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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Trouble is brewing between the Kisumu county and members of the business community operating in the lakeside town.

The traders are blaming the governor Jack Ranguma for poor management of Kisumu city affairs, which include poor collection of garbage, lack of streetlights and spiralling insecurity,
Residents are also blaming the governor and his team of executive officers for failure to stamp out rampant graft among the county MCAs and members of staff. There are unconfirmed claims that even the most lowly placed clerks and office secretaries have registered their own companies either through their husbands, proxies and relatives or friends for the purpose of grabbing all the county’s lucrative tenders for supplies of the various items to the chagrins of genuine businessmen and traders who now claim they are shielded off.

Other complaints leveled against the governor include lack of properly demarcated roads signs, which now leads to motorists to drive their vehicles in town aimlessly without observing bus stops, zebra crossings and lack of traffic lights on major roads and junctions. The matatus  plying Busia and  Bondo roads from the town centre have established their own bus terminal on the  busy Aga Khan Drive, hence obstructing other motorists in the absence of proper government reinforcement of the traffic regulations and rules.

The road opposite Kisumu Boys High School and the Aga Khan Drive near the Aga Khan Hospital has been turned into illegal bus terminal causing  serious traffic hiccups in the area.
The town’s cleaning troupe are no longer seen on the streets and the county is now relying on hired street urchins popularly known as ninja as casual workers which has left many parts of the town and central business district stinking.  The county government has also failed to secure a proper dumpsite for the disposals of the refuse emanating from the town, exposing residents and visitors to serious health hazard. 

Residents now want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to send its investigation officers to the county to investigate claims that MCAs are among those winning lucrative tenders for supplies of various items to the county government.

A cross section of the business community scathingly criticised Governor Ranguma for his recent comments and remarks about the possibility of his government repossessing land and  plots allocated to stalled projects such as Kicomi and the adjacent disused Kenya Breweries plant in town.

The business community has appealed to Ranguma to abandon his approach to property and cited government projects that have stalled such as the Miwani Sugar Mills and the Rice Mill in Kibos. The governor and his team should look for ways and means of resuscitating these projects instead of issuing threats to scare away prospective investors, they said.

The business community is also concerned that Ranguma has recently issued threats on plans to repossess land and plots used as crematory by the Hindu community and a cemetery for the Ismailia and Muslim communities in town.

The criticism on Ranguma comes in the wake of a recent visit to town by the parliamentary select committee on finance and trade led by its chairman, Benjamin Lang’at, the MP for Ainamoi.  The team was accompanied by the principal secretary for Industrialisation and Enterprises Development Wilson Songa.

Kicomi, which hitherto was the largest employer of close to 2,600 workers in town, went burst in 1990s and Price Waterhouse was appointed its receiver manager before it was auctioned and sold to private entrepreneurs.

The new owners of the facility later made frantic efforts to have it revived, but owing to the government liberalisation of the textile industry and massive imports of “mitumba” fibres, these efforts were thwarted.

And so were the high cost of power, fuel, land and labour. The perennial shortage of locally grown cotton was the other prohibitive reasons. Kicomi used to produce one million metres of fabric per month for local and export market.

The parliamentary committee also visited Kicomi and inspected its multi-million shillings machinery which is lying idle inside its buildings and promised to do something towards its revival.

Kisumu residents have  told the governor that he risks being impeached if he and his team does not pull up their socks and see to it that services are delivered to the taxpayers.