Initially Kisumu County was perceived as a potential major economic hub for the East African region. Due to its geographical position together with being endowed with one of the largest fresh water bodies in Africa, Kisumu was seen to be a significant destination for investors and tourists. With devolution in place, many residents were optimistic of the opportune moments that it will bring and they continued to remain hopeful that their state of adversity will soon be addressed. Hierarchically speaking, among the cities in the country, Kisumu city has always been ranked fourth.
Four years after the enforcement of a devolved system of governance, the promise of transforming the county by the incumbent has remained to be a sham as the ‘great’ county of Kisumu stands enfeebled by its natural resources. Currently, Lake Victoria which is dependence for many as a source of livelihood has been invaded by water hyacinth which reputably is the largest invasion ever. Nearly all business activities along the shores of the lake from fishing to the usual recreation practices have stalled. Poverty levels of many locals have reached rock bottom due to the slow rate of development in the lakeside city. Kisumu is today covered by filth across the residential estates and slums.
Vis-à-vis the state of affairs, the noisy minority has reproached the county government of politicking much instead of addressing the bones of contention that affect the residents. It is indeed true that between politics and development in the county, the latter has much less been prioritized. The leadership of the county has been demagogic with a habit resurfacing and roving around in times of political related activities.
The county leadership has lost its aura of hope of transformation among the residents. Ironically, instead of addressing insecurity which is one of the menaces that many bodaboda operators suffer from, the leadership has resorted to building bodaboda shades for the motorists. This is one of the meretricious acts of coating one of the poorest scorecards in terms of county development in the country.
Instead of providing opportunities for employment among the enormous number of jobless youths, many leaders have turned into elating most of them during political activities by giving out hand outs. This was common and witnessed in many areas during the mass voter registration.
I recently joined other fellow residents in one of the many small political gatherings in the cities’ central business district and I was not shocked to hear the voices of the people sharing the same inkling that indeed the county had lost its glory due under development. The residents had become more sophisticated and were tired of party politics that favored only a few leaving the economic growth in the city stagnant. I realized that the calls of the noisy minority have indeed continued to shape the opinion of many.
Party politics will not address slow growth and development neither will it revive the dead port of Kisumu among other issues that affect the lives of the residents.
To bring back this lost glory, the residents need to stand up and say no to politics and instead champion their right to proper infrastructure, health and proper implementation of projects that can benefit them.