When he took the oath of office in August 2017, Kisumu Governor Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o had a 10-point agenda for the lakeside county.
Relocation of the Kachok dumpsite, clearing drainage system and formation of the city board were on the priority list.
Even though he has not fully achieved them, two weeks ago, he was ranked the best performing county chief compared to Mombasa’s Hassan Joho and Nairobi’s Mike Sonko.
Trade and Insights For Africa (TIFA) Research Company awarded Nyong’o 56 per cent (C+) as his average performance followed by Mombasa 53 per cent (C) and lastly Nairobi County with a score of 44 per cent (D+).
Thematic areas captured in the survey conducted between May 1 and May 4 were; street lighting, clean water, ECDE, environmental cleanliness, county health, services, trade, youth polytechnics, market centres, bursaries, feeder roads and sewerage systems.
And now the good professor can boast that his dream of having a clean city has been achieved after the survey awarded him 59 per cent in environmental cleanliness, attributed to air pollution, garbage and drainage.
Cleanliness was one of Nyong’o’s main agenda when he took over the county leadership from Jack Ranguma, with relocation of the Kachok dumpsite and general cleanliness of the street given priority.
To achieve this, the governor, engaged 250 casual labourers to clean the streets. The casuals were employed in November last year, earning Sh300 for each of the three days a week they work.
They were picked from each of the five wards in Kisumu Central sub-county, namely: Manyatta, Market-Milimani, Railways, Migosi and Nyalenda B. Six months after their unveiling, the result is sparkling city streets and open drainage.
“The whole country has been experiencing flooding due to the heavy rains across the country, but not much flooding has been reported in Kisumu because water easily flows through the open drainages,” said the head of the Governor’s Press Unit, Alloice Ager.
He added: “The casuals are mostly youth and women, and we spend Sh1.5 million monthly on their remuneration.”
According to Ager, the cleaning initiative was put in place as a short term measure to restore the glory of the lakeside city as he works on a long term programme.
The programme targeted Kisumu Central sub-county, which covers the urban parts of the county, especially the central business district and major feeder roads.
Working three times a week, the team, divided into smaller groups, sweeps the streets, unclogs drainages and clears bushy areas within the city. Six months down the line, Nyong’o is contemplating making the programme permanent to have waste disposal which has been a menace in many towns across the county, completely sorted.
“The programme is currently temporary, but once we have the city board and a functional public service board, there will be a better-structured way to set up a permanent team in charge of the city’s hygiene and even escalate it to the satellite towns within the county,” he said.
Relocation of Kachok dumpsite which has been an eyesore at the centre of the city for over 30 years is ongoing, with Ager saying 100,000 metric tonnes of waste has already been moved.
The dumpsite sits on a 10-acre land, which by the start of the exercise was holding 500,000 metric tonnes of waste. When the waste removal is complete, the land will be turned into a park.
Ager confirmed that one third of the land has since been cleared, with the design for a park already in place, to bring to an end the long discussion over the waste which cost Kisumu a chance to host CECAFA, a regional tournament, last year.
The tournament management said it was not safe to host its matches at Moi Stadium which is adjacent to the dumpsite.
Other short-term agenda by Professor Nyong’o when he took over included; modernisation of Kibuye and Jubilee markets under Kisumu Urban Project, establishment of village councils and village administrators, present a Bill in the Assembly for the establishment of Kisumu County roads maintenance team and establish Kisumu economic and social council.
Others were taking a comprehensive census of traditional health workers (nyamrerwa) for remuneration and clear terms of service, preparing an action plan for the revival of the sugar industries in the county in consultation with the national government and initiating the rejuvenation of the rice industry and purchase the JICA tractors.
The TIFA survey also showed that market centres in Kisumu were best maintained compared to Mombasa and Nairobi which were grappling with garbage, lack of toilets, congestion and poor drainage.
“We have a lot in the pipeline, and we will soon roll them out so that the governor’s performance can be more visible,” said Ager.