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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 25 January 2015

KK reps told to stop thinking with stomach

                           
Civil society groups in Kakamega have lashed out at the county assembly over alleged lethargy in discharge of its functions.
They accused members of the county assembly of misusing money channeled to their wards for development and bursaries.
They said the county assembly had also abdicated its responsibility of providing oversight on the county government.
In a statement issued to the press in Kakamega town last week, officials of the groups led by Charles Okwemba raised concerns over Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s grip on the 87-member assembly.
“We are deeply concerned and saddened at the performance of our county assembly which has turned into some form of a public relations company for the county government. They never come out to criticise the performance of the county government even when it is crystal clear that they are failing in several aspects,” they said.
The groups said that unlike in other counties where the assemblies are independent and always putting the county governments on their toes, the situation was  the reverse in Kakamega.
They said the few MCAs who have come out to speak against the county government have been branded traitors and frustrated by their colleagues.
“We are challenging the speaker to come out and elucidate to the people of Kakamega what they have achieved so far as an assembly. Let them show us the people-friendly legislations and motions that they have passed and discussed. We just hear that some censure motions have been tabled in the assembly against corrupt and underperforming members of the county executive committee but we do not know where they fizzle out to,” said Okwemba.
He said MCAs were using the funds they receive for their wards without involving members of the public. The officials pointed out that in many instances, the MCAs disregarded advice from their ward residents and “spent the cash as if it is their salary”.
Each of the elected MCAs receives Sh10 million for development of their wards. In addition, they received Sh1 million for bursaries in the last financial year. This has however been increased to Sh2 million this year. They also get Sh60,000 for their office staff. However, some of the ward reps do not even have any offices or staff.
“We call for the formation of ward accountability forums through which the residents can voice their concerns and suggestions. These forums are not meant to undermine or antagonise anybody, but to ensure the MCAs work in tande with the electorate,” they said.