Inside Politics

Row brews over hiring of new LREB chief executive

Thursday, October 14th, 2021 00:00 |
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. Photo/PD/TABITHA MBATIA

Kepher Otieno

A row is brewing at the cash-strapped Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) over alleged appointment of a new CEO by Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o.

Inquiries by Business Hub established that Nyong’o has revoked appointment of Abala Wanga as the substantive CEO and replaced him with Victor Nyagaya.

But the bloc’s chairman and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is reportedly unhappy with the change, saying Nyong’o single-handely made the decision. He said other members were not consulted.

“This is an entity that comprises 14 member counties. To make such changes there is a need to consult us all. Bloc leaders will have to meet first before ratifying such changes,” Oparanya said.

It brings together 14 counties of Kakamega, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga.

Oparanya’s concerns emanated from some of the bloc members who were seemingly uncomfortable with the leadership changes made without consulting all members for a mutual agreement.

Yesterday, he clarified that they had reached out to Nyong’o and registered their complaints and a meeting has been scheduled to discuss the same before changes are effected, soon. 

The meeting ought to have taken place last week, but Nyong’o was  away in Kigali, Rwanda attending an international Annual General meeting for East African local government association.

Nyagaya until his alleged appointment to the LREB helm was the investment secretary and donor liaison officer in Kisumu Governor’s satellite office, in Nairobi.

But sources confided to Business Hub that Nyong’o made the change to relieve Wanga of too many responsibilities after he was named the Acting Kisumu City Manager pending hiring of a new city boss.

Africities Summit

“With Wanga acting at the City Hall, it was evidently becoming arduous or tiring for him to multitask given that there is a lot of work at the city to be done ahead of 2021 Africities summit,” the source added.

Kisumu is set to host Africities Summit in April next year and so the city management is central in managing and coordinating activities leading to the event in conjunction with the secretariat.

Outgoing Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, while speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sh1.4 billion conference centre to host the event, said construction work is expected to be concluded by January next year in readiness for the official handover of the project in February.

“Kenya is proud to host the event between April 26 and 30, 2022. This is the first time the event will be hosted outside the capital city of the hosting country,” he said.

The controversy comes at a time when Lake Victoria counties are positioning to tap and unblock the blue economy concept, with LREB, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) at the apex of multi-agency co-ordination.

During the 2018 LREB conference, the line regional water bodies, including KMA, County governments where the Lake traverses, Lake Basin and water Authorities agreed to form a blue economy strategy.

The bloc was born in 2014 out of the understanding that strategic connections between counties with shared interests seated in a desire for mutual benefit can be a plausible and an effective means of creating remarkable development impact across the member counties.

Aquaculture Investment Concept, especially, focuses on the five counties sharing Lake Victoria shoreline as a common resource, with a bigger vision to eventually scale up the interventions to the whole bloc.

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