Kenya: Governor Nyong'o Denies Frustrating His Deputy

8 October 2019

Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili is a man under siege.

This follows a revelation by a senior county official and interviews with some close county staff that unearthed the recent eviction notice as an in-house controversy as claims of embarrassment and attempts to frustrate him to resign emerged.

The county official revealed to the Nation that there appears to be malice in the failure by the county government to settle the deputy governor's rent arrears owed to a property owner whose house in the leafy suburbs of Milimani Estate Dr Owili resides in.

EMBARRASS OWILI

He revealed that the move was to embarrass the deputy governor and could be among other reasons an attempt to frustrate Dr Owili, who came back to the country from an overseas trip in the United States last week, to bow out of his position.

In a letter dated September 30 and addressed to the county secretary, Vauxhall Holdings Limited has raised concerns over the Sh3.5 million rent arrears owed to them.

The rent arrears had accrued to Sh273, 844 by that date and another Sh3.2 million owed to United Millers in pending bills.

FRUSTRATIONS

However, the Nation has learnt that the DG appears to have been bottling up frustrations within the executive for more than a year after it emerged that he is not enjoying many of the benefits that come with his office.

Apart from not having his rent paid in time, the deputy governor has been without a medical insurance scheme for a whole year yet he is entitled to Sh5.5 million, forcing him to, at times, depend on the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to settle his medical bills.

MEDICAL COVER

According to documents seen by the Nation, Dr Owili is entitled to an annual medical cover for himself and family, including spouse and up to four children below 25 years fully defendant.

Dr Owili is also yet to get his official vehicle and car loan which, according to the government ceilings on remuneration and benefits for a deputy governor is Sh5 million as well as monthly airtime of Sh15,000.

CLAIMS DENIED

In reaction, Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o has fought claims of attempts to embarrass, intimidate or frustrate his deputy.

Through his communications director, Mr Aloyce Ager, the county boss said some people are using the issue of the eviction notice over rent arrears as a political tool to create division between him and his deputy.

Mr Ager told the Nation that the governor and his deputy have a cordial relationship for the two years they have been working together.

The governor, he said, often sends his deputy to represent him in various official duties.

WEDGE

"There is somebody who is trying to make political capital out of the rent issue. Someone is just out to create a wedge between Dr Owili and (Prof) Nyong'o," said Mr Ager.

He also pointed out that the deputy governor has one official vehicle, a Ford Everest and a chase car.

Mr Ager also stated that payment of Dr Owili's medical cover is up to date.

When asked to comment on the matter, Dr Owili did not divulge much information, only saying he will be calling for a press conference where he will "reveal the truth" about what is happening.

But he expressed concern over the rent debacle.

According to him, he has even saved the county Sh85,000 monthly since his rent is Sh100,000 while he is entitled to Sh185,000 according to packages for deputy governors in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

FINANCIAL WOES

"I am aware the county is facing financial challenges but I wonder why the rent which had been budgeted for was not settled. Unless the finance department is fixed, the county government will continue facing the challenges we are witnessing," said Dr Owili.

The latest development has also brought to fore the many issues that now surround the county government, nearly halting its operations due to unpaid salaries to workers and pending bills dating back to the previous regime.

"The finance department is the enabler of the ministries. If it cannot function well, then other programmes in various departments cannot be implemented," he said.

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