The Kisii County governor James Ongwae is racing against time to complete the projects he launched after assuming office in 2013.
Aware of the possible backlash this has created in animosity to provide better services to his constituents, the governor is prepared to answer hard questions to the electorate even as his opponents have launched onslaught to the several projects and pledges made to the electorate which are yet to be full filled four months to the August polls.
The leader has been put on the spot as he seeks to answer questions that he has either abandoned or yet to be completed or lagging behind schedule despite having been included in previous budget allocations by his administration.
Ongwae is facing sharp criticism over several projects which were initiated and have not been complete like in February 2016, the county government signed a contract with Liquid Telecom for provision of free Internet and Wifi connectivity within Kisii town an issue which has been left hanging.
According to County Chief Officer Trade and Industry John Obwoncha, the WiFi connectivity to be placed in strategic places including; the bus park, Kisii Level Five Hospital, central business district, Kisii County headquarters and Kisii University.
In 2014, the county government held the First Education passed recommendations that included; formation of a task force to guide the implementation process, addressing of infrastructural facilities in schools, employment of adequate ECD staff, quality implementation of curriculum within schools, empowering schools with staff and other resources, and ensure that all schools are ready for inclusive education for the people living with disabilities.
Governor James Ongwae formed the task force and bestowed power to his Deputy Joash Maangi to oversee the implementation process. They inaugurated the task force in December 18, 2014.
The task force chairman Dr. Henry Onderi, who also chairs Kisii County Education Board (KCEB), was quoted that the county has been reluctant to finance activities in the implementation process. They had an estimated budget of Sh2.6 million where the 8 out of the 21 resolutions were discussed through the support of the National government.
Besides the Education, there has been silent murmurs over the impact of the various major summits which have been held within the county. Health investment summit which resolved to enable all hospitals within the county. “Thanks to the national government. It has supported us and that is what enabled us implement 8 out of 21 resolutions arrived at translating to 43 per cent at the moment. The county government has done less in implementation of the education conference recommendations,” said Dr Onderi adding that other resolutions are half-way implemented.
However in previous occasions Ongwae has defended his track record, saying he has achieved a lot including the upgrading of the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital. Which he says in history he has increased the number of doctors from 17 to 150, who are deployed across the county’s health facilities.
The governor says some people started campaigning against him only six months after he was elected, and this doesn’t deter him from making Kisii County a better place for the residents.
He has been accused by his rivals of runaway corruption and exclusivity in his government and skewed county representation.
But in his defense, Ongwae has been quoted previously saying that the claims made against his track record are even on national government
Last month in Nyaribari Ongwae told off Senator Obure who is seen as his main challenger to keep off and instead show what he also has done as a Senator of the county to help in county development instead of politicizing every issue.
He however assured residents to stay calm as he is focused on fulfilling what he promised.
“Despite what my critics and opponents are saying, we have covered a lot of ground. I expect them to discredit me,” the governor said.
On education, he says more than 1,000 ECDE teachers have been employed, 300 classes built and 150 others are under construction.
However it will be a matter of time as he (Ongwae) seeks to ensure that he will be able to convince the residents to re-elect him.
The county chief further says that he has fulfilled most of the pledges he made in 2013, but added some projects have stalled because of underfunding.