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Reckless talk scaring away investors, Ottichilo tells leaders

 Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo. [File, Standard]

Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo has warned a section of elected leaders against reckless talk saying it was scaring investors and development partners.

Addressing journalists at the county headquarters in Mbale town, Dr Ottichilo said some leaders took advantage of the doctors' strike to gain political mileage unaware that it was portraying the county in bad light which caused some investors in the health sector to threaten to withdraw support.

“Bad and negative image of the county is of great disadvantage to our county, especially in the health sector where we have a lot of development partners supporting our noble and helpful health programs that benefit our people,” he said.

"I have more than 20 development partners in the health sector alone who are helping us to achieve what we promised our people, as leaders when we start talking and writing negative things about our health sector, it scares investors away, they have been calling me asking if what they are seeing is true so that they can discontinue their support and it is our people who will suffer in case they opt to withdraw that support so we must be cautious and mindful,” he added.

The governor urged leaders to reach out to him about his administration instead of going to funerals and public forums to talk ill about the county government.

“I have not seen leaders in other counties talking ill of their county when we well know the medics' strike has been a nationwide issue but it is only in Vihiga where our leaders have been going to the media, funerals, and other places saying how my administration has failed to work," he said.

"They should know that this administration does not belong to me as a governor but it is a government of the people of Vihiga who elected it, let us work together and steer Vihiga to greater heights,” he added.

Ottichilo said effective service delivery of his administration will not be achieved if the county leadership works in isolation.

He urged leaders to embrace consultative and constructive leadership as opposed to confrontational politics.

“I want to urge our elected leaders, civil society groups and religious leaders to work together moving forward with the county government in addressing challenges that face the county rather than painting our county in bad light,” he said.

The governor said his administration has converted all doctors who were employed on contract to permanent and pensionable terms and six doctors are on study leave, fully sponsored by the county government.

Ottichilo noted that 750 healthcare workers had already been promoted and designated in April and some received letters from the County Public Service Board at the time they were joining the medics' strike while 120 others were promoted in 2021.

The governor's sentiments come hot on the heels of claims by Senator Godfrey Osotsi and Sabatia MP Clement Sloya his administration had failed to address the medics strike and resuscitate the ailing health sector.

Osotsi, who is eyeing the county's top seat in 2027 has become a fierce critic of Ottichilo’s administration while maintaining that he was exercising his oversight role.

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