Kihika warns against graft, non-performance as top county officials sign performance contracts

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika addressing the public on September 14, 2023, as her CECs and other top county government officials signed performance contracts at the county offices. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

Nakuru governor Susan Kihika has put on notice non-performing county government officials and those involved themselves in corruption warning that they would be sacked.

"There have been instances where members of the public have complained to me directly over how county officials are treating them, offering poor services and others demanding bribes. I do not take such complaints lightly. Before you fail the electorates, I will have shown you the door," Ms Kihika said during an event where top county officials signed performance contracts.

She said she is keen on delivering what she promised in her manifesto and she will not tolerate anyone who wants to compromise the programmes her administration is rolling out in that regard.

The governor singled out the health and lands departments as some of those where many questions have been raised, especially over alleged graft and poor services, noting that she had called for investigations into the claims.

"I have been told of a public hospital that won't allow payment through mobile money transfers. Officials there say they only want cash. This means the money may not be reaching the county accounts. And why would they be strict about cash payments when mobile cash transfers are accepted? It has to stop immediately even as we carry out investigations,” said Kihika.

She said she is also determined to deal with cartels in the county who have been complicating the delivery of services.

"I am also keen on avoiding wastage of county resources, financial and even equipment, including vehicles," said the governor. 

Unnecessary spending

Kihika added: “There has been a lot of resistance to the use of fuel cards which I introduced to cut down on unnecessary spending. There have been people misusing county vehicles. County vehicles are not meant for personal use yet that is what is happening in some departments. We will be installing all vehicles with tracking devices. These changes are here to stay.”

The governor who, as area senator, was critical of the previous regime over budget rollovers, has included departmental absorption of the funds in the performance contracts to keep the officials on their toes.

“The Controller of Budget wrote to the county government expressing concerns over the slow absorption of funds between 2018 and 2022, with an average rollover of Sh5.7 billion development budget every year. We must put this to an end,” said Kihika.

She warned the CECMs against the unwarranted delays that may lead to such budget rollovers saying this shall determine whether their contracts will be renewed or discontinued.

"Nakuru has had a history where governors only serve for one term. I am not ready to join that list just because someone failed to do the job we have given them. Supervisory roles must be taken diligently, especially by CECMs,” she said.

Supervision of contractors

Delays in the implementation of projects have been linked to poor supervision of contractors and poor management of projects some of which have gone beyond their stipulated timelines.

On land matters, the governor revealed that some former civic leaders are using her name to defraud investors of their money by selling to them public land.

“There is a former mayor who has become notorious for land fraud. County officials who have been facilitating this, you are on notice. I shall not only fire you but also institute prosecution,” Kihika said.

To protect public land against grabbers, the governor directed respective departments to ensure the properties are well documented.

“Most government land has no title deeds. The existence of some is unknown. Every CECM is expected to map all government assets, process ownership documents and take physical custody of those assets,” said Kihika.

Sh5.6 billion sewerage project

The governor revealed that some of the public land meant to facilitate a Sh5.6 billion sewerage project had been grabbed by private developers in collusion with rogue county officials.

“I am sad to inform you that the land where phases 2 and 3 of this project were to be implemented was grabbed. This is unacceptable and the project must continue as planned,” she said.

She directed the CECMs to conduct a study on programmes previously initiated and make a report that will aid in keeping her agenda in the various sectors on track.

“The CECMs must document successes, challenges, failures and lessons from their predecessors on programs and a report submitted to me in 30 days. That information will be used to produce impactful results,” she said.

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