Residents of Machakos have expressed mixed reactions following a recent poll that ranked Governor Dr Alfred Mutua as the best performing county boss in Kenya.
In the ranking, prepared by All Africa Advisors (AAA), a London based advisory firm, Dr Mutua was ahead of the pack at 460 points followed by his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya at 440 points.
Mike Sonko and Professor Kivutha Kibwana followed at 374 and 345 in position three and four respectively.
At the bottom of the exit poll which was carried out between July and August is Sospeter Ojamoong’(Busia),Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) who close the list at a dismal rating of -136,-180, and -615 respectively.
According to the firm’s head of survey Mr Steven Kanyatte, the governors were evaluated in tandem with performance indicators of good governance, infrastructure, safe water provision, health, food security and emergency services among other things in the survey which was released on Tuesday this week.
However when KNA spoke to a number of residents in response to the findings, their reactions differed.
For instance, while some hailed the survey as a true reflection of things in the county, others dismissed the report as a public relations stunt and claimed that Dr Mutua had not lived up to their expectations.
Esther Mueni, a businesswoman at the Machakos bus park said the governor had failed in transforming the town’s image with garbage collection still an eyesore that poses a health risk to residents.
“The county government placed garbage bins within the town and its environs for purposes of maintaining order in solid waste management. However, this seems to have aggravated the situation further as the containers continue to overflow while the county government does nothing about it,” Mueni.
Another resident who chose anonymity also poked holes at the findings terming them a perfect sham of the year.
He noted that since Dr Mutua took over office for his second term in 2017, most of his campaign pledges dating back to his first term remain unfulfilled.
The respondent who claims to have toured the county extensively says save for a few projects such as the Kivandini road, Kithimani –Makutano-Mwala road much of the county remains unchanged.
He faulted Dr Mutua for promising to give jobs to the youth during a much-hyped recruitment drive back in 2014 which later turned out to be a hoax.
“There isn’t much in that poll if we have to go down with facts on the ground. To begin with, this county suffers from the perennial problem of water shortage, youths are still jobless despite a massive drive that was undertaken in 2014 promising nonexistence jobs while women remain bogged down in abject in poverty. This government has failed the residents who voted for it with so much expectations of a better life,” he said.
Similar sentiments are echoed by Joseph Kyalo, a trained firefighter who once worked at the Machakos Emergency and Rescue Services before he was relieved of his job in unclear circumstances.
Kyalo, while hailing the Governor for improving some of the infrastructures such as the Kathiani –Kangundo road which was put under murram this year says a lot needs to be done including enacting a quick response to emergencies in remote areas.
Kyalo is also calling for the county government to enhance the supply of water by sinking more boreholes in the county citing his village of Kiangini in Kasinga sub-location in Mumbuni north constituency as a case in point.
“The governor must do more especially in the area of water provision, roads rehabilitation and health services. Most families are suffering every time they have to transport their sick ones to a hospital due to lack of emergency services. It is not a wonder seeing patients being carried to hospitals on wheelbarrows in our village which compromises the safety of the patient,” he says.
Yesterday the Council of Governor through their chairman Wycliffe Oparanya dismissed AAAs poll findings and went ahead to demand an apology from the firm for issuing a document without any tangible facts to fall to.
Oparanya claims the controversial poll has now become a ripe fodder for some media houses that are using the figures to paint some governors as none performers in the eyes of the public.
“The Council is of the considered view that the company has no locus to purport to have conducted a survey in the Country with Kenya’s internal interest at heart. We demand an unequivocal apology from Mr Steven Kanyatte and his company failure to which we the council shall take legal action,” read part of the statement which was released to media houses yesterday.
But even as the poll excites mixed reactions from the public, a statement from Governor Dr Mutua’s press office released to media houses on Tuesday hailed the findings saying it painted a true reflection of the work the county boss had done for the residents since he took office in 2013.