Focus on County Governments

Well, we are approaching the much touted 100 days since inauguration of the jubilee govt

So far we have had industrial unrests, rising insecurity, rising prices of basic commodities etc

We have also had Ruto commit 100m for a private jet, 100m to renovation on his yet to live in house, 250m for Kibaki to who is retired so as to continue to work.

But lets focus on the county governments. From reports about 160bn is provided for in the national budget for counties. This comes to just under 4bn each if shared equally. Each of the counties have however presented budgets ranging from 8 to 60 bn (I hope we will get the complete budget proposals sometime and publish)

In the county budgets almost across the board, 50% or more in some cases 75% is for salaries, while the remaining goes to perks like entertainment allowances, vehicle operations, housing, and offices. Most of which cannot be considered necessities.

It is very clear, and I had called this out earlier on, that the governors have not really put their minds to the task ahead. It does not help either that the national government appears to be determined to kill the true spirit of devolution by introducing various bottlenecks, chiefly sufficient and timely funding.

It was clear to me that the first half of their (Governor’s) term would be best utilised in establishing and rolling a framework or structure of operations for future governors and county governments. Unfortunately many of these governors are still playing politics and while rolling out budgets for the stomach. Granted there are a few who have come out very strongly with development agenda.

On this thread I hope we can all interrogate the operations of county governments and discuss their strategies, management, challenges, opportunities etc

For some highlights on the County budgets sample these

One interesting fact is that the County government intend to fund the shortfall through aggressive revenue collection. This is a very interesting concept in that they are targeting the very same resources that the national government is targeting which means that either the county governments will force local businesses and income earners to be double taxed, or else either county or national government will earn even less.

The perennial problem with Kenyan leadership is the inability to plan 20 to 50 years and that’s why most of these budgets are ridiculously high in that the leaders want projects with instant results rather than funding projects over a period of time.

Aside from that, the administrative overhead is extremely high.

ActionAid have an interesting report / study here

The World Bank also has a fair amount of documentation on county government issues found here,,contentMDK:23162454~pagePK:146736~piPK:146830~theSitePK:258644,00.html

Clearly there is no shortage of technical information or expertise. What we are faced with is an insincere and unnecessarily secretive government that simply does not know or care to fully implement a fully devolved government

Anyway more on this to follow in due course

30 comments on “Focus on County Governments

  1. From our friend blog Jukwaa

    We see these two gems depicting separately the engagement level of Nairobi’s top three leaders, senator, woman rep and governor

    Unbelievable gutter language from Sonko. So there you have it. Sonko has no other agenda for Nairobi other than continue bribing and giving hand outs. In this interview it comes out very clearly that the man is clueless.

    And followed by this exchange between Shebesh and Kidero and Shebesh official becomes the first Receiver of the Golden Slap (RGS) – Nairobi Chapter

    Of course dear governor claims amnesia, what a goofball

    Perhaps Kidero was going to place his hand on the shoulder of Shebesh, but in a split second both of them lost their balance resulting in Shebesh’s face hitting Kidero’s hand. Now let the drama continue

    We will review this in about 2 months when the heat has faded, other issues have come up and sober minds are ready to engage


    • haiyaya, why is everyone suddenly developing a short fuse? is it the impending ICC trials, or the effects of the VAT bill?

      on a serious note, i hope we all take these as lessons on how not to entrust a thug, or criminal with leadership positions. if anything, our kids deserve good role models…eg the gentle non-confrontational ones like ranguma 🙂

      anyway, am sure many are not entirely surprised by all the happenings. shebesh and sonko have a penchant for confrontation. the same shebesh stormed the IEBC offices and got away with a mere warning. what would make her not repeat the same mistake now that they are in power?

      I don’t condone any violence toward anyone but this appears to be a normal fight-flight response. i see shebesh the ring-leader plus over 20 heavily built men charging menacingly toward kidero’s office. not knowing what their intentions were and with his only route of escape sealed, what was he supposed to do? in fact, she should be thankful he didn’t whip out a gun.


      • Akinyi Yawa
        Ati fight or flight response? What would Kidero have been fleeing from? You have just pulled me out of retirement with this eeiish. I really dont know what more to make of this Kenyan goverment being run by thugs? I dislike this woman with a passion, her constant confrontational approach to issues that need sublte clear minds is offputting, but someone of Kidero’s statue should have known better. This is conduct unbecoming of a leader, there is no other way to look at it. He could have easily walked away and banged the door on the face of the irate woman, but a slap eeish. I had to laugh when watching the video, as Shebesh herself could not believe she had just been slapped. She keeps asking “Kidero did you just slap me?” Its not just the slap that bothers me but the look on Kidero’s face, as if he could kill someone. I think he may just have handed Waititu the governership on a silver platter. Lets wait and see.


