By Gathathai Mwangi
Nairobi is the hub of business and technology in this region. It has been voted among the best cities in the world and Africa. These make its leadership crucial. A lot of analysts are always on guard of what is happening. Nairobi governor Dr Kidero has found himself at the center of controversy in the last three years. The scandals boil down to him, because, if he had acted otherwise they would not have happened.
February 2016: A report emerged on how Nairobi city lawyers had inflated service fees in collaboration with the county officials. They had created artificial cases, especially land cases, and shared the spoil. This had been done over time. A personnel as qualified as Kidero, who had been a managing director for a long time and is conversant with reading financial reports, he would have discovered this misrepresentation sooner.
February 2016: Kidero is accused of bribing Justice Philip Tunoi to influence the Supreme Court ruling on the petition filed by Waititu for the 2013 Nairobi gubernatorial election. He is accused of having paid as much as Sh 200 million. The Judicial Service Commission subcommittee, constituted to look in to the case, recommended to the president that there was need to set up a commission of inquiry. This implies there had to be a contact between Kidero representative and Justice Tunoi to influence the court ruling.
January 2016: Kidero’s chief of staff, Mr Wainaina, was arrested as he tried to bribe Nairobi senator Mike Sonko. He tried to bribe Sonko to go slow on his oversight role in Nairobi County especially in investigating garbage collectors and the county officers responsible, land grabbing and also contents of the letter of the acquisition and construction of multi-million properties by county officers.
January 2016: Nairobi’s Environment Chief Officer quit amid garbage scandal. Leah Oyake resigned following the garbage collection scandal at City Hall. Oyake was forced out of office as a result of what was seen as a laxity in cleaning up the Kenyan capital. Governor Evans Kidero, cited corruption as the major challenge. Kidero as her boss would have done more to help solve the issues early enough than waiting it to escalate.
December 2015: Kidero came under criticism for failing to address the issue of garbage. Waste management is an area the county government has failed to address under his leadership. Kenyans on twitter even criticized him for running down the capital city. He rushed to address the issues after complain which shows poor leadership on his part.
September 2015: The County Government spent Sh 40 Million to plant grass in order to please the then coming President of the US Barrack Obama. It would have been cheap had it been done much earlier. Nairobi had other big problems that deserved to have been prioritized over grass. It absolutely makes no sense to plant grass while there is uncollected garbage everywhere.
March 2015: Financial Consultancy KPMG audit report revealed corruption and mismanagement at Mumias Sugar Company in the past and the present. The report showed that Kidero, as the then CEO, awarded contracts without following the required public procurement process and irregularly dished out discounts and after-sale services. These led to MSC losing more than 360 million during his tenure.
March 2016: Kidero was named in the city land scam. Together with then Land minister, Charity Ngilu, he was named in a land grabbing scandal involving a plot near State House, Nairobi, worth an estimated Sh600 million. They were accused of a conspiracy to forcefully take over the land.
February 2015: Two of his officers including the finance officer were sacked for corrupt dealings. They were charged with defrauding their employer of millions of shillings in shady procurement deals. At the same time, three other top officials were facing corruption charges but were not sacked. Under the governor’s leadership, he ought to have come up with better policies to address the procurement problem but he allowed his juniors to defraud the county.
March 2014: A year after the county government came in to place, an auditor’s report revealed that 2,500 out of the 11,000 workers were relatives and that 3,457 workers were from the same region. The same audit also discovered 2,000 were ‘ghost workers’ on the payroll. It would have been among the first this to be addressed when he came to power but instead blamed the past regime. This was followed by poorly thought of increase in parking fees, leading to Matatu demonstration. All this are corruption dealing under his leadership.
September 2013: Kidero slapped the women representative of Nairobi-Shebesh. This was after she led a team to his office demanding for service delivery. All this was captured in a video but the governor went ahead and denied. As a leader this showed that he was reluctant to take responsibility. He settled the dispute out of court but he has never owned up the mistake to date or apologized to Kenyans. He would have learned from Ted Kennedy, a presidential candidate in 1974 US election, when he crashed a young woman into a river in his car. He left her in the car, and went home to sleep. “I hope the American people find it their hearts to forgive me” He pleaded for forgiveness later and when he died, he did so with honor.
These are just but a few of those scandals that have come to the limelight and there are many more that have not. As we head to the elections next year, systems and people tend to shift focus to campaigns, forgetting their prime responsibility of over watch. This creates an opportunity for many scandals. We can’t lose track this time round, we have to be watchful of corrupt dealing and shout about it. Also as we await candidate to declare their interest, let’s not forget that just because a candidate did well in private sector they are good leaders. Achievement of the past is good, but candidate ought to give us the plan they have for us before we vote them. If this is replicated in other counties maybe we might see improvement from the current state.