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Governors in the limelight for all the wrong reasons

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Corruption, crimes, county and national politics are the reasons governors dominate news, Kenya Media Landscape Report has revealed.

The report which was released on Wednesday at Serena Hotel in Nairobi was conducted between October 2018 and June 2019.

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko recorded the highest coverage in the news at 28 percent, followed by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu at 14 percent , Okoth Obado 11 percent, Hassan Joho at 10 percent, Anne Waiguru at eight percent, Wycliffe Oparanya at seven percent, and Dr Alfred Mutua of Machakos at seven percent.

Governor Sonko made it to the lime light through controversial county politics with the latest being his collision with Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris. The two openly fell out during Madaraka Day celebration at Pumwani marking the genesis of an ugly altercation that was covered in mainstream and alternative media. He was further branded as ‘Governor who cannot keep a secret’ after revealing that he records calls, prints out text messages and keep other records which he leaks through social media.

Governor Mike Sonko

His failure to appoint a deputy governor has also got tongues waging. Since the resignation of his deputy Polycarp Igathe on January 2018, Mr Sonko has kept Narobians guessing on who and when he was going to name a successor on the empty seat.

{ Read: Mike Sonko set to name Kibaki’s relative as Deputy Governor }

Decongensting the capital city has been a headache to the governor and Nairobi dwellers. From banning Public Service Vehicles and motorbikes commonly known as bodabodas from the CBD and ever changing parking fees for private cars, no solution is in sight. At some point, when commuters were struggling to cope with the new regulation, Mr Sonko said “Nairobi residents needed the exercise because they don’t go to the gym.”

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand waititu

Kimabu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has been dominating the news for corruption allegations. While facing the senate in May 2019, Mr Waititu presented financial statements that showed his administration allocations budget for functions unrelated to his county. This led to accusations of corruption under his leadership that ran into billions of shillings.  He was later arrested by detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), his home raided in search for criminating documents. Mr Waititu was released on bail but still faces corruption charges.

{ See Also: EACC: Waititu ‘paid millions to his own firms’ }

The governor is also on the spot over alleged fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering.

Migori County Governor Okoth Obado has been on the limelight on the infamous crime incident, murder of Sharon Otieno his girlfriend who was seven moths pregnant. This landed the governor in Industrial Remand Prison for a month as he awaited the bail and trail for the murder case.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado

This became the most publicised murder cases of 2018. Ms Otieno, then a student at Rongo University was abducted and later found dead in K’odera Forest. After eleborate criminal investigation Governor Obado and his two aides, Mr Caspal Obiero and Michael Oyamo were arrested as key suspect in the gruesome murder that shock the country.

To add salt to the wound, Mr Obado has been accused of embezzling sh2.5 billion using proxies to siphon the money from Migori coffers. During the investigations a number of accounts linked to his wife Hellen Odie and key businessmen in the county were frozen.

{ Read: Another 12 nights for Governor Obado as he awaits bail }

Further he was later arrested for possessing eight firearms illegally. He spent two nights in police custody before being granted bail.

Mombasa Governor Hassan John has been making headlines for defending the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, with the latest incident being of the fake gold sold to UAE royalty. Alternative medias have branded him the ‘Kenya’s Political Kingpin.’ He won many admirers and rivals in equal after openly criticizing Jubiliee administration and attacking President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho

In February, Mr Joho made it to the healing after a letter allegedly from DCI circulating in social media platforms linked him to trade narcotics. The DCI later disowned the letter terming it as fake. The said fake letter listed Joho as among individuals who are being investigated by the international policing agency over their involvement in illicit drugs trade.

{ See Also: Is Joho rooting for a government structure where he would be regional king? }

Ms Anne Waiguru the governor of Kirinyanga has had a fair share of news coverage on national politics after getting presidential running mate job offers for the 2022 general elections. She said that the offer came from two parties in the country. There have been speculations that the Deputy President Dr William Ruto might select her as her running mate in the said elections.

Kirinyanga governor Anne Waiguru

Ms Waiguru has also been on the limelight after the media highlighted the deteriorating state of Kerugoya County Referral Hospital. The sorry state of the hospital forced locals to look for medical attention elsewhere as health workers downed their tools citing poor working conditions. They described the hospital as a health hazard for both patients and staff.

{ Read: Wedding Bells: Governor Anne Waiguru set to marry City lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo }

The county administration and the governor was accused of neglecting the health department in the county. Recently, she fired the striking health workers who defied court order on 8th July 2019.

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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