On Tuesday morning, officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) reportedly raided the homes of besieged Migori Governor Okoth Obado.
The anti-graft detectives were said to be looking for evidence of allegations that the county boss, who is out on bond following murder charges involving the killing of young female university student and her unborn baby, made it possible for billions of shillings to disappear from the coffers of Migori County.
The graft accusations against the man who spent close to a month in the remand cells at Nairobi’s Industrial Area Prison as his legal team worked day and night to secure his freedom are elephantine. The second term governor is said to have conspired with myriad briefcase companies to procure and pay for goods and services that were never rendered or delivered.
Looking around for evidence of what the billions of shillings appearing in the books of accounts for the county for the period the governor has been in office, auditors say they can only see counted items that include fat bank accounts for some members of the family abroad and palatial homes under his name.
Meanwhile, Migori residents are struggling to get medical care, a devolved function that the county should ideally have put in place in the second year of devolution, some four years ago. An average resident of Migori has no idea what clean drinking water looks like.
You want to say poor Migori residents, but it is a national crisis!
Mr Obado is just the unluckiest of the 47 demigods strutting the landscape of the country since the 2013 elections and under whose watch billions of shillings has disappeared without much to write home about.
In Busia County, where the governor is also facing charges of corruption over a ‘paltry’ Sh8 million, no metre of tarmac has been constructed in the last one decade.
Some 20 youngsters are paralysed and their legs are rotting away following a medical procedure gone wrong, clean drinking water is still an idea for the majority of residents, health centres are just the old buildings with minimal equipment and one will be lucky to find a working ambulance.
His excellence Sospeter Ojaamong seems unmoved even when neighbouring Kakamega County shows signs of having been there for ten years more, with paved roads and streets glittering.
In Siaya, it is another story of an abandoned county, an embarrassment to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga whose rural Bondo home is in the county. We are told the governor, Mr Cornel Rasanga hibernates in neighbouring Busia and commutes to work when there is need.
In Kiambu, other than advising real estate investors on riparian land to move the rivers and paying drunkards millions to stay high, the indomitable Baba Yao is yet to put in place any meaningful development plan for the county.
Nairobi’s Mike Sonko is not any better with the billions at his disposal. The capital city’s governor seems to think it is heroic for him to expose dead foetuses in a hospital under his jurisdiction. The hospital, the country’s busiest maternity facility, does not have a cold room, has no sufficient beds and neither does it have a morgue and the man who should allocate it resources thinks storming in on a motorbike and firing nurses should be celebrated!
In Mombasa, the celebrity governor, Hassan Ali Joho, looks like he has just woken up and is seeking to fix the health sector! In Murang’a, the governor is looking for Nairobi residents to pay him for using Ndakaini dam waters for him to start saving his own subjects from biting poverty.
Meanwhile, Garissa is running three county offices in high-end areas of Nairobi, some hundreds of miles away from where the target audience is, paying top dollar in rent and other overheads. Back home schools are closing for lack of teachers, classrooms and food.
Where are the governors taking the country’s money?
According to statistics from the Office of the Auditor General and Commission of Revenue Allocation, some Sh1,039,798,882,835 was allocated and disseminated to the 47 counties between 2013 and 2017. On average, each governor handled Sh22,123,380,485 in the five years of the first term of devolution. One cannot hide what this money can do. If we can’t see it, and indeed we can’t, it means it was stolen and hidden away.
And that is why the anger of the country needs to be awakened and redirected. 47 people have taken and hidden our trillion shillings with no shame. We need to demand for some repayment.
Mr Cherambos comments on topical issues. Email: [email protected]