Senators weep over delayed, squandered county funds


Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Our wahesh at the Upper House are chasing rock-bottom. With less than a year before senators are out of a job, acceptance seems further from their reach.

Here is some context: Senate debated a disbursement schedule that dictates how counties will share their cash. We all know what happens when they discuss money issues – whine about how governors have privatised public funds.

The other thing they lament about is that Bwana Ukur Yatani and the men and women at Treasury don’t take the work that senators do seriously, ignoring them at every chance.

Being a House of traditions, the senators were bound to keep alive their defeatist culture, in turn displaying their mastery in grieving.

Nandi’s Samson Cherargei was the denier. In his 19-minute speech, he omitted the fact that Yatani would ignore whatever they were doing that Wednesday by failing to disburse county cash in its entirety to the counties. Instead, he insisted that counties had got their money and that governors had squandered it. As expected, his Governor Stephen Sang got the most flak. As a parting shot, he urged future governors – current senators – not to be as wasteful.

Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga was the angry one. Representing no particular county directly, one would have imagined that she would have been content to be the silent observer. She had planned to do so until she heard Migori’s Ochilo Ayacko claim that he is not part of the government, the same one accused of starving counties.

“He is in the government. They (the opposition) have taken committee chairs,” she protested before Ayacko clarified that all wahesh were part of the government.

But Omanga was not the only angry person. Presidential aspirant Moses Wetang’ula, too, was fuming. His problem was that a watchdog committee chaired by Ayacko was nurturing an appetite for bribes from governors they are supposed to check.

“When you hear gossip from governors that when they come to CPAIC, they come carrying briefcases… then we also compromise our responsibility as a House that must carry out oversight,” said Weta.

The Bungoma senator eased into the bargaining stage. He acknowledged Treasury’s bad habit of hoarding county money, but harboured expectations that Yatani & Co would change, despite history screaming that the opposite would happen.

Ayacko, the never smiling man who speaks with a monotone, played the depressed senator who can’t remember how things got as bad as they are.

“We are going to pass this cash disbursement schedule as it has been passed in the past. It will be ignored as it has been ignored in the past, and that is unfortunate,” he lamented.

No senator seemingly wanted to accept the sad reality in which they find themselves. Acceptance would imply that they quit, having failed at their job of making their voices, and those of their voters, count by holding Treasury to account.   

Share this story
U.S. urges immediate talks over Ethiopia conflict as reported abuse grows
Rebellious forces from the Tigray region killed 120 civilians over two days in a village in Ethiopia's Amhara region
Diabetes: Insulin now an essential drug
Listing NCDs is a relief to Kenyans like 65-year-old Kahuho Mathai from Nyeri County, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.