Tuesday , December 12 2017
ojamong

Why Ojaamong’s poor record might make him a one-term governor: OPINION

When we promulgated the 2010 Constitution, devolution was one of the reforms that brought hope to Kenyans, those in Busia included.

Only for them to realise, four years down the line, that their county is lagging behind in all socioeconomic areas, with poverty, diseases and food insecurity soaring. This is despite the county having acres of unutilised fertile agricultural land.

As we head towards the general election on August 8, Kenyans should start evaluating what their leaders have done before considering them for reelection.

This is the reason Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong should be used as a case study, despite a section of media running a documentary that portrays him as a performer. In black and white, the truth is that Ojaamong’s performance is below average.
While Mombasa county is the entry point to this country, Busia is the exit. But unlike Mombasa, which prides itself on massive wealth and opportunities, the situation in Busia has worsened, with residents living in poverty and dying of curable diseases such as malaria.

One cannot explain why imports get into this country through the Mombasa port and same products exit through the Busia Customs to DR Congo, Eastern Uganda and South Sudan, but the county remains poor, and drags behind in development. That, in itself, raises integrity and corruption questions about Ojaamong and his cronies, and the only remedy is to replace him.

Second, just like Mombasa, where there is the Indian Ocean, Busia prides itself on Lake Victoria, but has failed to tap its potential and attract tourists. Instead, crocodiles that could be used as tourist attractions in the county have become a threat to human life.

In the health sector, hospitals and health centres are still under-equipped, with medics complaining of poor working conditions, the main reason they went on strike in May last year.
But one would ask, what has the billions of shillings allocated to the county done if it cannot improve the health sector? It is sad to hear that residents die every week because the district hospital has no anti-venom.

The governor has scored zero in improving education.
While other governors have built colleges, technical schools and ECDE centres, the existing institutions in the county such as Bumbe Technical, which was established by Julia Ojiambo in the 1970s, is dilapidated.
Busia boarders Siaya county and a cursory look at the neighbouring Ugenya constituency gives you a different perspective of development.

In less than three years, Siaya has managed to build a teacher training college, a medical training college and a well-equipped polytechnic. These institutions are spread across the county. So what is now happening is that due to lack of such training institutions in Busia, residents are flooding the training schools in Siaya.
On the other side, Siaya is making headlines as EACC detectives storm Ojaamong’s offices to investigate him for fraud and money laundering, as happened in September 2015.
While this nation has termed nepotism and tribalism as enemies of progress, Governor Ojaamong has nurtured them.

A recent survey by students of Masinde Muliro University led by Prof Stephen Odebero revealed three quarters of the county staff come from the governor’s tribe and the majority are related to him. The study further showed Busia tenders are awarded to his cronies and relatives, and the 30 per cent Youth Access to Government Procurement Opportunities requirement is not met.

As I write this article, Busia residents are starving. Drought and famine have hit harder than before. This is despite the county having fertile agricultural land, which the county executive for Agriculture has failed to strategically map out to increase food production. While other counties have subsidised fertiliser and seeds for farmers, that is yet to happen in Busia.
Production of cassava and potatoes has failed and this has forced people to buy maize from Uganda at a higher price.
Cotton farming no longer exists and the allocation meant to rehabilitate Mulwanda Ginnery in Funyula constituency is until today unaccounted for. Eastern Uganda borders and Busia produces excess milk. Why are we not producing enough?

Busia needs a governor who thinks beyond funds from the national government, and one who can attract investors and donor funding to, for example, build a milk processing plant. From this plant, we will be able to package milk in different forms and sell to other counties. Why should residents wait for milk from Molo, 197km away, which sometimes gets bad in transit, when we can start dairy farming?
Investing in this sector will obviously create jobs and reduce poverty levels in the county.

But all is not lost. If the people of Busia elect a good leader as their governor in August, we may not recover the past four years, but we will make steps towards a self-sustaining economy.
Paul Otuoma, Daniel Barasa and Laurence Messo have announced their interest in unseating Ojaamong. The big question is, who among them will be the Biblical Moses and take Busia to Canaan?
Only voters have the answer to that. And where has Senator Amos Wako been, amidst all this mismanagement? Does he even live in this country? That is a topic for another day.

