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Dr Mutegi Giti: Governors should operationalize effective management, grand visions and be transformational

The Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu and Kitui counties are endowed with massive human and natural resources that should be harnessed for the region to attain the Kenya Vision 2030 development goals, the East African Community Agenda 2050 and the African Union agenda 2063, all of which deal with ways through which goods and services can be availed to the citizenry.
Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza pays a courtesy call to her Tharaka Nithi counterpart Muthomi Njuki at his official residence earlier this week. They discussed development matters and how they can collaborate both regionally and nationally.  Mt Kenya East counties and Kitui county have adequate human resources and natural resources to attain various development goals./HON KAWIRA MWANGAZA

First, there is adequate human resource who can support the needed developments because the combined population of the region is 3,280,057 persons (Meru –1,545, 714; Tharaka Nithi, 393,177; Embu 204,979; and Kitui 1,136,187) persons from the 2019 Kenya Populating Census and the same is rapidly growing. This population consist of professionals scattered in national government Ministries, departments and agencies, and also international organizations like the World Bank and United Nations, who should be called upon to assist in one aspect or the other for county and regional development initiatives.

The professionals and experts should not let down the leadership when called upon to assist in one way or the other since it is part of giving back to the community. Governors should operationalize professional groups and make them to play a vital role in county developments going forward. The era of viewing the professionals as competitors should be banished in the abyss and instead all should realize that governors and counties to an extent are better collaborating with professionals because of the thin line between the two.

Secondly, the counties in the region are also endowed with immense natural resources including precious minerals like calcium carbonates, iron ore, copper and its green variants, gemstones, other precious minerals, rare earth minerals and clay, sand and enormous land upon which massive projects can be undertaken at minimum costs compared to other developed regions.

The governors from the region should form effective partnerships since the County Governments Act, 2012, allows for such cooperation and collaborations. They should also engage the national government for enhanced exploitation of the same including detailed feasibility and mineral resource mapping. 

The governors should utilize the available expertise locally and nationally to drive the agenda of these devolved units. This will make the governors develop and actualize the ability/capability to offer strategic guidance, good and sound management and leadership of the county. These governors should have the capacity to address issues of adequate resource mobilization, partnerships and collaboration in project execution. They should be able to effectively utilize, plan and deploy human (including effective delegation and supervision of staff) and fiscal resources within the county for optimal results. 

Thirdly, governors and the entire county leadership should be able to promote local economic development activities by balancing local taxation on one hand and encouraging growth of more businesses, including creating enabling environment for business to thrive, including mainstreaming traders/hawkers into local economy. This means that the counties in the region should be managed in such a way that they are competitive and can favourably attract international and national investments. 

Fourthly, governors should strive to leave a legacy and hence use their positions to improve the living conditions of the electorate in their counties like access to water (domestic and irrigation because every 1 US dollar invested in water has the ability to lead to an economic development of up to 4 US dollars), infrastructure, clean and safe environment and construction of more village and vocational training institutes to absorb the ever-increasing youthful population.

The Health sector should also not be left behind since many households spend lots of money in accessing the same hence a reduction in the purchasing power that would lead to more productive activities, which increases the County Gross Domestic Product (CGDP). 

Fifthly the Governors should be people with intellect to deliver adequate public services with a high sense of urgency to reduce poverty incidences. This is because many county residents have lived in deplorable conditions which have not been fully addressed from Nairobi since independence because of a variety of reasons, some of which include marginalization, remoteness and prioritization. The residents have a say through the counties and governors through public participation to undo such wrongs and hence accelerate their developments. 

Let public participation in the county programmes and projects be well planned and undertaken to get the views of the many residents factored therein.

Sixth, governors and the leadership should be able to adequately prepare and implement their County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) in addition to ensuring that other national programmes and agenda like the Kenya Vision 2030, which is aligned to the Bottom-up economic transformation agenda of the government is implemented locally.

Governors should adhere to the performance indicators, effective ways of measuring their performance, including working with the residents in monitoring the progress of such programmes and projects. This will in the process bring the much-needed confidence in the ability of the governors to bring change from the residents.


Dr. Mutegi Giti is an Urban Management, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) & Environment Specialist.

Twitter: @DanielGiti.

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