A section of residents of Homa-Bay county have protested over what they claimed as dwindling delivery services from the county government.
The residents decried paralyzed healthcare services after medics in public health facilities went on strike because they have not been paid April salaries.
The residents also accused the county government of failure to pay Kenya Power electricity bills for the water supply plant to enable residents get water. Residents have not been having water in the past three months.
The residents led Walter Opiyo (Speaker of Homa Bay Bunge La Wenye Nchi) and Oloo Gor (Chairman of Interface Help Community Desk) asked Governor Cyprian Awiti to come out and address the challenges.
“Residents are no longer accessing services in Homa Bay. We want Awiti to address issues of water, strike of medics and civil servants,” Opiyo said.
They said Awiti had not been seen in public for more than a month. “He was last seen in public on April 18 during the burial of former Kenyan Ambassador to Qatar Paddy Ahenda in Kabondo Kasipul.
Awiti hosted ODM leader Raila Odinga at the burial and since then, has not appeared in public. Governor Awiti is serving his second and last term in office.
“This is the time when his leadership skills are needed the most. His workers are also asking and demanding an audience with him.” Opiyo said.
Gor said the absence of the county chief has put Homa Bay in an awkward position and that his legacy was at stake. “Let the governor give direction on the current problems in Homa Bay,” He said.
They said Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata is equally away. According to the activists, absence of Awiti and Orata could cause a ripple effects on performance of junior staffers who were now demotivated.
Opiyo said projects like Kigoto Maize Mill and Arujo Animals Feed have stalled. “The projects should be completed and handed over to residents to start benefiting,” he said.
However, Chief of Staff Eliud Otieno said the absence of Awiti should not be a source of concern. He assured that the finance department was addressing salary issues.
He dismissed people who want to physically see Awiti adding that the Governor is within the county.
“It doesn’t mean that the Governor must appear in public physically to work. Sometimes you can work from home,” Otieno said.