      • Moesha,

        welcome to the banana republic. painful as it sounds, we have to accept the standards we set by electing ICC indictees and certified land grabbers to the highest office. the good news 🙂 is that our experiences now might serve as valuable lessons in future. the moment we start being selective in our condemnation, I view it all as politics. predictably, there are already calls for kidero’s resignation and I say…CRAP

        my opinion was based on what i saw in the clip – someone repulsing a mob that had invaded his space. trying to reason with a mob is an exercise in futility don’t you think so? i don’t know what shebesh hoped to accomplish by ignoring the civilized route. what I do know is that risking her neck was a dumb move. yes, kidero had a choice to ‘walk away’ from the situation only if the crowd wasn’t already in his face. my only beef with kidero is his denial of something that actually happened and worse still, was caught on camera.

        shebesh’s latest stunt was totally unnecessary especially considering all the negative publicity and rumors swirling about her. as if being thwacked on national TV isn’t bad enough, she is now the butt of all jokes. this certainly isn’t healthy for her family and more so, her kids. this is where we should be directing our sympathy.

        BTW, where was the outrage when sonko unleashed a verbal tirade on mutoko, punched joho at a presidential function two weeks ago, and allegedly had an altercation with someone during their recent trip to china?


      • @Akinyi

        I think the issue is more about Kidero than it is about Shebesh. Shebesh is a known thug who has been known for her bad behaviour. She has stommed many offices before but the men in those offices have always either turned her away or left her to her madness. In some quaters she is known as the mad woman, so why would you want to be caught around town slapping mad women? Didnt mama Ngina throw her out of state house just the other day? Sonko and his ilk are known thugs, that behavior is actually expecetd of them that is why no one bothers….. but Kidero was an upcoming star who was going to make his mark in Nairobi. there were even presidential ambitions being wispered around town…. thats because he had the potential……. why then would he allow this to happen?


    • Follow up on this saga, we have this report on the activities that Sonko is engaged in that led up to the verbal altercation with Mutoko

      Of course the story is spiced up by the press and exagerated beyond reality.

      First off he’s been senator only a few months and possibly has not spent the 120m. Also spending 3 million on a single medical trip for his wife is interesting but not implausible

      Anyhow, back to the issue on hand, this guy is an infinite ATM.

      Is this guy truly dishing out these large amounts of cash, (free lunch) amounting to 10m a month? Should the KRA be concerned? This would mean an income of at least 11m a month, I would be curious to see his Tax returns for the year.


  2. Nyamira County which Cord leader Raila Odinga visited today provides a perfect case study in why more money should be sent to the counties and why the governors must be set free to run the counties without the micromanagement of the central government.

    In its budget, Nyamira asked for Ksh5.4 billion. The Central Government through its various organs, including CRA asked the county to cut it down by about Sh2 million. After much juggling, they cut it to Ksh3.3 billion.

    The CRA accepted this but added, that the County must, out of the sh3.3 bilion, spend sh600 million on paying officials seconded to the county by the central government. The county believes this is a lost year.

    Raila Odinga believes its the reason discretionary powers of the central government over counties must end.


  3. Job,
    He was popular amongst the people because he was being fronted by the big kahunas. But many have lost respect for Ranguma. Talk to young/women men in Kisumu to appreciate what I mean.

    This is one governor who will have to show us that he is not just an instrument of corruption.

    I like the way you pinpoint how corruption goes down. Its not that complicated anyways, especially after bribing semi literate county reps with 4 by 4s.


    • Mzee, Job, Akinyi and others,

      Thanks for a very good insight into the county business with a focus on Kisumu county. We need these kinds of real discourse on ” development” specifically within the new devolution paradigm. This is a very enlightening discussion. I will make a detailed contribution to it. At least the Kisumu folks know who their governor is. In Siaya we pretty much don’t even know the governor.

      Personally I think the Mutua Machakos thing is extremely over hyped. I will look at it again but let me say this. Attracting investments is good and now it seems as the biggest deal for the country and the counties.

      My question is: Who are the alleged investors and how will their investment returns actually be retained in and benefit the counties in question. Every leader is shopping for investors from Dubai, from China or wherever but nobody seems to be concerned about local investors.

      Providing an enabling environment for local investors in all aspects of our economies is really the key to economically empowering the counties. We have not even started thinking about that. That is a very big problem. It is frightening,

      There is a sense that Kenya is ready to be colonised again. This time by China or anybody with money.

      We are telling anybody with money to come to Kenya, grab our natural resources with ease, give us some 5% royalty and take it all. The British had to bring an army to get that. Today we want to give it for free. Really?

      If this ideology gets into the county governments we will end up handing over the country to foreign commercial and mercenary interests. It is very unhealthy for us economically. We have to deal with it. And we will. Now is the time.


      • “Providing an enabling environment for local investors in all aspects of our economies is really the key to economically empowering the counties…”

        I agree wholeheartedly. Not only the counties but the country in general.

        I have a friend who runs a guest house in the Coast, he tells me local tourists are more reliable (not subject to travel advisories), spend more and likely to return compared to wazungu. The guy goes out of his way to ensure his (local) tourists are treated superbly, and in turn the guests keep returning and referring others.

