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MCAs walk out session citing frustrations from house speaker

By Nathan Ochunge | Published Thu, February 1st 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 31st 2018 at 22:42 GMT +3
Faruk Majanja Isukha East member of county assembly were among these who disagreed with the motion about the bills that had been passed by the county assembly. [Photo by Duncan Ocholla/Standard]

A special sitting of the county assembly turned chaotic on Tuesday, when MCAs engaged in a shouting match and almost exchanged blows.

The MCAs drawn from Jubilee Party, Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya form the official Opposition in the assembly while those from Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) are friendly to Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

The special sitting was called by Assembly Speaker Morris Buluma to discuss the report on the 2017-2018 County Supplementary Budget.

The report had been prepared by the Budget and Appropriations Committee. 

Trouble began when Isukha South MCA Farooq Machanja asked committee chairman Willis Opuka to explain to the House why some vote heads like special duty allowance, entertainment allowance and mileage allowance exceeded the 10 per cent threshold.

“The vote heads have increased by 100 per cent contrary to Section 135(7) of the Public Finance Management Act of 2015, which requires that money allocated for vote heads should not exceed 10 per cent of the total budget,” said Mr Farooq of ANC.

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“Mr Speaker, you are doing an injustice by denying MCAs from the Opposition to contribute on this matter. We know you have been sent by the governor to pass the budget without our approval,” he shouted.

Raised concerns

Butali/Chekoli MCA Kevin Mahelo of Jubilee, on a point of order, raised concerns about the county government's allocation of Sh5 million donated to Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) for renovation of buildings.

“Why take Sh5 million to JKUAT, which is already established, yet Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology is in dire need of funds for expansion?” he said.

All this time, the MCAs had no permission from the speaker to raise points of order over the legality of the report but were just shouting while standing on their seats.

Outnumbered and with no chance of making changes to the supplementary budget report, the speaker overruled them and the ODM MCAs passed the report, prompting their colleagues to walk out before the session was officially adjourned.