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MCAs pocket Sh168m in imprest but skip devolution conference

By Geoffrey Mosoku and Roselyne Obala | Published Sun, March 12th 2017 at 13:00, Updated March 13th 2017 at 13:04 GMT +3
County Assemblies Forum Secretary General Albert Kochei (left) and John Osoi during devolution conference at KWS Training Institute in Naivasha. (Photo: Anthony Gitonga/Standard)

Hundreds of Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) pocketed huge allowances to attend the just-ended Devolution Conference in Naivasha but left after being paid, skipping the conference altogether.

Each of the 47 counties had paid to have their ward representatives attend the conference but most MCAs picked the allowance then left the venue, saying they felt out of place.

Bomet Speaker Geoffrey Kipng’etich Korir and the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) secretary general Albert Kochei said many MCAs were forced to leave because they were denied access to the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute, venue of the conference.

Some MCAs said they skipped the conference because governors had failed to pay the registration fee of Sh20,000 to allow them to access the venue. Some counties also failed to pay the Sh2 million subscription. The MCAs further claimed that they were excluded from plenary.

“Counties that failed to pay the mandatory Sh2 million for the conference saw their members turned away,” said Korrir, who added that MCAs would hold their own conference soon.

“We have jointly organised a legislative summit to take place in two weeks’ time in Mombasa and we have invited governors,” he said.

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According to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), the per diem for MCAs attending any function in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu or Naivasha is capped at Sh14,000 a day. There are a total of 2,400 elected or nominated MCAs. This means that even by conservative estimates, counties may have forked out a whooping Sh168 million if each ward representative attended the conference.  The counties processed the allowances for MCAs to attend the conference for five or seven days. This means that MCAs received a minimum of Sh70,000 each for the trip and a maximum of Sh98,000.

Yesterday, Baringo MCA Joseph Maclap confirmed that MCAs had been paid to attend the conference and a roll call was taken.

“We were all in Naivasha and attended the event. Our challenge was accommodation and we had to go to Nakuru town. We are a devolution family and it’s our duty to attend such events,” said Mr Maclap.

However, some MCAs from Nairobi County travelled to Naivasha only to pick the money then disappeared, said one ward representative.

“We are used to this habit where our colleagues either travel to the venue to receive money then disappear, or are paid at the county and fail to travel,” he said.

One of those who skipped the conference said it was poorly coordinated.

 “We were only ‘flower girls’ for governors. The meeting downplayed the role of the assemblies,” he said, and noted that an MCA forum in Mombasa in a fortnight will discuss pressing issues that concern them.