        An example being a Nakumatt, Ukwala, tuskys or Uchumi contribute more to the economy by creating jobs, sourcing for local goods therefore promoting manufacturing and agriculture and the profits are reinvested in the country. A Walmart or Tesco will import virtually all goods, pay a small tax, create low level jobs and repatriate all their profits.

        If you observe what is happening in Angola; China has offered the country loans in return for oil, the loans are being used to rebuild the infrastructure using Chinese labor for even the most menial jobs. The Chinese laborers eat Chinese food imported from china in restaurants owned by the Chinese.The Chinese have also bought land and are supplying the foodstuffs that cannot be imported from China.

        The net effect being only the Angolan elite and the Chinese people are benefiting from Angolan wealth.


  4. This document (apologies if it’s already been shared) provides a summary of what Job pointed out regarding the county budgets. There are certainly many jokers but for obvious reasons, I will focus on ranguma.

    In his budget (under recurrent expenditure) our governor proposes to spend a whooping 2.5B on an item/s called ‘others.’ what the hell is this? He is also one of only 2 governors to factor in LATF (700M) in his budget. Does this still exist? Where are the specifics. health centers like Ksm district hospital, Lumumba etc are begging for attention. any plans for the strategically placed Victoria hospital?

    Painful as it may sound, i think stingy 78 yr old k’ombudo may have been a better choice. He’s a shrewd businessman and could possibly better handle the ‘councillors’ having served as kisumu town clerk. we do not want Nairobi based leaders imposed on us. We have bigger problems to worry about and It’s totally unnecessary for ranguma to endure the embarrassment of justifying his continued stay in a hotel.

    Having gone through three election cycles, i hope valuable lessons have been learned and ODM will get its act together sooner rather than later.


  5. You are spot on some of the stuff that you say. But let’s call a spade a spade. Ranguma does not have a vision for Kisumu County. Unlike Mutua and Joho the man never had a master plan/ blue print for Kisumu County. He never showed the same during the campaigns. He should by now have come up with a point by point strategy. Lakini wapi.

    Let’s face it, all the on goings boils down to how Ranguma was elected. He never really worked hard for it but was “handed” the position. He is more beholden to those who “handed” him the position than the people of Kisumu County. That’s the core of the problem. Akina and Mutua fought for their jobs are giving it their all to make people happy.

    It’s only in Kisumu County that residents don’t know what development agenda their governor has. Ranguma cannot talk in generalities saying that he will work on infrastructure, agriculture, health etc. We need specifics of what, where, when and cost plan. My suggestion to Ranguma is that he borrows a leaf from former Mayor of Kisumu, now MP Shakeel Shabbir who put in place a proper plan and followed it to the letter and we all saw how he changed Kisumu Municipality in just three years, yet he did not have a lot of money to work with. He only worked smartly. Residents of the town still remember him for the good work.

    We all know that the Uhuruto gang is keen on killing devolution but this is not only for Kisumu County. Ranguma should use the resources that he currently holds to improve the lives of the people with or without devolution. He must be able to multi task fighting for devolution and also improving Kisumu County. If he can’t do that then he has no business being a leader.

    We all know that Lake Victoria is a major resource for the county yet Ranguma has been unable to source for equipment to clear hyacinth. The Kenya Maritimes Authority that Job has mentioned above only pretended to clear the Hyacinth. If you go to Kisumu today there is actually no Hyacinth but it’s not because it was cleared. The tides just moved them to Homabay. The Maritimes Authority being the thieves they are came to Kisumu just when the Hyacinth had started moving to South Nyanza. They only waited until all the hyacinth had moved, and then declared that they had done what they were supposed to do, collected money and never to returned.

    If we stop talking a theoretical level, when is Ranguma going to put the transport vessels in lake Victoria? And when are the equipment for clearing hyacinth coming? When is he going to build conference facilities he named? When is agriculture taking off? When is he going to build a waste recycling plant? How about loans for the youth? What I know is that Ranguma puts rhetoric before action unlike e.g. Mutua and Joho.

    Fighting for office/residential space with the county commissioner is plain silly. He could even use the office of the county commissioner to develop the county in the meantime.

    We will be following Ranguma like a shadow. We cannot afford to be failed by Ranguma. While he is planning for solar powered street lights, the stuff are up and running in Homabay County. While he is spending over 70M on cars Mutua is spending 10M on the same and Joho would rather buy county police cars. What is Ranguma doing about security in Kisumu County? Try nothing for an answer. I’m surprised that Bondo is now growing faster and Kisumu.

    I talked to one of Kisumu county reps who told me that they have on countless occasions asked Ranguma to build a modern governor’s residence instead of fighting for old colonial houses but that has fallen on deaf ears because he is consumed with evicting the County Commissioner.

