for county governments.

Reports of erstwhile embattled Embu Governor Martin Wambora having shipped MCAs to Arusha, Tanzania, for a retreat may have come as a surprise in a county that had plunged into chaos as soon the regional government was constituted.

For more than six months now, the MCAs have been in good humour, thanks to what they say is Wambora of 'pro-people' strategy.

By contrast, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, among many others stewed in politics, deploy skills horned over the years to see of challenges, effectively applying the carrot and stick technique to weather storms.

In Makueni, a combination political and intellectual acumen has seen Governor Kivutha Kibwana turn the heat on MCAs, who wanted him out.

Prof Kivutha has since petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the county government citing "irreconcilable differences".

Against this backdrop, political analyst Larry Gumbe attributes persistent controversies to executive power that has been transferred to two levels; national and county.

He says previously elected leaders wielded both political and executive authority because of the positions they enjoyed in the cabinet or through proximity to power.

"People want to control resources. The senators and MCAs can only legislate and oversight county governments, but not have the resources to dish out. That is why they are fighting for power. The MPs were used to being at the centre of power," explains Prof Gumbe.

In the fight for authority and power, governors without previous political experience have found the going rough.

Besides Wambora, other county chiefs who are steeped in trouble with either MCAs, MPs or electorate include Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Issa Timammy (Lamu), Jack Ranguma (Kisumu), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Cornell Rasanga (Siaya), Ahmed Mohamad (Wajir) and Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma).

Elgeyo Marakwet's Alex Tolgos, Nderitu Gachagua (Nyeri), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang'a), Ukur Yatani (Marsabit), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Samuel Tunai (Narok) and Zachary Obado (Migori) too, have not been spared.

According to Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan Omar, there is a glaring vacuum in county seats power.

"Senators are politicians who know how to manage expectations of their supporters. There is no reciprocity in relationship between governors and the people they serve," he says.

By contrast, counties headed by those with political history have experienced least turbulence. They are Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Meru, Isiolo, Turkana, Nyeri, Kilifi, and Tana River among others.