Opinion Politics

Lenku’s shame: A show of opulence in a sea of poverty

It is understandable that speculation is rife that there may have been massive looting of the county to fund the incumbent’s campaign

BY ENG PETER MOSITET

It’s the season of choppers. Cash and more cash. Fuel-guzzlers crisscrossing the countryside. Men with protruding bellies dishing out goodies with abandon. Loudspeakers blaring out the praises of Lenku. Yes, the governor has found it fit to leave his high office and traverse the entire county. Here in the morning, there in the afternoon. Everywhere the Big Man goes, the sweet scent of freshly-minted cash fills the air.

Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku has mounted an astonishing campaign for re-election. That is not surprising given his slim chances at re-election and the serious challenge he faces from two rivals. One of them, former governor Dr David Nkedianye, has not lost any opportunity for a potential showdown with the embattled Lenku; he went to the extent of decamping from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) for a nomination contest with the governor in Jubilee. Lenku, however, quickly quit Jubilee and sought refuge in ODM than face his predecessor in a head-on confrontation.

The other serious opponent, outgoing Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito, is hoping to clinch the seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket.

Bottomless pockets?

Naturally, all candidates have put their best foot forward in this epic contest, the like of which has hitherto never been seen in Kajiado County. The candidates have all expended enormous resources, undertaken fundraising efforts, and crafted various alliances to shore up their chances at the ballot.

But it is the apparent abuse of public resources that concerns me. The incumbent appears to have taken advantage of his position to go an all-out campaigning spree using enormous resources, whose source many people are rightfully questioning. Lenku is not known to own bottomless pockets from his personal resources, nor could his fundraising efforts have raised the kind of money that is being splashed on his campaign.

Accountability for the use of public resources is not thrown out the window during campaign seasons. It behoves every candidate to maintain transparency and utmost integrity in their campaigns, as issues of campaign funding could provide strong indications of the sort of leadership to expect should one be elected into office.

It has not been uncommon, in these last days of the campaign season, for Lenku to fly in a series of choppers to as many as seven campaign rallies. That is not all. The sort of extravagance and liberal dishing of cash at these rallies leaves a lot to be desired. It is therefore understandable that speculation is rife that there may have been massive looting of the county to fund the incumbent’s campaign, and there are convincing reasons to believe the speculation.

Kajiado has lately witnessed an influx of prominent political brokers invited to endorse the outgoing governor in public rallies, and are in return rewarded in millions of taxpayer money.

The aftermath of which, has seen an exponential rise in mortality rate in our public hospitals; either due to lack of medicines, or intermittent strikes of nurses and casual workers over constant salary delays.

The message needs to go out loud and clear that abuse of office and misuse of public resources will not be tolerated.

It is particularly sad that the incumbent has done little by way of development projects during the past five years of his tenure. Even more painfully, he abandoned major projects beneficial to the people that had been initiated by the previous governor. These incomplete projects include the construction of a public library in Kajiado and a stadium in Ngong, both of which Dr Nkedianye has promised to complete if elected.

Contractors non-payment, poor healthcare services, staff pay delays, acute water shortage, and non provision of other essential services are just a few of the hallmarks of Lenku’s poor governance.

It is no wonder that Lenku now finds himself in an unenviable situation, with his chances of re-election diminishing by the day.

County resources belong to the people of Kajiado. After sitting on his laurels and doing nothing to alleviate the poverty situation of the people, a massive and misplaced campaign cannot change the tide for Lenku. The die is cast and further wastage of public resources will only attract the wrath of voters and conscientious leaders.

The writer is a Jubilee Party deputy leader (outreach and programmes) and the immediate former Senator

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