    The man has even refused to work from the Kisumu City Hall because he has to sit at the provincial headquarters where the County Commissioner sits. If I were him I would clean up the city hall of all ghost workers refurbish the offices use it. It’s more exclusive than sharing the provisional headquarters with all manner of government departments. Devolution is about improving people’s lives not fighting for buildings. I’m afraid that Kisumu County with its vast natural and human resources will be left behind.

    I want to be proud of you Mr. Governor as much as the people of Machakos are of Mutua and Mombsa of Joho. But at the moment Im afraid I cant.

    Lastly don’t take credit for what you have not done. Kenyans have become very smart.


    • `

      Your passion on this subject is much needed –at least so Ranguma can hear voices from Kisumu directly. To be frank with you Mzee, please revisit the archives right here at deep cogitation – during the Kisumu gubernatorial campaigns. They are still fresh. As we mull over this instant and almost impulsive buyer’s remorse.

      You reported the [then] feeling in Kisumu which showed Ranguma quite popular on the ground.

      On the other hand, a few others (myself included) expressed (right here) deep reservations and vigorously fronted for Rhoda Ahonobadha –specifically pointing Ranguma’s roots at the corruption-riddled den called KRA. The bottom-line is – Ranguma had no plans then (during campaigns when you reported he was so popular) — and still has no plans now. Nothing has really changed buddy. Voters largely get what they themselves buy — thus when it comes to blame, they must first consider their own individual role. When gullible poor folks are bedazzled and duped by the shiny bourgeoisie from Nairobi (aka “Government Inspector” ala Nikolai Gogol) into thinking that all animals in the animal farm are equal, then they must be kidding themselves.

      It should surprise no one that bureaucrats who’ve graduated from Nairobi KRA/Treasury’s cesspool will write vague, non-specific budgets…full of generalities and vagueness…no concrete or specific plans or promises. You have to fight hard to find line-by-line itemization (specifics). This is how Nairobi/Treasury typically operates. The rationale for the flexible/vague budgets is to allow room for corruption and kick-backs. This enables purchase/contracting of things which promise the highest kick-backs…not things which Kisumu badly needs. If say laptops are to be bought –it is only because they promise the highest kickbacks, not because they are # 1 priority. If Prados are to be bought, it is probably because the dealer has promised kickbacks –maybe “buy 12, get one free, for Jack”. That’s how things roll with such fellas. Being in government is an eating fest! These are not theoretical things — they are practical realities which hit voters directly in their faces.

      While wise governors are using a couple of million shillings to buy water drilling rigs – each to drill 150 water wells per year (one well per 1000 villagers in their counties), Ranguma is buying (bribing) 12 Kisumu county executives (his former rivals), each with a Sh 6 million Toyota Prado….total cost 72 million shillings.

      That 72 million shillings sent to the Prado dealer in Nairobi could have bought 30 water drilling rigs for Kisumu County –that is 6 for Kisumo/Seme; 6 for Nyakach; 6 for Nyando; 6 for Muhoroni; and 6 for the rest of Winam & Kajulu. The rigs would be busy throughout the year drilling wells and boreholes to the mashinani folks. In just one year, at least a hundred thousand rural folks would be having access to clean water that is not infested with typhoid, dysentery or cholera. Instead what are folks staring at? The same status quo schooled in Nairobi’s ways!

      Are you trying to tell me Kisumu folks couldn’t foretell that the Nairobian called Ranguma is a Prado-kind-of-guy and not a borehole-kind-of-guy? You can tell all these things from a far distance. The bourgeoisie from KRA will remain a bourgeoisie beholden to flashy Prados and mansions at the expense of the working and poor class. He will not be window shopping for equipment to clear hyacinth or drill boreholes. The only direct telephone numbers he has are those of DT Dobie and CMC Motors, not Atlas Copco or Massey Ferguson.

      As for building conference facilities, well…that may be possible depending on how much the cowboy contractors would be willing to part with. If Ranguma indeed wished agriculture to take off, why didn’t he appoint Mrs. Ahonobadha to head that docket? Was there something he feared about Rhoda’s potential — and the likelihood of being over shadowed? As we try to keep the governor honest let’s also keep ourselves honest.


  6. well i knew this was coming, but i didnt know which county would strike first

    there are cultural issues, there are society values, there are societal prejudices, and then there is just plain making money

    these are issues that will cause tremendous conflict

    but for now lets look at this sampler

    bearing in mind that there is a razor thin line between idiocy and stupidity and sometimes its hard to tell one from the other

    with due respect to the movers of that train of thought, i suggest they try to think about what they are saying or suggesting, is all i ask, i wont even attempt to provide a recommendation.

    aiishh, people are dying daily from boda boda accidents due mostly to recklessness and inexperience.

    there are so many other issues to resolve. there are also so many other ways to address such issues and they are many but if thats the mindset, welcome back 17th century…


    • tnk,

      This is taliban nonsense and outright sexism. It is sad those being quoted on this cruel circus are actually women leaders, but happens all the time. Telling women how to sit in a boda boda because of some “cultural” mediaval stuff is just not going to be tolerated. What are they going to tell women who ride the bikes. Should they ride facing backwards or sitting sideways too? Good heavens, find something else to do or better still give women cars so you can stop worrying about skirts.


