Nyong’o, Ranguma trade barbs over county projects

Kisumu governor candidates Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o and Governor Jack Ranguma

Kisumu governor candidates Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o and Governor Jack Ranguma locked horns over their agenda for residents during a public debate skipped by three other contenders.

Jubilee Party’s Atieno Otieno, Alternative Leadership Party of Kenya’s David Wayiera and Amani National Congress candidate Peter Omollo did not attend the debate organised by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and Kenya Alliance of Residents Association on Friday.

But the organisers defended the candidates saying they had not been cleared to vie by the IEBC by the time they sent invitations. The debate focused on matters affecting residents and investors in the lakeside town.

Prof Nyong’o who sits on the Senate’s Public Accounts Committee, took Mr Ranguma to task over alleged lackluster policy formulation and implementation, resource mismanagement due to poor financial planning, poor waste management and failure to commercialise agriculture.

The Senator claimed that the Governor had failed in four and a half years to put in place “necessary measures to yield the intended benefits of devolution for the people of Kisumu.”

He said failure by Ranguma to institute a city management board made the county headquarters lag behind towns like Kisii, Embu and Kiambu, whose Governors Nyong’o said had achieved much.

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But the governor accused the senator of blocking efforts to constitute the board that would see the roll out of the Sh4 billion Kisumu Urban Project (KUP). The court suspended the project over lack of a board.

Financial difficulties

“The board remains my priority and as I seek to finish the projects I had envisioned for Kisumu residents, I will make sure it is in place so that its planned benefits are achieved,” he said.

The senator coincidentally launched his 10-point manifesto on Friday. He used the document to poke holes in Ranguma’s tenure which he claimed was riddled with corruption as officials do business with the county government.

“Resources sent to the county have not been used optimally because, for one, the government allowed tenderprenurship to yield useless projects whose only beneficiaries were people sitting in the same government,” said Nyong’o.

Challenged by Ranguma to cite the developments he had brought to residents of Kisumu Rural constituency (now largely Seme and Kisumu West sub-counties) during his four-term reign, Nyong’o said the resource envelope was thin and largely controlled by the centralised Government.

The senator who boosts helping formulate the Economic Recovery Strategy for wealth and employment creation in 2003, said he would use the same blue print to turn around the county. He pledged to prioritise food security in his first year in office if elected.

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Ranguma defended himself saying just like his colleagues elsewhere, he had achieved a lot but faced financial difficulties due to poor costing of the devolved functions and disbursement of funds to the counties in arrears.

He said he was not aware of corruption in his government and vowed to deal firmly with the culprits.

Credit facilities

Asked how they would support micro and small enterprises, Nyong’o promised to establish a kitty to offer traders credit facilities while Ranguma said he would strengthen existing structures.

They pledged to fulfill visions of KUP which was among other things meant to set up a one stop market where small traders would operate.

On revenue collection and debt management, Nyong’o said he would fight corruption and automate revenue collection. Ranguma said already initiated automation services would be “completed in a month as only collection from car parks and markets is pending.”

On water and agriculture, the leaders agreed that irrigation was the way to go.

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The senator pledged to get rid of the Kachok dumpsite within his first 100 days in office, in collaboration with a strategic partner after securing financiers.

Ranguma said lack of studies on whether the county would sustain the initiative by the French government had blocked the dumpsite’s removal.

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