By Eastern Newspaper Team,
Save for Tharaka Nithi’s Muthomi Njuki, other governors in the upper eastern region performed dismally, according to an Infotrak poll that assessed their performance in delivering services in the counties.
Njuki was voted as among the best performing governors in Kenya at number eight, after a survey on the performance in different sectors of the counties’ economies.
Njuki was the best performing county boss in the Mt Kenya region, as 79 percent of respondents gave him a thumbs-up, saying devolution had a difference in their lives.
The approval rating index placed Governor Martin Wambora at position 30, Marsabit’s Ali Mohamed at position 35, Kiraitu Murungi and Mohamed Kuti took positions 38 and 39 respectively. Moses Lenakulal of Samburu only beat Kiambu’s Fedinand Waititu to take position 46.
The majority of the residents of all the counties feel that devolution is working and agree that life now is better than before.
Ten percent, however, felt the situation in Tharaka Nithi was worse than before the advent of devolution, and 11 percent felt it was the same.
According to the survey which covered the 2019-20120, Njuki had worked to advance the spirit of devolution, scoring a laudable 62.6 percent, a rating hinged on his health, agriculture, and other sectors.
One of the areas Njuki performed well in was the agriculture sector, where he returned a 44.1 percent score, with Kakamega’s Wycliffe Oparanya emerging first with 53.4 percent.
Njuki was the best governor in the agriculture sector among Mt Kenya governors and took the third position in the first time governors category.
Governors who were placed at the bottom of the list were quick to dismiss survey results while those who performed well embraced the report and are using it as a scorecard to determine their strong and weak areas.
According to the report, the majority of Tharakanithi residents believe that Governor Njuki is a performer in key priority areas. Njuki says he would use it as a yardstick to direct focus in the areas he had not done so well.
“There are two sides of this report and most people are looking at one; the comprehensive report does not only show the departments where we succeed but also shows where we didn’t do well. It’s a tool that counties can use to plan,” said Njuki, who, going by the reception the report got, looks strong going into the 2022 poll.
Infotrak graded the 47 counties’ capacity to deliver on all the devolved functions, including health, agriculture, education, roads, energy, social services, early childhood education, tourism, trade, housing, and settlement.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi blew his top when an Infotrak survey gave him a poor 38th position out of Kenya’s 47 governors, in terms of development performance where he garnered a paltry 46.7 percent.
Kiraitu was a lowly 38 in the agriculture sector, out-performed by even the likes of Marsabit, Garissa, and other semi-arid counties.
The county bosses were rated on their livestock programs, and their management of diseases such as foot and mouth, anthrax, Newcastle disease, rabies, and others.
On his assistance to farmers to rear and sell their livestock or fish, and making it easy to grow and sell crops, Njuki was rated highly.
Other areas they were gauged on included making food more accessible and affordable for people and ensuring there were enough facilities for the care and burial of domestic animals where Samburu was 42, Marsabit 38 (tied with Meru), Isiolo 44, and Embu 23.
Njuki did relatively well in the provision of health, emerging the seventh while in Education Tharaka Nithi was at position 11, again the best in the region.
Meru was at position 26, Embu 16, Isiolo 45, Samburu 38 and Marsabit 34.
In education the counties’ projects in Early Childhood Development and Education centers were rated, in addition to ensuring needy and vulnerable, gifted children received bursaries.
Other areas they were gauged in were ensuring there were enough village polytechnics and county technical training institutions with good facilities and instructors.
Tharaka Nithi did well at 11, Embu 16, Meru 26, Samburu 38, Marsabit 34 and Isiolo trailed at position 45.
In the health arena, the areas Infotrak looked into included the provision of medical treatment, at affordable rates.
The other areas included the dissemination of information on how to stay healthy and avoid diseases, ensuring restaurants and kiosks that sell food are licensed to do so and are inspected regularly.
The other areas of interest to the pollster were ensuring the counties put in place adequate sanitation facilities, such as pit latrines and public toilets, and ensuring county health facilities had the necessary medical equipment and medicine. In health, Meru was at 31, Marsabit 35, Isiolo 37, Samburu 41, and Embu 22. A fuming Governor Kiraitu, ranked at 38, trashed the poll and went to an extent of claiming that the company had tried to extort him to give him a good ranking.
“I would like to ask the public to critically analyze the information they get from some of these private survey firms. Less than 3 months after the Kenya National Bureau of statistics ranked Meru as one of the richest counties, Infotrak released a report stating that I am ranked 38th out of the 47 counties in order of performance,” said Governor Kiraitu.
But in a swift rejoinder, Infotrak’s CEO Angela Ambitho challenged Kiraitu and any other person refuting the poll results to come out clean to produce evidence to support the same.
Residents from Tharaka Nithi and Meru who spoke to, The Eastern Newspaper gave divergent views on the rating.
Kawira Stanley said Njuki had done well as far as she was concerned.
“On matters road, I am happier now than before he became governor. As MP he improved the road network but he has now replicated across the county,” said Kawira, a resident of Kamabandi.
In Meru, Benson Baairu said: “I have seen both bad and good in Meru. Some of our towns now look nice because of the carbro works, but the roads are in a deplorable state. The ones under the county are impassable and we cannot take our good to the markets.”
Embu’s Martin Wamburi was ranked at position 30, with 51.1 percent as Isiolo’s Mohamed Kuti came home at position 39, with 46.5 percent.
Many residents of Embu county did not seem interested in the performance index because of wahy analysis term as not expecting much change from the current governor who is serving his last term as county CEO.
This report has become a political tool where political opponents are capitalizing on it to discredit the sitting governors as the general elections approach. This was witnessed in the counties of Meru, Isiolo, and Marsabit that are being served by first-time governors.