      • Adongo wrote:


        This is taliban nonsense and outright sexism. It is sad those being quoted on this cruel circus are actually women leaders, but happens all the time. Telling women how to sit in a boda boda because of some “cultural” mediaval stuff is just not going to be tolerated. What are they going to tell women who ride the bikes. Should they ride facing backwards or sitting sideways too? Good heavens, find something else to do or better still give women cars so you can stop worrying about skirts.”


        That was brilliant!

        But what confounds me all the time is that it is ALWAYS the women who are the first to blame men for being sexist and patriarchal!! They always look for scapegoats when confronted with a problem, yet they are their own worst enemies!!

        Women cannot even vote their fellow women into leadership positions thus forcing us to design a method to help them meet their constitutional right of at least one-third representation in leadership positions!


    • The media may be on a ‘mission’ but these so called leaders only have themselves to blame for all the negative publicity. Anyway,the county reps will only be as good as the governor.

      Each county has it’s own unique problems and my expectation was that they would ‘take off’ at different rates. I certainly never imagined Kisumu would be lagging somewhere at the bottom and forever the laughing stock. what does one report about if their is nothing to wow the audience? Does anyone know anything going on in Kisumu? There’s clearly not much information coming from the governor’s office which can only mean one thing. all I have heard is ‘wait and see’ as if this is someone’s private business.

      Governors who are chap chap like Mutua or Joho obviously have their own day to day problems to deal with (as we all do) and yet all one hears are good things – stuff that inspires everyone including those who may not have voted for them. Ranguma gave the hotly contested kisumu gubernatorial debates a wide berth and for this, we never got to hear him sell himself’ where did he come from? ……anyway, before we knew it…chants of no ranguma no raila rent the air….and the rest is history.

      I feel cheated by the governor’s continued stay in a 15k per night hotel all paid for by the county, county reps demanding for security and talking of buying a plot for each of them idiots. my goodness when will this madness end and when will the residents start seeing any positive changes? END OF RANT 🙂

      Some of the recommendations by this so called Children, Culture and Community Services Committee have got to be the wildest I have heard in a long time. were these people serious or the whole idea is to sit in a meeting, eat, drink and talk a lot of crap and walk away with a tidy sum in sitting allowance? I think i need me one of those jobs.

      so does this culture thing stop with the boda boda nonsense or do we bring back others like removal of six lower teeth? who will enforce it? does it apply only to women wearing skirts and dresses? what about women from a different culture? will it apply to all females including little kids?

      the next time I go home I’ll order myself a nice big plate of fried gizzard or whatever it is that women aren’t supposed to eat…. and of course continue sitting ‘angewa’ since am not skilled enough to ‘sit across.’ hope I won’t be in trouble with the BAP (bet angewa police).

      Caroline and Petronilla, can you please be serious.


    • At the end of the five years under the new constitution, some counties will have better than others. Those who elected innovative governors with good agendas would have taken a major leap in the right direction. In counties with bad governors, we will witnesses a backward trend. But I will give it to Mutua and Joho, these guys are really for the people, at least for now. Cyprian Awiti is also doing much better in Homabay county.

      Even as our governors demand more money from the central government and even threaten with a referendum on the same, most don’t have an idea of what they are supposed to do. Before demanding more cash they should show that they can effectively spend the little they have.

      I recently listened to a one hour long interview of governor Ranguma of Kisumu County on Mayienga FM and was not pleased with what I heard.
      The man is still struggling with petty stuff. His number one priority being to evict the county commissioner from her from the former DCs house. Then his second priority is to occupy the former PCs house which is next to the state house. Why? Because he needs easy access to the president (in case he is in town) to discuss matters of regional importance.

      The stupidity of the above is that none of the two can ever happen. Reason being that all former municipality council assets went to the county government while those that belonged to the central government remained as such e.g. the two named premises. In other words, eviction of the CC or occupation of the former PCs house does not arise. Yet this is what is occupying most of the governors day. He forgets that he is in opposition and that the president’s ear on the ground is not the governor but the CC (never mind that they are illegal). This is a simple fact that any person should be aware of.

      Ranguma stays at the Kisumu Hotel because he does not want to live in the former mayors house, which by the way has been allocated 10M for renovation. The reason why he does not want to stay in the former mayor’s house, which is in the suburbs of Milimani, is because it’s in the “back street”.

      The man wants to stay along” Jomo Kenyatta highway, in a house facing the lake” and nowhere else. So it either the two locations or the hotel and tax payers have to pay the bills. The man comes from Kano, just a few minutes’ drive from Kisumu town; one wonders why he cannot stay there. After all it’s in Kisumu County. I’m always ashamed to see the governor’s flag flying atop Kisumu Hotel.

