Youthful leaders top ranked in Senator findings

Thursday, November 12th, 2020 00:00 |
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr leads fellow leaders in a march on the streets of Nairobi in a past filing of a petition at the Milimani Law Courts. Photo/PD/Samuel Kariuki

Emeka-Mayaka Gekara

Youthful senators were ranked among top performing lawmakers in a poll whose findings were released yesterday.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, with 66.4 per cent, was ranked the best performer, followed by Elgeyo Marakwet’s Kipchumba Murkomen, who scored 58.8 per cent.

Samburu’s Steve Lelegwe was ranked third with 57.2 per cent, followed by Boy Issa Juma (Kwale) with 55.4 per cent and Kakamega’s Cleophas Malala with 54.8 per cent.

Others on the list of the top performers are Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Kindiki Kithure (Tharaka Nithi), Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a) and Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio, who represents Pokot county.

Majority of these leaders have been instrumental and vocal in the past months on matters legislation.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, Samson Cherargei (Nandi), James Orengo (Siaya), Nairobi’s Johnson Sakaja and George Khaniri of Vihiga complete the list of the top 15 league in the survey conducted by research firm Infrotrak.

According to Infrotrak chief executive Angela Ambitho, respondents were asked a general question on how they rate their elected leaders.

The survey, conducted between November 2019 and January2020, gauged the performance of senators and ward representatives.

“The responses by constituents were based on their interactions and public engagements with the elected,” Ambitho told People Daily.

And according to the CEO, there was higher approval rating for elected leaders who come from counties that had started experiencing the fruits of devolution.

“Leaders from counties that have experienced harmony between the various elected leaders and arms of government were ranked better.

Some senators were ranked because of their visibility in national platforms as agitators for oversight in their counties,” she said in an interview.

She cited Makueni, which had experienced instability during Governor Kivutha Kibwana’s first term but has since stabilised and returned impressive results during the second term due to a harmonious working relationship between the County Assembly and the Executive.

Top performers

Counties whose governors were ranked top performers in another poll two weeks ago— including Kwale, Kakamega and Makueni —produced the high performing senators and county assemblies.

And the converse was true in the case of poor performers. Tana River Senator Gulich Wario was ranked the worst performer followed by Ali Abdillahi of Wajir, Mwangi Githiomi (Nyandarua), Michael Mbito (Trans Nzoia), Philip Mpayeei of Kajiado, Amos Wako (Busia), Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga) and Laikipia’s John Kinyua.

Other notable poor performers, according to the report, include Godana Hargula (Marsabit), Mohammed Faki of Mombasa, Ephraim Maina (Nyeri), Nyamira’s Okong’o O’Mogeni, Gideon Moi (Baringo) and Moses Kajwang’ who represents Homa Bay county.

According to the report,  a link can be demonstrated between the performance of senators and their respective governors.

For example, Governors Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), John Nyagarama (Nyamira), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), Sospeter Ojaamong’ (Busia) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) whose residents gave a harsh verdict in the last survey also had their senators also listed among the bad performers.

But there was a special cluster of performers who, Ambitho said, owe their presence on the list of the top league to visibility at the national stage and “agitation” over issues in their home counties.

“Coming from counties whose governors had challenges, such are Dullo and Lelengwe, rose from the ashes to become the agitators and champions of devolution in their counties,” said Ambitho.

Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal is facing corruption charges while his Isiolo counterpart Mohammed Kuti has been battling with ward representatives who have threatened to impeach him. 

Dullo has expressed her intention to vie for the Isiolo governorship position. There is also the unique case of counties such as Nyamira in which MCAs were rated above both their governor and senator.

Nyamira MCAs three months ago threatened to impeach Nyagarama and accused O’Mogeni of keeping quiet in the face of rampant corruption. This probably explains the senator’s poor ranking.

Makueni ward representatives and the county assembly were ranked the best followed by their counterparts in Embu and Baringo.

Other counties that put a strong performance were Kwale, West Pokot, Vihiga, Nyeri, Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet, Bungoma, Machakos, Kakamega, Machakos, Turkana, Kericho Uasin Gishu, Kisumu and Nandi.

Ambitho explained that while ranking MCAs, respondents were asked to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10, where one is extremely poor and 10 is excellent.

The report ranks MCAs from Trans Nzoia, Homa Bay and Mandera as among the worst in the same group as Isiolo, Tana River.

In the last poll, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya of Kakamega was ranked the best performing county chief followed by his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya.

They were followed by Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana, Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu) Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), John Lonyangapuo (Pokot), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet) Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) while Alfred Mutua and Paul Chepkwony tied at number nine to complete the top 10.

The counties were ranked on their performance in responsibilities assigned to counties such as agriculture, education, health, water management, transport, trade, planning, sports, energy and tourism.

The governors were also ranked on the fight against drug abuse, pornography and corruption.

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