Governors’ tricky balance between campaign promises and personal interests
By Eastern Newspaper Team
Kenya as a country is experiencing a new administration after the expiry of Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure as president in August 2022. The country is now under the leadership of President William Ruto who served with Kenyatta as his deputy for two terms.
Ruto has hit the ground running as President Uhuru opts for a low-profile life in his retirement.
The national government has a new cabinet after a smooth transition from the office bearers of the old regime.
The opposition led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is taking shape and the country seems to be in good hands.
President Ruto has revealed a robust plan for transforming the lives of Kenyans in all sectors that include strategies for rebuilding the economy by revitalizing agriculture, trade, communication, and public service.
Kenyans have also witnessed President Ruto make efforts to improve the security and education sectors to enable him to touch the lives of Kenyans further.
Ruto’s good working relationship with his deputy Rigathi Gachagua is expected to propel the country further and make his administration smoother when compared to his predecessor President Uhuru Kenyatta whose relationship with his deputy faded as the general elections came closer.
It is also expected that the Ruto administration will have a smooth ride owing to the fact that the relationship between the Executive and the Judiciary is now better after the President sorted many pending issues that were affecting service delivery in the judiciary in the previous regime.
The majority of the members in both the National Assembly and the Senate are expected to help President William Ruto to execute and deliver his manifesto to the people of Kenya without conflicts and drama that sometimes push back service delivery in the three arms of the government.
At the counties; various stories and scenarios are being witnessed as the county governments also take shape.
Those whose governors are serving their second term have minimal changes and activities compared to the administrative units with new sheriffs.
In the upper eastern part of the country, four counties have new governors who are making every effort to form a workable government. Only Tharaka Nithi and Marsabit counties re-elected their governors Muthomi Njuki and Mohamed Ali respectively.
For the first time, the region produced two female governors. Embu elected former Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire to be their second governor while Meru made history in the country for electing the first female governor as an independent candidate Kawira Mwangaza.
The new heads of the county governments are not taking office without issues; Meru has been securing space in the headlines due to wrangles and misunderstandings between the Governor and members of the County Assembly for various reasons.
Led by the speaker Ayub Bundi who served as the minority leader in the previous assembly, the MCAs are accusing governor Mwangaza for what they are calling not picking up their calls and generally being inaccessible to them. On the other side, Governor Mwangaza is accusing the MCAs of pushing her to the corner demanding a kitty by the name of Ward Development Fund, which she believes has no legal backing.
These differences have become the source of fights and controversy between the two arms of the Meru County Government.
In Tharaka Nithi, Governor Muthomi Njuki revealed his new cabinet after sacking three county ministers who served with him in his first term. Njuki replaced them with candidates from the same localities but Igambang’ombe Sub County was not lucky to get a county executive member slot.
In the neighboring Embu County, governor Mbarire seems to get support from the many quarters that include the majority of the former and current political leaders.
She is also on the process of forming her government that must incorporate regional balance bearing in mind the residents of the upper and the lower parts of the county have been fighting for political supremacy for years since devotion started in Kenya a decade ago.
Isiolo County got a new governor Abdi Guyo who seems to have an easy ride as a result of support from the previous regime that was led by Dr Mohamed Kuti who opted out of the race as a result of health issues but supported the election of Governor Guyo.
Guyo has taken back a number of former county ministers and staff in the office of the governor hence exciting minimal political noise.
Isiolo is a metropolitan county a situation that led to Guyo’s cabinet formation considering regional and ethnic balance during appointments.
The County Assembly of Isiolo despite having many new members is enjoying the cordial relationship with the executive hence creating a suitable environment for service delivery.
In Samburu County, Jonathan Lati Lelelit was elected as the second Samburu county governor.
Lelelit took the oath of office together with his deputy Gabriel Lenonyokie where they both pledged to action against perennial problems that have been affecting the county for decades now.
After being sworn in the members of the Samburu County Assembly promised to support governor Lelelit development agenda as captured in his manifesto.
Governor Mohamed Ali of Marsabit is expected to run his government in a better environment now being his second term as a result of less or no political competition.
The six governors are enjoying goodwill from the President, the National Assembly, and the senate for now; we expect issues to come up when they start working fully on various projects and programs in the near future.
In this edition, we critically analyze the promises made by the elected leaders in the counties of Meru, Marsabit, Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi, Samburu, and Embu as the residents wait to see the elected leaders in action.