      When asked what his flag ship project is, the man did not have an idea. In fact he was asked what he was doing that can be compared Konza or Joho´s county security project. He simply said that there was no land in Kisumu County to build a Konza like project. I found this ridiculous because his own home of Kano is still a “wilderness”.

      Asked about the luxurious cars he wants to buy for the county executives, he said that the roads are so bad only a Prado can manage. How about buying a cheaper 4 wheel drive car Mr. Governor or even better fixing the roads.
      The man holds all big meetings in Bondo (University) because Kisumu has no hall that can hold more than 100 people or even proper conference facilities. When asked what he was doing about it, he claimed that he would be asking donors to help out with the same. Why not use the billions the county is to be provided with to build a modern facility in the county.

      Ranguma is one of the most useless governors we have in Kenya. There is nothing he has done since he took over save for one truck that collects garbage in the center of town and dumps right outside the gates of Kisumu stadium. Why not build a waste recycling plant instead of buying prados. Hello!


      • BREAKING! – Had a lengthy and frankly candid conversation with Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and addressed all these questions raised by Mzee above.

        Will give you a comprehensive write-up of Ranguma’s spirited response when I get some time…


      • Mzee good write up.
        Job its great that you can follow up with the governor, looking forward to that write up

        awhile back i did say that these governors and senators are going about this quite wrong or rather are not being realistic enough

        for instance i suggested that the first half of the term would be better spent on setting up the service delivery infrastructure for county government and working around the issues to do with integration, complementing and sometimes parallel efforts with national government. this would not be an ideal time to create new projects and what not’s because

        (A) the infrastructure, if in existence, would be beholden to national government and therefore either inefficient or highly partisan and susceptible to political patronage or both. in most cases it would be non-existent

        (B) there would be tremendous teething challenges as the country governments attempt to deliver services and as the national government cedes authority. even with goodwill from all sides, this is a considerable challenge with all the logistics involved as well as the government bureaucracy dating back to colonial times. there are a lot of useless and meaningless laws and procedures still in existence

        with hostile govt and state officers, the issues in (B) above become major obstacles that cannot be overcome without political compromise or wrangling

        a quick recap of immediate past events
        1 ) we are now 3 years after promulgation of the new constitution,
        2 ) almost 6 months after the new government was sworn in,
        3 ) most county govt functions are yet to kick in
        4 ) even basic processes for simple admin stuff like salaries and utility payments are yet to be fully described with undue delays and other mischief
        5 ) still seeing a lot of micro management and push/pull with central government
        6 ) budgets are sketchy or shoddy etc.

        I still maintain that the current crop of governors or rather this initial county government should focus on establishing processes. in fact Isaac Rutto although is driven by a completely different set of parameters is more on the right track where he is pushing for referendum that will define the terms for county government and have that entrenched in the constitution and not according to whims of some central government mandarins

        the real fear here is that setting up structures is not a visible activity and therefore more than likely all current counter governors are unlikely to have any tangible result to boast of when seeking re-election.

        what i can say is that time is fast running out for them and if they do not put in place any structure they will be double losers i.e will likely not get re-elected, but far worse, will not have enabled county government to function and still remain appendages to the national government and thus have to still run back to Nairobi for favors


      • Keeping the Governor Honest!

        Kisumu’s governor Jack Ranguma vigorously defends his administration and blames media and “status quo” elements of giving Kisumu “bad publicity” to justify their efforts at “trying to kill devolution”. Is this factual or mere politics? Let’s keep him honest!

        1) On whether Kisumu will lag behind as other counties leap forward with devolution:

        Ranguma objects and declares Kisumu will fare much better than most counties. He outlines his agenda {agriculture, infrastructure, industrialization, ICT …etcetera}. He states they hit the ground running {removal of hyacinth started, cleaning exercises started, reclaiming grabbed land, planning for solar street lights, GPS mapping to secure land titles and promote investors requiring land, lighthouses for docking of vessels at port, county cleaning exercises, planning a water-harvesting dam along Kisumu-Kericho border [together with Kericho governor], and proposing a ‘people-empowering’ budget}.

        FACT CHECK:

        A lot of strides in recent development of Kisumu have little to do with Jack Ranguma. It is in fact the previous coalition government that planned and funded:

        The Airport Expansion and associated developments which spurred budding and reviving industries.

        The Hyacinth Removal: It is the Kenya Maritimes Authority that bought a water-master vessel for clearing the hyacinth (plus power generation + fertilizer production). This is basically another product of the last coalition government’s plan to clear Lake Victoria waters for transport, tourism, fishing and sports – not Ranguma’s county administration.

        Lighthouses: It is again the Maritine Authority that will light up the lighthouses for directing docking vessels – the governor’s role is infinitesimal.

