Nyeri Governor-elect Wahome Gakuru has his work cut out for him as he prepares to take over the reins of the county.
The former Vision 2030 director garnered 280,037 votes against outgoing Governor Samuel Wamathai’s 85,316 to take the seat he missed in 2013.
The incoming governor’s technocrat background puts him in good stead to deal with a range of issues in his in-tray, having taken over a government that for the better part of the past five years was almost dysfunctional owing to incessant wrangles between the executive and members of the county assembly (MCAs).
Residents will look up to Gakuru, a harsh critic of the outgoing administration, for solutions, especially in spurring development and changing the fortunes of the ailing coffee and tea sectors in the county.
Squabbles and fights
Also key on his to-do list is mending the toxic relationship between the governor’s office and MCAs, who made life difficult for his predecessors, Nderitu Gachagua, who died earlier this year, and Wamathai, on matters corruption.
“Over the past four years, Nyeri leaders were not working together. There were a lot of squabbles and fights, which led to a total lack of development,” said Gakuru in one of his campaign rallies.
The infighting between the assembly and the executive saw the county government grind to a halt and resulted in two failed attempts to oust Gachagua.
Gakuru campaigned on the premise of economic growth, transparency, and accountability, which resonated with most of the electorate, taking into account the fact that the county has for a long time been under the spotlight for corruption and misappropriation of funds.
The menace saw the prosecution and sentencing of three senior officials. Another case is currently ongoing where an executive committee member has also been charged with the loss of county funds.
“Sh2.3 billion has been lost on the watch of the outgoing government,” said Gakuru at a recent event.
Among the stalled projects that residents will be hoping will be prioritised by his administration is the completion of two markets in Nyeri and Karatina towns to rid the two towns of the hawkers’ menace.
“We were promised that we would only be here for six months, but it has been years now. Gakuru needs to finish that market,” said a hawker at the Whispers Market.
Coffee farmers will also be keen on whether the incoming governor will fulfil the promises he made to the sector in his manifesto.