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OPEN LETTER TO H.E KIAMBU GOVERNOR KIMANI WAMATANGI


By Juma Hemedi M

05/09/2022

Dear sir,

My name is Juma Hemedi, a resident of Thika, Kiambu County. 

First is to congratulate you for winning the 2022 Kiambu Governor elections and for your swearing in on 25th August 2022. As a resident of Kiambu, I followed your speech carefully during your inauguration and I have since watched it three more times on YouTube. I must say it was a speech full of hope for the many who still yearn for a better county with better services and better institutions. 

You spoke on the issue of corruption and the loss of revenue in the county and the many bills that remain pending. You acknowledged that the county has not paid its suppliers to a tune going into 7 billion shillings.

Your Excellency sir, I must also congratulate you for drafting and ensuring the passing of the assumption of office of Governor act of 2019, which was critical in the manner in which Governors assume office, for the first time the act was used to swear in the 47 governor’s elect throughout the republic. 

You were also instrumental in initiating and seriously bringing the debate of one man one vote one shilling, to lobby for the increase of shareable revenue from the exchequer for the populous counties. That debate was at the center of what was contained in the proposals to amend the constitution commonly referred to as the BBI.

As a two term, senator while performing your oversight role, you witnessed first-hand what was ailing the counties Kiambu included, and in my thinking, you also saw the need to make it better if given a chance. Sir, you are among the very few Senators who transitioned to governors in this elections your other senate colleagues include Hon. Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) and Hon. Mutula Kilonzo jr (Makueni). 

Kiambu county and Nairobi County share similarities, both of them had their second governors impeached by both the county assemblies and the senate, and both were taken over by the deputy governors. In ten years the two counties have had three Governors.

Let me now give some unsolicited opinion and some suggestions of issues you need to address:

1. Address the question of inclusivity

Your excellency sir, Kiambu county is home to more than 16 different tribes. It is also home to all the major religions in Kenya that include Christians, Muslims and Hindus. In many county institutions including the executive and the assembly, meetings can be conducted in the local language. This does very little to enhance cohesion, inclusivity and integration. 

There are communities in Kiambu who still feel sidelined, marginalised and or discriminated in the manner in which opportunities are shared in the county. Sir, this kind of feeling and mischief was what Article 10 on National values and principles of governance (2) a), b), c) and d) was to cure. We cannot achieve sustainable development while leaving a section of people and communities out of our governance structures.

Minority communities in Kiambu are the most affected and this results in hopelessness, and feelings of resentments in these communities. 

Your excellency sir, as a senator, I know one of your roles was to protect and promote devolution and therefore I will only remind you of the provisions of chapter 11 on devolution. Article 174 on objects and principles of devolved governments’ c), d), e), and f) specifically refers to the inclusivity of the minority in governance, 174 (e) reads; “to protect and promote the interests and rights of minority and marginalized communities”. 

2. Promote independent, stronger, effective and efficient county institutions

Your excellency sir, as a defender of devolution in the senate, you debated time without number on the need to enhance and ensure government institution including those at the county level are strengthened, and allowed space to offer services to the people as well as innovation and creativity, you said that services and institutions must be devolved to the smallest possible unit. 

Sir as Governor now, you must not relent on this. Among critical sectors that you need to immediately address is the Healthcare. You have your work cut out for you what you need is the right people with the right qualification, integrity, passion and experience to help you achieve this.

Your excellency sir, the role of any government is to facilitate a good environment, create effective policy and institutional framework and offer oversight. Kindly ensure the framework you will create, will facilitate and not stall progress. Ensure that the policies will be progressive and not regressive to claw back the gains of devolution for which you so much fought for as a senator. Also sir, make sure you don’t become a victim of capture.