        Cleaning Exercises: As a couple of other ideas on course, this is an initiative of his former rival & now Environmental Executive (Rhoda Ahonobadha). It still falls short nevertheless because the dumpsite by the stadium is still as high as a mountain. The governor should have by now already secured a dumpsite (on existing council land) and planned for a safe waste disposal facility. There is always this temptation by former bureaucrats like Ranguma to run to the budget “to allocate funds for” hot items like land for a dumpsite…this old corruption mill revolving around land identification and purchase needs to stop. The County government has plenty of municipal and council land in every corner of the county that can serve as a waste processing and dumping site. Just get down to honest work and start cleaning the county!

        Clean water provision: For the first time since the colonial government invested in clean water provision in the 1920s, it was again the coalition government that invested more than a billion shillings (through the Lake Victoria South Water Service Board) to divert and treat water from the Kibos River (flowing down from Nandi Hills) at a 36,000 m3 plant in Kajulu. This water to be stored in a 6 million liter reservoir will supply Kisumu City’s 1/2 a million people and will also be distributed through piped networks to other peri-urban population centers by gravity. While the timing creates room to attribute false credit, Mr. Ranguma is basically a spectator, not executor of these ongoing developments that will be completed soon.

        Budget: See review below.

        2) Is Ranguma focusing on petty agenda such as evicting former DCs and occupying the PC’s home?

        Ranguma explains the importance of securing all county properties currently being targeted by outgoing bureaucrats from the national government – in basically all counties.

        FACT CHECK:

        There have been actual complaints about former senior provincial administration officials (former DCs and PCs, including retired ones) grabbing public houses in Kisumu’s Milimani Estate. Since many of these bureaucrats are not locals, they are alleged to have irregularly sold off such properties to private developers who then remodeled them, or demolished them to put up rental flats.

        I think the governor is fully entitled to take full audit of all property that should constitutionally be handed down to the county government. It is also reasonable to demand that a former PC’s residence revert to county government simply because (in my view) the new Constitution restructured the provincial administration and abolished the PCs office – to fit into the new devolved governments. The unconstitutional holders of County Commissions can temporarily use former DC premises as this issue heads up towards the Supreme Court. However, this role should neither be his # 1 priority nor crowd out his time.

        2) Is Kisumu’s budget reasonable as per the governor?

        Ranguma defends his budget and blames detractors for focusing on negative sideshows. The proof however lies in the pudding. You can tell a good leader’s vision through his budget. Let’s see.

        FACT CHECK

        Before combing through the budget, it is a FACT that Ranguma’s budget has (alongside those of a few other counties) already been rejected by the national Controller of Budget because it runs into deficit. He was ordered to revise it on the grounds that he cannot spend (expenditure) more than he gets (revenue).

        Comparing Kisumu’s budget with those of other counties, there are indeed some troubling signs. What Ranguma drafted is certainly not what Kisumu residents proposed during the budget meetings in various constituency social halls:

        Kisumu is among 29 (out of 47) Counties whose budgets have recurrent expenditure exceeding development spending. Only 18 counties (like Mutua’s Machakos, Joho’s Mombasa, Rutto’s Bomet, Ojaamong’s Busia, and Nanok’s Turkana) have allocated a greater proportion of funds for development (in infrastructure, health, schools, dams, markets, cottage industries) than for recurrent items (salaries and pompous luxuries).

        • Part of the huge recurrent spending is because Ranguma has not tackled the obvious FACT that many “ghost” workers still exist in the payrolls of former Municipal and Council offices. A monthly wage bill of Sh 90 million is not sustainable for such a small government, period! That’s a whooping Sh 1 billion a year on salaries alone!!! If this is not sleeping on the job, it can only be called complicity in corruption! Why has there been no physical audit of county staff since the swearing-in ceremony? This can be done effectively by revising the mode of payment of salaries during this transition to demand a physical head-count. A small policy change suspending direct bank deposits for salary payments — instead “kila mtu apange laini” at their respective accounts offices with auditors/department heads/payroll registers all in toe. This will weed out ghost workers instantly – but there must be will and commitment. Secondly, this habit of patronage appointments (without assembly approval) will swell the wage bill further. How much are the “Remote Sensing” and “Renewable Energy” experts being appointed every other day by the governor being paid?

        • Ranguma’s budget also has a lot of pork-barrel spending on ostentatious and grandiose items such as gas-guzzling Toyota Prados for each of his cabinet members (basically a bribe to his former rivals in the governor’s race – at least 4 sit in his cabinet), cheap car loans for County Assembly members (another bribe to local politicians to buy free rubber-stamping of his future decisions), a Sh 10 million allocation to renovate the governor’s house (slashed down from an initial proposal of Sh 80 million). No Kisumu resident will be smiling with Ranguma in view of these wasteful extravagancies.

