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MCAs demand Sh1.5m pocket money to pass 2018/19 budget

By Ignatius Odanga | Published Fri, June 15th 2018 at 00:00, Updated June 14th 2018 at 23:48 GMT +3
Busia Speaker Bernard Wamalwa takes oath of office following his re-election. [Ignatius Odanga/Standard]

Members of the County Assembly are on the spot for demanding Sh1.5 million each from the county executive before they pass the 2018-2019 budget.

If the demands of the 53 MCAs are to be met, it would mean Sh81 million in taxpayers' money will be used to get the budget adopted.

This week, the MCAs have given House sessions a wide berth in protest against not receiving allowances for attending the Devolution Conference held in Kakamega County last month.

No session

There was no session on Tuesday due to lack of quorum. On Wednesday, the morning and afternoon sessions did not take place even though rhe majority of MCAs were in the assembly premises.

Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman John Obwogo confirmed that the MCAs were demanding Sh1.5 million each plus the conference allowance before they could get back to work.

He said they were holding the executive at ransom for money that would be difficult to account for. It is not clear how much each MCA was supposed to be paid as allowance for attending the conference. 

If the MCAs make good their threat and fail to pass the budget for the next financial year, it means everything in the county will grind to a halt for one year as the National Treasury will not remit any cash.

“Members want Sh1.5 million each as pocket money before they pass the budget when our people do not have clean water and our roads require upgrading. I will not append my signature to irregular payments,” said Mr Obwogo. “How will the money be accounted for?”

He said the MCAs' threats and intimidation would not succeed, and called on Speaker Benard Wamalwa to dissolve the county assembly and call for fresh elections if the ward reps skipped eight consecutive sessions.

He said the executive was supposed to pay members their allowances but this was not budgeted for.

“Allowances for attending the devolution conference were supposed to be sorted out by the executive, and this was not factored in the budget,” said Obwogo.

The Nangina Ward MCA added that members should know they had an obligation to serve the electorate.

Refuted claims

Mr Wamalwa however refuted claims that MCAs were asking for money before passing the budget.

“We are waiting for the budget to be brought to the assembly for adoption,” he said, adding that MCAs were not protected by law regarding go-slows in the assembly.

“The MCAs are currently in groups discussing how they will tackle the budget once it is tabled on the floor of the House,” said the Speaker.

However, a ward rep who sought anonymity confirmed that they were protesting non-payment of their allowances after attending the Devolution Conference. He refused to comment on the Sh1.5 million demand.

Governor Sospeter Ojaamong met with MCAs at a hotel in town after flagging off medical equipment at the Busia County Referral Hospital yesterday.

The meeting was to discuss the significance of the budget and was still going on by the time of going to press.

The deadline for adoption of the budget is June 30.


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