Ilhan 728×90
Ilhan 728×90

A massive public relations exercise is all Wajir governor has on offer

By Ali Bashane:


Governor Abdullahi speaking to Jeff Koinange during his arranged Wajir visit. Photo/Courtesy.

Abraham Lincoln once said “what kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself”.  This week Jeff Koinange was flown all the way to Wajir by the governor and his team just for a publicity exercise.

His movements, meetings and even his landing was shown all over social media. JKL live is likely to be on air tonight in Wajir with the governor as the man of the show.  God knows how much was spent on him but all I know the man is not cheap. Formerly on CNN pay roll and now with his own talk show, Jeff cannot fly to this remote town easily and cheaply.

I guess it must be a good figure with good terms.  Unfortunately, most villages in Wajir do not know Jeff and his status. That means there is no political value in this trip. It is not the usual celebrity endorsement that will earn you marks. If anything you are losing votes.

Secondly, it’s often said you cannot reach the pinnacle of success as long as you have so much interest in money and publicity.  Wajir like any other county is thankful to devolution. Lots of money that was previously wasted in the central government is now being channeled to the county government, but there is nothing much we are better off than the other counties. Only that, ours is exaggerated and over publicized.  For example a dispensary constructed In Halane and a medical store in Makoror were trending for over a week. The cost of their construction is less than 10 million.   The just completed county headquarters is becoming a screen saver for the governor’s boys, shown everywhere and to everybody. One respectful lawyer close to the governor went further, took the time and energy to tweet about the said building.  Goodness! What is the message in this tweet? Is he praising the man? Does he really know the value of the work? Does it change anything in the life of the poor?  Lots of questions begging answers here.

The Wajir tarmac costing over 1.2 billion has been the major campaign tool for the governor. A few boreholes whose number have always been exaggerated   are some of the man’s campaign songs. Personally I don’t think there is anything to be proud off.

One big question that lingers in our minds is the amount of money in the tune of billions and the work done are not corresponding.  A budgetary allocation of over 30 billion over four year period and other miscellaneous amounts are the figures we are talking about. Showcasing for buildings and structures totaling to less than a fraction of the money is playing with our intelligence. If for example we were to give this colossal amount of money to some of the men that I know, we will have a better tarmac, more boreholes, and well equipped hospitals and above we will have a balance. In the governors case the balance is not visible and lots of money is being spent on publicity.  Surprisingly, there is a rumor in town that there so many boys and girls on the payroll just to praise and clap for him in the social media. A terrible and despicable act if it’s true.

Secondly the governor took an oath of office to change the lives of the people. .our challenges are many and our problems are enormous. We are far much behind the rest of the country. Yes we cannot catch up so easily but we need a good speed and a better approach.  In essence it’s all about good will which does not entail pondering and posturing for the media. It means doing much more and waiting for the public to judge you. .

Thirdly the governor and his boys are prone to self-praise.  A napkin for the donkeys is a big achievement while haphazard projects in the name of contracts are over publicized. recently when he met a few men and women from my village who went to see him for lunch with a false promise to re-elect him, the man got over exited and had this to say “Wajerians will regret for voting me out” it’s good to note his instinct tells him with all the publicity and the money at his disposal, God willing he will not be using that immaculate building after all. It is also important to say loud and clearly there are other bright men out there who can do a better job than him. An 8 billion annual budget is a good amount that can do so much if well utilized. Mr. Governor, we don’t need to waste a penny on publicity. We have not reached there and we have a long way to go.

In short what I am saying is this, only when we get a superb health services, classic roads, pure drinking water and better living standard for our people then you can proceed to clap your hands and airlift all the prominent news anchors in the world. In fact I will be more than happy if you bring in my favorite Fiona Bruce all the way from London.

Until then, just like the skunk your publicity will only kill you and deny you votes over to you Ahmed and boys.

Bashane is a Nepjournal Columnist. He comments on political issues and can be reached on his email

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