        • If you compare Ranguma’s Sh 10 billion budget with that of Alfred Mutua of Machakos; despite Mutua’s less revenue stream (Sh 4.1 billion), the latter has allocated 53% of all cash into development (recurrent spending only 47%). Ranguma allocated only 33% funds for development while 63% recurrent. Mutua allocated 390 million to Health and Emergency; 361 million to Agriculture and Livestock; 220 million to Education; 1.2 billion to roads, transport, public works; 700 million to Irrigation; 260 million for damming; 280 million for small municipalities; and ICT investments of 200 million. When it comes to Ranguma, there is no line-by-line itemization.

        Where are Kisumu’s allocations for much needed fish cooling/storage plants along beaches, a fish processing plant, boreholes, cattle dip and livestock extension services, an animal or poultry feeds factory or market stalls? There must be some level of public investments in relevant sectors; counties must not be held back by counterproductive liberal ideologies. I doubt whether Ranguma proposed these popular initiatives suggested by Kisumu county residents. Are millions allocated for seminars and international travel of assembly members & county executives while nothing is set aside for the crucial items above? Well, Kisumu residents cannot easily tell because of the next point.

        • Ranguma’s budget outline conceals details of the itemization/listing of individual budget items based on either sectors (health, education, infrastructure etc) or (constituencies) as most governors have done. The devil lies in this detail that is so far lacking. Why is he hiding these details in the front-page outline?

        3) Wasteful spending on meetings in Bondo?

        As Mzee already noted, this is straight-out hogwash.

        FACT CHECK

        Kisumu County has universities (including Maseno University) and colleges (like Tom Mboya Labor College) with big halls and conference facilities that could hold huge meetings. The myth that Kisumu has no big hall is therefore easy to debunk.

        A visionary governor of the strategically-positioned Kisumu would in fact plan a modern video conferencing facility that can host business seminars or even a regional meeting to the level of East African heads of state at Kisumu. Sending his county meetings to Bondo is terrible politics depicting Ranguma as weak and prone to kowtowing to his influential deputy from Bondo. This is political ineptitude at its best. Incidentally, the clumsy ineffectiveness shows in most other areas.

        The difference between Mutua and Ranguma for instance, is that the former has less patronage baggage on his shoulders. He is not beholden to special interest groups – only dedicated to his Machakos voters. When it comes to the former KRA bureaucrat Ranguma, he has to look over his shoulder at every turn. He is apparently ceding big ground to special interest groups (his former rivals, County Assembly politicians, clan factions [from Kisumo, Nyakach, Seme, Nyando, and Muhoroni], cartels of town merchants, business monopolies, lobbies fronted by his own deputy, his former KRA sharks, and many others. In trying to please all these people, he will inevitably collide with voters – probably that’s exactly where his rivals are driving him into. It’s no wonder Ranguma is already being booed by Kisumu voters – this early.

        4) On ridiculous cultural law being passed by Kisumu County Assembly.

        Needless to state, Ranguma is in no mood to rock the boat of the same county assembly that he relies on to pass agenda and approve his spending plans.

        I initially dismissed this issue as a classic waste of time on trivial and vexatious non-issues until I got wind of the full extent of the so called Culture Bill. Here is the first fundamental problem with such ventures. Whose culture are these Kisumu representatives deliberating? The last time I checked, Kisumu was still inhabited by people whose cultural roots range from South East Asia, Europe, Middle East, and all corners of Africa. There are inhabitants from all of Kenya’s 42 tribes living in Kisumu. The MP for Kisumu Town East actually has cultural roots in South East Asia. Is this bill incorporating elements from all of these cultures? Why would these elected members even contemplate an attempt to impose cultural dictatorship in Kisumu? This should be unconstitutional in the first place – violating many citizens’ Bill of Rights.

        The outrageous and misguided proposal not only tries to legislate how women sit on bikes but also wades dangerously into the delicate terrain of public health. These assembly representatives are basically trying to legalize untested miti-shamba herbs and unregulated concoctions – essentially legitimizing traditional medicine-men through the back door. This is nothing but reckless endangerment of the public by uneducated and largely uninformed busybodies. This should not be allowed in Kisumu in the 21st Century. One of the women members from Seme proposed an additional clause – castration of older men who marry under-age girls. Where is all this madness and confusion heading? These are indeed wake-up calls which beg for scrutiny of what goes on in all 47 county assemblies. If we are not careful, we shall end up with 47 Talibanistans with 47 sets of ridiculous and unconstitutional laws.


  7. hehehehehe

    can someone please tell me, when all these gents in suits, stand on a podium and declare

    “withdrawal of a govt gazette notice”

    what does it mean in real life (really, legally what does it mean)? how is that implemented?

    also note where they come from, or more precisely who is missing from the line-up. hint real devolution.

    Withdraw Govt Notice


  8. This is quite a comprehensive document outlining the roles and functions of devolved government

    clearly there is no lack of expert ideas.

    what I would like to see is a shell or skeletal budget framework for the county and then compare that with the county budgets presented thus far.

    also i think nairobi and mombasa counties which are also mega cities and to a lesser extent, eldoret, nakuru, thika and kisumu which are regional hubs need a lot more support.


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