December 12th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Kidero on the spot as audit reveals rot, backward slide on reforms

The city is chocking with problems associated with high population. Poverty and unemployment, pollution, traffic congestion, housing crisis and insecurity have rebounded with greater effect. Despite lofty promises, the city administration has not built a single housing unit to address housing shorta

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 05 Dec 2016 11:56 EAT

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s performance has been put to question by a financial audit report from the Kenya National Audit Office unearthing massive irregularities and potential corruption in Nairobi. Among other things, the audit finds that Kidero’s administration has rolled back some reforms that were implemented in Nairobi City Council.

While all counties have grappled with challenges of financial management since the advent of devolution in 2013, Nairobi’s problems appear unique due to the ease of transition into the new order and the ready systems the county government inherited from the defunct Nairobi City Council. Other counties struggled to harmonise several distinct entities with layers of bureaucracies, assets and liabilities, Nairobi County amalgamated only two departments (the City Council and devolved functions of the central government).

Big, populous counties like Kiambu, Bungoma, Kisumu and Nakuru had faced bigger challenges associated with the transition to devolved system. In Kimabu for example, the William Kabogo administration had plan the winding up of Thika Municipal Council, Kiambu County Council and urban authorities in Limuru, Kikuyu, Githunguri, and others with varying levels of staff and administrative systems.

Among the findings of the Auditor General, the Kidero administration cannot account for up to Sh20 billion in the 2014 financial year. The City is paying ghost workers. This is despite the fact that a clean-up of ghost workers was undertaken by the tenure of former Town Clerk Philip Kisia. Nairobi also uses multiple bank accounts in total contravention of the Public Fianncial Management Act. The report found that Sh11.4 billion listed under revenue receipts was illegally banked in the county’s bank accounts and not transferred to the County Revenue Fund Account.

The governor will be judged harshly by both opposition and Jubilee supporters whom he has played against each other since 2013 when opposition supporters began questioning some of his political and administrative decisions. Dr Kidero’s standard answer that he needed to cooperate with the national government for Nairobi’s benefit has been debunked by his ill performance and the relative success of governors who have had rickety working relations with the government.

Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana, for example, has presided over remarkable transformation of healthcare in his region. The first governor to roll out county-wide medical insurance, he uses local hospitals whenever he is sick, and in 2014 was admitted for three days at one facility. It is hard to imagine that Dr Kidero would seek medical services in any of the hospitals he presided over. On the flipside, Kiambu’s William Kabogo has a fantastic relationship with the government but still comes under pressure once in a while over performance.

As Kenya’s richest county, Nairobi accounts for one tenth of the budget for all county governments, and is the only one that raises more funds locally than it receives in government allocations. However, the increased spending under devolution is hardly reflected in Nairobi’s infrastructure or services.

The city is chocking with problems associated with population pressure. Poverty and unemployment, pollution, traffic congestion, housing crisis and insecurity have rebounded with greater effect. Despite lofty promises, the city administration has not built a single housing unit to address the biting housing shortage.

While Nairobi has seen several projects come upstream over the last three years, all are private-sector led and cater for the affluent. Traffic remains messy despite the recruitment of city traffic marshals in 2014. Healthcare is even worse, and last year several patients died in city hospitals due to negligence of doctors.

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