The Busia County Government’s and the County Assembly operations are crippled by rampant witch-hunting, baseless vilifications, outright nepotism and tribalism crowned by gross inept mismanagement.
These are just a tip of the revelations that have emerged since last year and appear to be taking a stranglehold on the two central entities of the county with the residents paying through the nose for the gross excesses exhibited by the county leaders.
All these start right from the office of the county’s Governor Sospeter Odeke Ojaamon’g who has surrounded himself with a clique of arrogant, corrupt and greedy myopic characters from his Teso community holding senior positions at his office and calling the shots like the county is their personal property to play around with.
It permeates through the office of his deputy Kizito Wangalwa whose operations are even worse having appointed his own sister to a senior position in his own office, but who has since died only to be replaced by his own brother crowned by his concubines in cabinet positions in the county executive.
Indeed the immoral escapades including gross misuse of the counties resources by Ojaamon’g and his deputy Wangalwa are so gross to the extend that they are a public horror and forced the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to raid the governor’s homes and offices in both Busia and Nairobi leading to a flurry of briberies to EACC operatives.
The County Assembly right from the Speaker Ben Wamalwa and a string of compromised Members of the County Assembly who abuse the powers and privileges of the august house to settle scores with individuals they have petty personal grudges – the best examples being two members of the county cabinet Hillary Makhulu and Chief Officers Greg Akide and Mr. Akedi.
According to Wangalwa the suspension of Makhulu by the Governor, in October 2015, was as a result of a resolution passed by the Busia County Assembly on an alleged misappropriation of approximately Kshs. 43million part of which was meant for the rehabilitation of Muluanda ginnery.
While that of the cabinet Executive secretary for health Dr. Maurice Siminyu was occasioned by allegations concerning the mismanagement and misreporting of the health crisis that hit children in parts of Teso South and North Sub-Counties after receiving tragically flawed treatment from some local health centers/dispensaries that crippled them.
The Deputy Governor says that the Assembly also decreed that the allegations be subjected to the Auditor General for further investigation to establish the veracity of these allegations, but the investigations took more than a year thus showing how shoddy the whole county management operations are.
He says: “When Makhulu was suspended, his docket was assigned to Executive Secretary Lenard Wanda Obimbira in an acting capacity. At the same time ES- Siminyu was also suspended and his docket assigned to ES- Kafwa in an acting capacities.”
Wangalwa further points out that in mid-January 2015, the Governor reorganized his government and reshuffled the County Executive Committee members and the Chief Officers. During that reshuffle the Department of Trade Tourism Cooperatives and Industrialization that was manned by Obimbira in acting capacity was abolished and the Department of Economic Planning, Trade, Cooperatives and Industrialization created and assigned to him.
It must be pointed out that prior to this allocation of this ministry, Wangalwa had no ministry under his docket apart from being just a Deputy to Ojaamon’g with whom they had been having a highly frosty relationship to the extend that Wangalwa was rendered virtually irrelevant.
“The Auditor General while investigating the matter issued a letter that required a response from the county government. In the letter (not an audit report) Makhulu and Greg Akide were not found to have misappropriated the Kshs. 43million allocated for the ginnery rehabilitation project,” said Wangalwa.
He continues: “The Governor, in anticipation of ES-Makhulu being cleared, lifted the suspension via a letter that asked him to report to his office for assignment of duties.”
The Deputy Governor says that letter was subsequently withdraw and replaced Makhulu to report to the Governor for written assignment of duties.
He however confirms that to date the written assignment of duties has not been done. Therefore, the Governor will assign duties to Makhulu or any member of the CEC duties as he deems fit. An assignment to a task is not an assignment to head a Department, a matter that must be gazetted.
However, a reliable county who is privy to the intrigues, manipulations and machinations in the county executive and assembly says that indeed after Makhulu was suspended, the Trade and Cooperative Office was later handed over to the Deputy Governor.
During this period, a lot of political misfortunes started haunting the County. This was experienced when some vital secrets leaked from the governor’s office to his opponents particularly his main detractor declared challenger at the next general elections on an ODM ticket, Funyula legislator Paul Otuoma.
He said: “Not being in good terms with Makhulu, Obisa his own ward’s MCA tabled yet another motion in the assembly tagging Makhulu in the theft of another alleged 45 Million Shillings, which was not captured in the budget hence not making reference to the same budget for financial year 2013/14.”
“All this was meant to ensure that Makhulu walks from storm to the other. The second motion presented by Obisa did not capture the Auditor General’s Report, neither did it have any report from the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee,” he goes on.
The source says that when all this was happening in the Assembly, Dr.Otuoma declared his bid to contest against governor Ojaamon’g right from the party primaries. It was at this time that Otuoma got a lot of information about Ojaamong’s plans and how he is shoddily running the county affairs.
Being a friend and a close ally to Dr. Otuoma he influenced his appointment to the county government’s cabinet; Makhulu carried the blame and was falsely identified as the link between Otuoma and Ojaamong’s inner circle. This boiled further and Makhulu was not to be seen anywhere closer to the county offices that Ojaamon’g and his clique of inner core cronies of a kitchen cabinet led by Papa have transformed into personal fiefdoms.
Ironically Wangalwa on getting the false wind of Makhulu being the link between the County and Otuoma, he visited the governor alongside Obisa at his Busia town residence. From the visit, a lot of pronouncements were made, though unofficial, vowing never to have back Makhulu in the office.
Obisa allegedly proved to the governor how Makhulu has been leaking county secretes to Otuoma. This did not end in the governor’s home garage. At a certain club in Mumias, the governor reportedly also vowed to kick out Makhulu from the county offices and have him suffer the consequences thereafter.
Taking advantage of the same, Wangalwa approached the governor and talked to him to have someone else hired to occupy the office as they find a way out for Makhulu. This was evident when Makhulu’s suspension was lifted but still Wangalwa insisted to have the docket that was previously Makhulu’s to his office.
The chief Officer Akedi was the sacrificial lamb in all the events and in all the happenings. Not even a letter was served to him as he was un-ceremoniously dumped from the acting position that was held by Akide.
The County Public Accounts Committee receives all instructions from the governor’s office. This then raises a lot of questions right from the Writing of the budget all the way to the county’s expenditure.
Abusing the powers of the County Assembly, a clique of compromised MCAs on an extortion spree again late last year tried to pull yet another impeachment motion against Dr. Siminyu who had been cleared off any wrong doing in the previous allegations leveled at him.
The same assembly had used the same powers to witch hunt and Makhulu that resulted in their almost simultaneous suspension, though Siminyu was cleared much earlier and immediately resumed office before the second witch-hunt was mooted before being nullified