Kenya: Governors in Race to Complete Health and Sports Projects

Modern stadiums and processing plants are among the legacy projects being implemented by second-term governors in Nyanza and Western region.

The governors serving out their last term in the region are Cornel Rasanga (Siaya), Okoth Obado (Migori), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), James Ongwae (Kisii), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Busia's Sospeter Ojaamong.

While some counties are yet to table their 2021/2022 budget estimates, governors have been pushing projects perceived to be close to their hearts, hoping to endear themselves to residents, as some are eyeing other seats.

In Kakamega, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has allocated a substantial amount of the Sh16.1 billion budget for the 2021/2022 financial year to completion and equipping of phase one of Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The budget estimates signal Mr Oparanya's intention to deliver on his pledge to improve health facilities in the populous region.

His development vote for health services stands at Sh1.3 billion. The Sh6 billion project is one of Governor Oparanya's legacy projects. In the budget estimates, Sh510,334,369 has been set aside to complete the project.

The county chief, who is eyeing the presidency and has presented his name for nomination through ODM, is also keen on improving and equipping level-four hospitals in the county. The second phase of rehabilitation of Bukhungu stadium to an ultra-modern sports facility has been allocated Sh725,484,656.

Sh15 million

Mumias Level Four Hospital has been allocated Sh10 million while Shiamakubu Level Four Hospital in Kakamega East is expected to take up Sh15 million.

Mr Oparanya's administration has also allocated Sh1.2 billion for tarmacking and rehabilitation of roads and construction of bridges to improve transport services in the region. The 10km per ward project, another key legacy initiative of the governor, has been allocated Sh300 million.

In Siaya County, Governor Rasanga has a stadium, a park and education programmes as his legacy projects. The stadium project falls under Alego-Usonga constituency, whose National Assembly seat the county boss is said to be eyeing. He also boasts of having streamlined county procurement systems.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae is expected to use the 2021/22 financial year budget to complete multi million-shilling projects that have stalled in the region.

Mr Ongwae holds Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital dear to his heart and boasts of its success in offering medical services in the populous county.

The level-six hospital, which has been expanded to a 400-bed facility, serves more than six million people in Kisii and neighbouring counties.

Governor Ongwae has, however, had a rough time explaining why projects such as an avocado factory, construction of stadia across the county, a sugar factory and a banana processing factory, have not been actualised.

In 2013, the county government initiated the construction of a Sh150 million avocado factory on Kisii Agriculture Training Centre's land, but the project, which was to be funded by donors, has since remained a pipedream. The devolved unit had also promised to upgrade sporting facilities across the county.

In 2016, a programme was rolled out and Sh133 million set aside for improvement of community playgrounds in all the 45 wards, but none was done.

The region's main sports facility, Gusii stadium, is nearly complete. The contractor is putting final touches to the facility that successfully hosted last year's Mashujaa Day fete. A Sh170 million banana-processing factory whose construction started in 2019 is yet to start operations due to lack of machinery.

In Migori, Governor Obado is banking on the to shape his legacy as he seeks to retire next year.

The hospital boasts a fully functional maternal, child and amenity complex, which was launched in December last year.

"The complex will significantly improve maternal and child health not only in Migori, but across the region as it has been fitted with ultra-modern equipment and hospitality facilities," said Mr Obado. The governor further noted that the doctor's plaza, which will double up as a private wing for VIP patients, is also under construction.

Sh18 million renal unit

In March 2018, the county boss launched a Sh18 million renal unit at the facility that charges for services at subsidised rates.

After the main entrance to the facility is the administrative block and the Kenya Medical Training College. Mr Obado said Migori had committed more than Sh20 million for completion of a tuition and an administration block on the campus.

Mr Obado also launched a Sh230 million cancer CT scan unit at the hospital and commissioned an oxygen plant section. Mr Obado has also revived dairy farming in the county by donating more than 1,200 cattle to various groups.

In Homa Bay, Governor Awiti is facing a huge challenge as some of the flagship projects his administration started during his first term in office in 2013 are yet to be completed.

Residents have cast doubt that Mr Awiti's government will fulfil the pledges the county chief made in 2013 and 2017 in slightly over one year.

Concerns have been raised over failure by the county government to follow up on some of the ongoing projects, besides adverse reports from the Office of the Auditor-General and poor ranking in opinion polls, which have rated Homa Bay among the least performing county governments.

The county government is engaged in the construction of Kigoto Maize Mill in Suba South, Arujo Animals Feed plant in Homa Bay and Sh369 million Homa Bay Stadium. A potato factory and a pineapple processing plant in Kabondo and Rangwe respectively are yet to start.

Reported by Rushdie Oudia, Benson Amadala, Benson Ayienda, Ian Byron and George Odiwuor

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