Re: Remind Us Again What Gov. Jack Ranguma Brings to the Table in 2017?
By Dorcas S
From afar, to strangers (maybe locals alike), Kenya has to be one of the most frustrating societies in the world and Kenyans the most frustrating people.
How can a society simultaneously excel and fail – so spectacularly?
How can Kenyans give the world’s remaining super power its 44th chief executive yet elect two demonstrably corrupt and incompetent crimes-against-humanity suspects as its executive and deputy CEO?
How can a country so endowed with some of the world’s most beautiful natural resources be so negligent caring for, tending to, nurturing and sustaining said resources?
And how can a society that’s home to the budding Silicon Savanna and to continental offices of blue chip companies at the forefront of the knowledge economy also yield a population teeming with dunderheads who are easily swayed by primal constructs such as “uthamakism” – repeatedly?
In this next “Race for Governor Series” (having already covered Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero), I am curious to hear from supporters and detractors of Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma on his (mis)handling of the mess that has bedeviled the lakeside city since the early 90s – the water hyacinth problem. In the process, maybe supporters and detractors of Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) and Cornel Rasanga (Siaya County) and by extension, others in counties so-endowed by Mother Nature can chime in and voice their opinion/s.
Kisumu County is Kenya’s gateway to Lake Victoria, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world. The lake is at once a symbol of Kenya’s natural beauty as it is a symbol of the country’s negligence and indifference towards blessings and richness very few have.
(Note: The same applies to Lake Nakuru, Nairobi Dam, Nairobi (City in the Sun/Place of Cool Waters), Mau/Karura Forest etc.)
How and why does a problem of such magnitude persist – for so long; propagating in the process?
And please save me the puerility that it is “the government’s problem” or “Cyprian Awiti’s or Cornel Rasanga’s to deal with”. If the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria becomes impassable or “dead” i.e. loses all its fish population and an eyesore i.e. does not attract tourists and visitors, it is not the “government” or “Cyprian Awiti” or “Cornel Rasanga” that is going to be affected. It is the people living in the counties proximal to the lake and dependent on the lake’s bounty for their livelihood; those shouting themselves hoarse in support or against the current national and county governments.
I read somewhere that Gov. Ranguma attended University of Illinois-Champaign (UI-C), US. The good governor thus knows that Lake Michigan is contiguous to the four states of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana, the latter ever so slightly. Hopefully, Mr. Ranguma also knows that one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Superior located northwest of University of Illinois-Champaign, is shared by US and Canada.
The point being:
Managing a region that has a large mass of water shared between regions AND nations is something he, Jack Ranguma, should be familiar with; not necessarily in details, but enough to ask relevant questions and implement an effective water hyacinth abatement program.
Further west of Illinois in California, there is an institution that is at the forefront of researching successful ways to fight the weed that is choking off life in the Kisumu side of Lake Victoria. There is also a city, also by a mass of water like Kisumu, that has implemented an effective program against the invasive plant species while providing gainful employment opportunities.
In this era of the global village, marketplace of ideas and information age, pertinent information and solutions to the hyacinth problem are but a couple of keystrokes away. In case one needs a face-to-face meeting with an SME on the problem, jet travel makes it possible to leave Kisumu at 6AM Monday have a meeting in London 12 hours later or a working dinner with a professor of Marine Biology at UCLA 24 hours later in Westwood LA.
Simply put, the water hyacinth problem facing Lake Victoria should not be as pervasive as it currently is. And this, in my opinion, is just one of the most pressing problems facing Ranguma’s county; one that is high profile and methinks would earn him major kudos were he to address it, even incrementally.
So, let me ask this:
People of Kisumu County (and Kenya), is this the leadership we were promised – in 2013?