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After the narrow escape, Gachagua must mend fences and change leadership style

UREPORT
By Patrick Kairu | September 18th 2016

The Senate has given Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua a lifeline by overturning an impeachment endorsed by Members of the County Assembly.

With just about 11 months to the General Election, the Governor got a very important reprieve which he must now use to endear himself to the electorate.

The Senate warned that he could still find himself impeached again in about three months. Worse still, the voters could hand him a harsh verdict in the hotly contested 2017 elections, considering the many politicians eyeing his seat.

Now, as he embarks on working with MCAs who had wanted him out of office, he will need to change tack so as to realize the dream of devolution for Nyeri residents. He must reassure them that he is still their best bet for county leadership.

For more than four years, constant wrangling has derailed that dream and made the county an example of how devolved resources and governance should not be utilized.

It has been painful seeing what the vast and agriculturally rich county mired in constant bickering at the expense of development and improved service delivery.

As a businessman and a person brought up and living in Nyeri, I would like the Governor to take seriously the bits of advice he got from the Senate. He must be willing to change his management style and work with people. Going forward, the governor should now take charge of the county administration to achieve aspirations of Nyeri people.

He can begin by appointing a substantive County Executive and effect the gender rule where not more than two thirds should be from one gender. He cannot claim that there are not qualified women to fill up the positions, while there are thousands of them qualified and willing to work.

Indeed, there are claims that qualified individuals many shy away from the county government jobs due to his high handedness. This is evidenced by the fact that nearly all senior officers in his county government have resigned citing frustrations from his office.

The governor has also failed to sign some seven Bills passed by the County Assembly into law.

Whatever the misgivings he has seen in the Bills, he can dutifully identify them and return to the House with corrections, seek consensus and then assent to them.

Holding the pieces of legislation in limbo only fuels unnecessary conflicts and holds back service delivery. Indeed, failure to sign the county bills is an abdication of his role.

The governor survived the impeachment at the Senate only because the legislators found that the allegations against him are not gross as enrhined in the County Government Act. The Senators castigated him saying he was guilty of some of the charges against him.

Indeed, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr did not mince his words saying, “Certainly there is corruption in Nyeri. There is impunity and violations of the law. If there is a charge of incopetence, then there is on in Nyeri under the administration of James Nderitu Gachagua.”

That was telling. None other than Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki told the governor to get his house in order and work with the people of Nyeri and make devolution work.

This is the time to mend fences and fix what is ailing the great county of Nyeri. Blame game and passing of responsibility should be history as we usher in growth for all.

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