3. Assign Your Deputy Governor a department (ministry).

Your excellency sir, as a student of history and Governance one of the major things I have observed in our National and devolved Government is the “opaque nature” in which offices of the deputies are regarded. The offices are only treated casually and not given much importance. Sir, the 2010 constitution did not want to prescribe the manner in which deputies relate with their bosses, but it did not prohibit any boss from creating a harmonious working relationship with their deputies.

I implore you to assign your deputy a role as a CEC in one of the departments, such as Trade. Let her be busy and engaged. And on this sir I would refer you to study the manner in which the first Kiambu Governor, William Kabogo related with his deputy, He assigned him a role as a CEC. That resulted in political and administrative stability during his tenure.

Sir, you saw what happened with the second Kiambu Governor and his relationship with his deputy. And you also saw how bad blood between the second Nairobi Governor and his deputy led to resignation, impeachment and eventual takeover of the critical county services by the National Government through NMS. I am sure Kiambu county will not get there under your leadership.

4. End the “Kiambu East vs Kiambu” West imaginary turf

Your excellency sir, since 2017 there have been issues on the Eastern part of Kiambu. The residents in these areas have been raising concerns over concentration of county projects and resources mainly in the western side. Sir for purpose of defining which one is East and which one is west I will explain; the East include sub-counties of; Thika, Juja, Ruiru, Gatundu North, Gatundu South. 

These five sub counties account for 50% of the Kiambu County population and are largely urban areas. From unverified sources it is estimated that Thika Sub-County accounts for almost 50% of Kiambu county own source revenue generated. This is due to its proximity to the North, Eastern, western corridor and Nairobi to the south.

However, it took the people of Thika and the business community three days of closing their businesses to come out and hold street demonstrations in order for the previous county governments to repair its road network within the CBD, and the works are still not yet finished. Many county projects including feeder roads, modern markets among others remain unfinished or undone in the eastern part.

When it comes to county appointments sir, the East part has always been getting the shorter end of the stick since devolution, and some have attributed this to the fact that three out of the four county governors and the senator, have all had their origins from the western part of the county. We hope that you will ensure social justice and diligence for all sir.

5. End the dumping of all Kiambu County garbage in Thika

Your Excellency, until 2017, Thika Town was a fairly clean town and it used to manage only its own generated waste, but thereafter, the town became a dumping ground for all garbage generated from all across the county. 

Every sub-county used to have its’ own dumping areas and landfills during the defunct local authorities. Kindly find out what happened to those public lands in all those sub-counties.

Sir, kindly also invite yourself to the Thika Kang'oki dumpsite during the rainy season and when they are burning garbage. The smoke and emissions of sometimes industrial waste is inhaled by people from as far as Kisii estates, Kivulini, Makongeni and Salama estates in Thika. This results in respiratory and other health complications.

While at it sir, please find out what happened to the recycling plant that was supposed to be established at the site and was to be funded by the Japanese Government. And before I forget, find out how much land had been set aside for it and the entire dumping site.

Sir, with increased uncontrolled dumping, among the other negative effects is the clogging of drainage and sewer infrastructures.

Your excellency sir, I will stop at that for now. There are many issues I would have raised, but I hope to do so in other opportunities in the future. I will continue to do my civic duty of making proposals and helping the county become great again.

Regards

JUMA HEMEDI MWANIKI

Thika /Kiambu Resident

5 comments:

  1. Well put and hope the Governor listens (or is it reads 😉) and acts, better yet, includes you as part of his team to move Kiambu forward. Inshallah 🙏

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  2. Kudos Mr. Hemedi. We have a great governor and I am sure he will take note

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  3. Well said Mr Hemedi,this is the leadership we need in kiambu.kiamby has to look great.baraka MR juma

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  4. I voted this guy for his love for impactful leadership and somber, intelligent mind.
    The majority had their way but I look forward to seeing his leadership

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  5. Thanks alot mr hemedi for a researched article. You are very well informed on many critical areas affecting the residents of thika. I wish you could be included in the panel of the governor's advisers. I wish you well

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