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Kenya New Governors start off on unequal riding

A member of the public takes a picture with the Nairobi governor’s vintage car outside City Hall after Dr Evans Kidero was sworn in on March 27, 2013

A member of the public takes a picture with the Nairobi governor’s vintage car outside City Hall after Dr Evans Kidero was sworn in on March 27, 2013

Governors are the new powerful guys in town. You could see that as they took oath of their offices on Wednesday.

They arrived surrounded by guards — those mean-looking bulky men ready to burst in case anyone tries to harm the new Governor.

Around the country, new Governors were heavily guarded, driven in and out, and during the ceremonies, the form of entertainment indicated they were new Kings in town.

While the official cars were not uniform, out of the 47, there is no queen yet, at least until after five years from now.

In Nairobi, Governor Evans Kidero was chauffeured in and out of Uhuru Park in a Rolls Royce Princess ahead of a motorcade.

The colonial classic car was last seen in the 1990s during the reign of President Moi. But it is a beautiful car with huge headlights and a slim steering wheel.

This time round, it was baptised “NCC1” meaning the number one guy in the Nairobi City County, with a flag to boot.

At the ceremony, a man, probably a supporter of Dr Kidero, tried to present a live chicken to him. Guards couldn’t take any of that.

In Machakos, Dr Alfred Mutua arrived at Kenyatta Stadium in a silvery Benz, christened “Machakos 1”. He waved from the sunroof of the car, greeting jubilant supporters. His car also has a flag.

In Eldoret, Uasin Gishu’s Jackson Mandago, was driven in in a Mitsubishi four-wheel drive. It had a flag too. But he chose to christen his as “Governor”.

A police band marched past and soon after he took oath, elders dressed him in a traditional animal skin.

At the Afraha Stadium, Nakuru’s Kinuthia Mbugua arrived in a guarded Toyota Land Cruiser. It had a flag too, but he chose to retain the ordinary number plates.

It must have been a sweet ceremony for many who made history by becoming first governors of their respective counties.

But commissioners charged with overseeing devolution were quick to place that excitement in check.

First, the imminent brush between the county governors and those officials seconded by the national government to work there was addressed.

“Whereas you will be charged with managing the counties, the national government also has certain functions in the county. Navigating this relationship will require maximum respect,” said Prof Peter Wanyande of the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution, in Nairobi.

“The governors’ term will be absence of honeymoon. Any decline in service delivery can be interpreted as failure of devolution,” he cautioned.

Transition’s Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi said the governors will be inducted into their new roles.-Nation

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