Residents express views on their leaders’ rate of performance
Though Members of Parliament from the six in Eastern region lagged behind their counterparts in the Info-trak study in the just-ended financial year, dubbed “Countytrak Elected Leaders Popularity Index”
Out of the 25 MPs in the region covered by The Eastern Newspaper, Infotrak gave Tharaka Nithi MP Gitonga Murugara emerged top in the region. Murugara the thumbs up in terms of performance in representing Tharaka Nithi interests in the National Assembly, and for utilization of the National-Government’s Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF)
In the study to gauge the leaders’ level of carrying out their mandate Murugara outdid the rest of MPs from the six counties, after she emerged number 46, out of the 290 elected MPs.
Elected on a Democratic Party of Kenya ticket in the 2017 election, Murugara is lining up to defend his seat in the 2022 contest.
In one of the development that could transform the rate of change in Tharaka, Mr Murugara on July 6, reminisced that his first duty when he stepped into parliament was ask why Tharaka was not included in the Equalization Fund, because it had been marginalized.
“When I came to Parliament in 2017 my first task was to ask why Tharaka was not benefiting from the Equalization Fund. The authority was able to inform me that only one sub location in Tharaka North Sub County did benefit, while it is known in entire county that one of the most marginalized areas was Tharaka Constituency,. This aggrieved me,” Murugara said.
That marked a flurry of activities as the MP lobbied for inclusion in the Equalization Fund, a process he started in 2017.
“This is a fund that was to last 20 years to try and bring out areas of the country that have been left behind so that they are able to equalize with the other areas that were developed, either intentionally, accidentally or circumstantially. It is important that we continue to support areas that were left behind,” Murugara said.
The study by the acclaimed pollster involved interviewing residents on the performance of their MP on their use of National Government-Constituency Development Fund and legislative duties.
In Tharaka Nithi the second best MP was Chuka/Igambangómbe’s Patrick Munene at 57, with Maara’s Kareke Mbiuki bringing the rear at 116.
Infotrak CEO Angela Ambitho said they sampled responses from constituents on what they thought of their leaders’ performance in the assembly and constituency.
The top-ranked MP in Meru County was South Imenti’s Kathuri Murungi who came home at 53, followed by Buuri’s Mugambi Rindikiri (100), John Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South, 107), Kirima Nguchine (Central Imenti, 142), as Maoka Maore of Igembe North emerged 178.
Mr Murungi, popularly referred to as “Kamashinani” has been vocal on the floor of the House, representing concerns of mainly tea farmers as the crop is the mainstay of livelihoods in his constituency.
Murungi has also placed impetus on opening up some of the major roads in the agriculture-rich sub county, such as the crucial Mitunguu-Mbeti road, in addition to pumping a good chunk of NG-CDF into education projects.
Other legislators in Meru were Kubai Kiringo in Igembe Central at 199, John Mutunga (Tigania West, 227), Rahim Dawood (Imentii North, 239) as Josphat Gichunge (Tigania East, 264) brought the rear.
In the historically marginalized Samburu County which has started to enjoy the fruits of devolution Lentoi Jackson of Samburu East was position 55, a commendable position as he managed a much better position than those in constituencies perceived as more developed.
Constituencies in Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit which were traditionally marginalized by successive regimes are just starting to find their footing, with MPs placing education and roads as the major priorities.
Former journalist Naisula Lesuuda of Samburu West was 59 nationally while Alois Musa of Samburu North was placed at 224.
In Embu County Runyenjes’ Eric Muchangi was at 81 to become the best in that county as Charles Njagagua of Mbeere North was ranked 125, Manyatta Constituency’s John Muchiri 133 and Geoffrey King’ang’i in Mbeere South got position 149.
Up in the Marsabit County Qalicha Wario representing Moyale was the best but was way farther down in the national ranking at number 149 as his counterparts Francis Chachu (North Horr) was ranked 2017 and Maselino Malimo (Laisamis) and Dido Raso (Saku) tied at 221.
In Isiolo County Hassan Odha of Isiolo North was at 270, and Abdi Koropu from Isiolo South was placed at the bottom of the list, or 290.
In the poll Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba who is also the chairperson of the Kenya Union of Post primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) was ranked first, with a score of 75.4 percent.
Johana Ng’eno of Emukur Dikirr was second as Vincent Musau of Mwala came home third with 71.4 percent and 70.8 percent, respectively.
Ms Ambitho said the ranking which set out to get residents’ views on their leaders’ rate of performance, involved talking to people in all the 290 constituencies.
Residents were required to judge how the people they elected into office had done in the financial year with the resources at their disposal.
“For some, this could be their legislative prowess and eloquence in parliamentary debates. For others it could be the proper handling of public finances such as CDF, for others development projects while for others it could be the personal touch and inter-personal skills and charisma with which the politicians handle their electorate,” Ambitho said while releasing the results.
In sentiments which drew divergent views from the MPs and the electorate, Ambitho said the results is the kind of synthesis that the respondents in the study used to gauge the performance of their elected leaders that the electorate will use in determining who to elect in the 2022 general election.
Big counties like Nairobi were apportioned a large sample of respondents at 2, 500 while smaller counties were allocated 600.