When we promulgated the 2010 Constitution, devolution was one of the reforms that brought hope to Kenyans, those in Busia included.

Only for them to realise, four years down the line, that their county is lagging behind in all socioeconomic areas, with poverty, diseases and food insecurity soaring. This is despite the county having acres of unutilised fertile agricultural land.

As we head towards the general election on August 8, Kenyans should start evaluating what their leaders have done before considering them for reelection.

This is the reason Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong should be used as a case study, despite a section of media running a documentary that portrays him as a performer. In black and white, the truth is that Ojaamong’s performance is below average.

While Mombasa county is the entry point to this country, Busia is the exit. But unlike Mombasa, which prides itself on massive wealth and opportunities, the situation in Busia has worsened, with residents living in poverty and dying of curable diseases such as malaria.

One cannot explain why imports get into this country through the Mombasa port and same products exit through the Busia Customs to DR Congo, Eastern Uganda and South Sudan, but the county remains poor, and drags behind in development. That, in itself, raises integrity and corruption questions about Ojaamong and his cronies, and the only remedy is to replace him.

Second, just like Mombasa, where there is the Indian Ocean, Busia prides itself on Lake Victoria, but has failed to tap its potential and attract tourists. Instead, crocodiles that could be used as tourist attractions in the county have become a threat to human life.

In the health sector, hospitals and health centres are still under-equipped, with medics complaining of poor working conditions, the main reason they went on strike in May last year.

But one would ask, what has the billions of shillings allocated to the county done if it cannot improve the health sector? It is sad to hear that residents die every week because the district hospital has no anti-venom.

The governor has scored zero in improving education.

While other governors have built colleges, technical schools and ECDE centres, the existing institutions in the county such as Bumbe Technical, which was established by Julia Ojiambo in the 1970s, is dilapidated.

Busia boarders Siaya county and a cursory look at the neighbouring Ugenya constituency gives you a different perspective of development.

In less than three years, Siaya has managed to build a teacher training college, a medical training college and a well-equipped polytechnic. These institutions are spread across the county. So what is now happening is that due to lack of such training institutions in Busia, residents are flooding the training schools in Siaya.

On the other side, Siaya is making headlines as EACC detectives storm Ojaamong’s offices to investigate him for fraud and money laundering, as happened in September 2015.

While this nation has termed nepotism and tribalism as enemies of progress, Governor Ojaamong has nurtured them.

A recent survey by students of Masinde Muliro University led by Prof Stephen Odebero revealed three quarters of the county staff come from the governor’s tribe and the majority are related to him. The study further showed Busia tenders are awarded to his cronies and relatives, and the 30 per cent Youth Access to Government Procurement Opportunities requirement is not met.

As I write this article, Busia residents are starving. Drought and famine have hit harder than before. This is despite the county having fertile agricultural land, which the county executive for Agriculture has failed to strategically map out to increase food production. While other counties have subsidised fertiliser and seeds for farmers, that is yet to happen in Busia.

Production of cassava and potatoes has failed and this has forced people to buy maize from Uganda at a higher price.

Cotton farming no longer exists and the allocation meant to rehabilitate Mulwanda Ginnery in Funyula constituency is until today unaccounted for. Eastern Uganda borders and Busia produces excess milk. Why are we not producing enough?

Busia needs a governor who thinks beyond funds from the national government, and one who can attract investors and donor funding to, for example, build a milk processing plant. From this plant, we will be able to package milk in different forms and sell to other counties. Why should residents wait for milk from Molo, 197km away, which sometimes gets bad in transit, when we can start dairy farming?

Investing in this sector will obviously create jobs and reduce poverty levels in the county.

But all is not lost. If the people of Busia elect a good leader as their governor in August, we may not recover the past four years, but we will make steps towards a self-sustaining economy.

Paul Otuoma, Daniel Barasa and Laurence Messo have announced their interest in unseating Ojaamong. The big question is, who among them will be the Biblical Moses and take Busia to Canaan?

Only voters have the answer to that. And where has Senator Amos Wako been, amidst all this mismanagement? Does he even live in this country? That is a topic for another day.

Via: the-star.co.ke

The writer is an analyst with Gravio Africa and a stakeholder in Busia county.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are solely the feelings of the writer. They do not represent the views of Jamii Radio

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