By Emily Adama
LESSONS FROM BUNGOMA
GOVERNOR WANGAMATI’S 100 DAYS IN OFFICE.
*Discipline:* The first day the Governor called for a meeting with Cabinet at 7am, a senior County officer told him it would not be possible because 7am was a tad too early and this was something they had never done over the last years. “This is a fresh five years and we will have a Cabinet meeting 7am, he said as he dismissed the senior officer. The meeting did take place at 7am the following day and everybody that needed to attend was seated before the hour. From Day 1, the Governor arrives in his office by 6am everyday without exception unless he is out town. Officers who used to report to work way past 10am have had to give up the lazy habit to be office latest 7am. Today, many high-level meetings begin at 6am on the dot.
*Cutting wastage:* Governor Wangamati moved with speed against massive wastage in the County. From Day 1 in office, he issued a directive that all County Government meetings would be within the County and only very necessary travels will be sanctioned. As a result of the directive, the Governor saved Sh100 million that been allocated to travel allowance/per diem was saved in just 30 days.
*Bursary Kitty:* The Governor has prepared a Bill to reallocate the saved amount to a bursary kitty. With the reallocation, the Governor has increased the Bursary kitty from a previous Sh180 million to Sh400 million this financial year. The increase in allocation will see 1,000 students per ward or 40,000 students across the County each getting Sh10,000 minimum in bursary fund. Under the kitty, all needy students who will make it to National Schools will be fully sponsored.
*Local Business:* The ban on meetings in foreign towns has seen local hotels do brisk business as different ministries search for hotels with conference facilities in the County.
*Extra Streams in National Schools:* The Governor has constituted a County Education Taskforce to work on the logistics of establishing an extra stream for both Friends School Kamusinga and Lugulu Girls to ensure local students too benefit from the two national schools whose current admission is 85 per cent from other counties.
*Special Fund:* Through the Governors lobbying, Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA) has classified Mt Elgon as a marginalised region. As a result, CRA will be allocating an extra Sh300 million to the specific development of Mt Elgon Sub-County from the next Financial Year.
*Investment:* Governor Wangamati has worked out a roadmap on where he wants to take the County in the next 5 years. Under the roadmap, he has mapped out all investment opportunities a result of which has seen investors from over 15 countries representing more than 60 investment firms trooping Bungoma to have a bite of the pie. Talks are ongoing to get started on some of the projects. So far, sectors under consideration by the different investors include roads, ICT, agro-processing, textiles and industrial park among others. All these without the Governor having travelled anywhere outside the country in search for investors!
*Community Empowerment:* To empower residents the real heirs of Bungoma County the Governor has directed that 60 per cent of all tenders will go to Youth and Women and 80 per cent of the tenders must go to residents of Bungoma County. Effectively, out of the Sh4 billion development budget, Sh3.2 billion will be business for the residents. To boost local capacity, the Governor has worked an LPO-financing arrangement with various financial institutions. To ensure all corners of the County benefit from devolution, the Governor has also devolved the management of procurement for all Community Empowerment Funds to sub-counties. Under this arrangement, only firms from particular regions will be awarded tenders for those regions.
*A resident from another county responded:* “Who Bewitched us??