The moment Jack Ranguma’s political team failed to set off a counter parallel to Hon. Professor Nyong’o hard hitting policy strategies for Kisumu County in the gubernatorial primaries, any hawk observer knew JR’s goose was cooked.

You hardly ask the type of Nyong’o – a completely studious Professor, with history to boot, what he has been up to since last thirty years; and yet he tactfully christens a real concern about existing dumpsite deep within the CBD, a sitting Governor’s name.

To brand Nyong’o ‘mean’ was a complete myopia of the true essence of personal requirements in a post-bureaucratic leadership order.

JR’s team did not think that if Nyong’o was mean then they had to be ‘generous’… How could they have achieved this…by dishing token gifts? which they did, anyhow, but where was the source of this cash, Nyong’o asked? Consumers of this tokenism, too, immediately re-bound with questions. Indeed many started viewing JR’s administration as composed of a few privileged classes of nepotism and clan beneficiaries of devolved corruption.

When Nyong’o drilled this he successfully built reality to surpass perception. He created self-doubt, about Ranguma’s capability, foresight and honesty. Finally, when JR boarded the same bus with Nyong’o to destination ‘Orange’, he should have been aware that he was a co-driver. All these, and more, do not help matters when JR’s handlers want to push him into running as an independent candidate. He may not need to test the depth of waters with both his feet. He is already in a hole and should consider stopping digging. No boy or girl would smoke up an old vehicle tire for Ranguma in Kisumu.

Kisumu changes regimes for the country and creates gunmetal changes of the magnitude of new constitutions, new leadership structures, new IEBCs etc. They do not do small jobs. Their jobs are purely referral. The country owes them a standing ovation. That is my, unsolicited, advice to gentle JR.

People Participation about the ‘City County’

However, in the spirit of public participation, within a post-new governance era, the good old Professor, and accomplished political economist, Nyong’o, needs to know what we may actually need of Kisumu – ‘A City County’. This will entail phenomenal shifts in land ownership and land use systems, family settlements, burial sites, sustainable waste management, industrial sites and infrastructure development. Nyong’o is taking over a county with relatively large freehold land ownership, an undeveloped health system, rudimentary ICT infrastructure, poor economy and a highly literate huge population not in employment or business. His immediate primary focus must be on an information structure that is vibrant enough to let his people move with him. He has to open the communications channel to his office for a centralized enquiry system. For a start the county’s administration telephone numbers, given on the county’s website, should work and or almost always be manned for responses.

Professor – you have requested us not to call you His Excellency, so I will call you what I fondly do with you daily, Professor. Please, do our work. Everyone is around to lend a hand in creating a Kisumu of opportunities where agribusiness, textile and allied (particularly for AGOA) and manufacturing will be high priority areas for job creation and income generation. We want see the water hyacinth out of the way of Lake Victoria and a maritime system that exploits our blue economy. We always need fish, thus we must prioritize it. Lake transport to neighbouring countries will be a viable option for a less costly regional trade in East Africa with the commission in place, and its secretariat already in Kisumu. The Kisumu International Airport should connect flights to Tanzania, Entebbe, Kigali and juba, for example. The Millennium city has an untapped brand.

What is in it for us in a ’millennium city’? We need cargo wagons on a rail line from Nairobi and Mombasa to ease business costs in Kisumu. Strategic partnerships would be a better investment option with private investors between our county and others and with foreign countries. SME capacity development and financing, with its increasing importance in job-creation and GDP is imperative.

New Planning

When the current counties regimes inherited a lofty CIDP (County Integrated Development Plans) in 2014, from the Transition Authority (TA), we did not have ample time to do a comprehensive baseline mapping of the counties resources. We have, therefore, always developed strategies that were never, entirely, in tandem with our situational analyses. Can we hang around the incoming Council of Governors to lobby bilateral donor funders and or international development agencies to fund a comprehensive baseline in Kenya?

From here, Professor, we need a master plan, for our economic blueprint, of the nature of long-term thinking, akin to Mombasa’s ‘Vision’ 2040. With your fundamental history in planning in Kenya, please, help the devolved Governments in the Lake Basin Regional Bloc to develop a secretariat that emphasizes greater integration, joint infrastructure collaboration and a bigger regional market. Work on Public Private Partnerships (P3s) strategies for infrastructure bonds with your people, and, please, construct an updated asset and liabilities register for the county.

Tough Choices

Finally, Professor, some tough decisions here for you. Are you going to inherit the monolith culture of Kisumu County workforce and hope to create immediate and long-term impact? How are you going to work on the re-skilling of the county workforce for a viable talent pool? Will you restructure and work with a complete cabinet, as required by law for effective service delivery, or go in the way of mediocrity that many governors pushed us to with policy implementers by way of incomplete or non-substantive cabinet offices? Agriculture is devolved, but what happens to the moribund sugar firms in the county? Will you allocate sizeable amount of resources on development as opposed to recurrent expenditure?

Professor, your people pray for your selflessness in this. They need you. Your time is here.
God Bless You. God Bless Kisumu and its People. God Bless Kenya.

By Felix Opata

Felix Opata is currently researching on ‘Strategic Orientation Influence on Sustainable Competitive Advantage of Public Sector Organizations in a Post-New Public Management order’.

He is the founder of Integrated Process Management Solutions (IPMS Ltd) – a Strategic Management and Organization Development think-tank for Change-Leadership Systems, Strategy & Research in Profit and Public/social Sector Organizations


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