The Kisii County government started with the vision of building a prosperous community for all. Sad to say, not all have benefitted with fairness. Who is to blame and why? On the spot are the failures of Governor James Ongwae.
Abagusii people have a legacy of producing influential leaders at the national level. The same is, however, not always the case at home as you would expect. Unfortunately, even the praise worth legacy of Governor James Ongwae is in a crisis.
10 shocking failures of Governor James Ongwae
Governor Ongwae has not delivered enough on matters relating to the youths, administration, and agriculture.
We can confirm the following after travelling across Kisii County with Ongwae’s manifesto as our checklist.
1. Corruption and nepotism allegations
According to Cyprian Nyakundi, key impunity pointers are delayed salaries, mishandling of health workers, unequal distribution of resources, and stalled projects.
Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi further argues that Ongwae is an intelligent thief who knows how to manipulate the system in his favour.
Rapper Smallz Lethal is among those who have previously faced arrest and slept in the cold for accusing Ongwae of corruption in the hit song “I Am Offended.”
Critics have been waiting for EACC and DCI offices to release charges against Ongwae, but none is forthcoming.
2. Employing less qualified workers
Cyprian Nyakundi has equally accused Ongwae of Nepotism. He alleges that the Kisii county staff comprises underqualified workers with a “relative” tag.
The vocal Kisii blogger insists that employing close family members and the politically correct regardless of qualifications is frustrating operations within Kisii County.
Nyakundi alleges that millions went into the pocket of a senior staff member who received a recent stadium upgrade tender.
3. Multimillion banana projects with no returns on investments
A public opinion holds that most of the agricultural projects that the governor has initiated have only siphoned taxpayers’ money with no valuable returns.
A launched and closed banana factory
The non-functional and under-equipped banana plant near the Kisii Agriculture Training Centre is an excellent example of Ongwae’s sleeping projects.
There is “nothing to smile about” a factory, which allegedly received funding of Ksh.110 million from the European Union.
The same attracted an additional Ksh. 60 million from the Kisii County government, bringing the total to Ksh. 170 million.
The already launched banana processing factory is not yet operational. Its dormant state is raising concerns among banana farmers.
On the other hand, youths on whom career opportunities were promised may have to wait a little longer.
Multimillion banana market in Nyamache
Some locals downplay the Nyamache banana market’s book value of Ksh.117 million against returns.
The World Bank channelled a whooping Ksh. 100 million with the Kisii County government supplementing Ksh. 17 million.
Such an amount would have better served in value addition projects as opposed to building a market.
In summary, banana production in Kisii County is far from becoming profitable to grass-root farmers.
A proposed sugar processing plant in the Nyangweta area is another controversial idea raising environmental and profitability concerns.
Kanoria Group from India has already promised to invest Ksh. 5 billion towards the mentioned sugar complex.
4. Minority decry side-lining in Ongwae government
A section of MCAs has accused the governor of failing to support them in their duties based on political differences.
These county lawmakers feel that a lack of goodwill with Governor James Ongwae is why their development projects proposals are not receiving approvals.
5. Ruthlessness to the Daraja Mbili business persons
Daraja market business people are the most affected by Ongwae’s latest moves seeking to clean the business district.
Driving open market businesses out of town to the Nyakoe area has suffered many locals to lose their daily bread. The situation is worsening with the coronavirus spike.
Yes, he may be having good plans but choosing to use excessive power instead of dialogue is a let-down.
Ongwae’s authoritative approach has also caused mayhem to several vibanda owners within the central business district in Kisii town.
6. Failures of Governor James Ongwae in water supply
Booming estates in Kisii town suffer water supply crises mainly due to broken pipes and administrative issues at GWASCO.
Occasional water outages often force urban dwellers to flock at the Kereri, Gekomu, and Nyanchwa fresh water springs.
The situation is getting out of hand with population rise.
People are now demanding a lasting solution given that Kisii is a wetland with proximity to water resources.
7. Misuse of power and office as governor
Governor James Ongwae has on several occasions faced accusations of using excessive power in his leadership.
Unwillingness to relocate his office from the County Assembly premises is the latest development.
Some county assembly officials think that having the governor’s office near the house chambers affects its freedom.
Unhappy MCAs argue that Ongwae was involved in shielding the Kisii County speaker, David Kombo, against impeachment.
8. Failures of Governor James Ongwae in the health sector
Ongwae was a frontline governor in calling for health workers’ sacking instead of engaging them in the proposed CBA dialogue.
Some health workers reported receiving threats that included sacking letters.
There are now fears if counties will keep the promise of treating workers with professional fairness
9. Poor planning and congestion in Kisii Town
The messy motorbike and vehicle congestion in Kisii town during morning and evening hours result from poor planning.
Besides, unnamed streets make it almost impossible for newcomers to navigate with ease. We have enough Kisii heroes to name all the streets after their glory.
The People’s Park near Storm Hotel is another one of Ongwae’s projects, unlikely to meet people’s recreational needs to the fullest.
10. Taking megaprojects to his home constituency
It is unclear why Ongwae chose to build a level 4 hospital at his home ground, Kitutu Chache North constituency.
The modern multi-storey Marani Hospital has a capacity of at least 100 beds.
Mixed reactions point to the fact that there were more deserving locations for a similar project.
Another one of his latest projects taken home is the Nyakoe market.
Meanwhile, there are ongoing discussions on why he is likely to consider Riana Sub County, Bonchari constituency, for a sewerage site.
The legacy and failures of Governor James Ongwae
The first governor of Kisii County has proven himself a performer except for a few blunders.
Above all, he will forever hold the legacy of socio-economic progress and infrastructural prosperity.
Kisii County is making appreciable moves in the right direction amid the failures of Governor James Ongwae. Let us wait and see who will succeed him as governor and whether they will improve on his admirable leadership.