County reps' laptops, lounge plan opposed

Nakuru county Assembly Members standing during a session at the Assembly on March 27,2018. [Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard].

Ward representatives in the county are on the spot because of their push for higher allocations for their offices.

Should the recommendations in a report by an ad hoc committee that was passed on Wednesday be adopted, all the 78 MCAs will have laptops or tablets, depending on one’s choice.

Civil rights activists accused the MCAs of spending money lavishly at the expense of taxpayers.

“We did not elect MCAs to engage in extravagance... What they are doing is selfish and they should know that five years is a very short time,” said Wycliff Oguda, a member of a local non-governmental organisation.

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Masese Kemunche, a programme officer at the Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance, said MCAs should be stopped from laying their hands on county funds.

Mr Kemunche said he would write to the speaker of the county assembly, Joel Kairo, to caution him against implementing the resolutions of the committee.

The taxpayers will pay Sh7.8 million for the tablets should the county assembly decide to buy each of the MCAs an Apple tablet at a cost of Sh100,000 apiece.

Very important

And if the assembly management decides to go for Apple MacBook laptops that retail at Sh150,000 each, then taxpayers will cough up Sh11.7 million to meet the cost of gadgets that MCAs argue are 'very important' for their work.

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The MCAs unanimously adopted the proposals contained in the joint ad hoc committee's report that sought to allocate more money for their offices and a multi-million shilling lounge.

One-sided debate

According to the report tabled by the deputy speaker, Samuel Tonui, and passed after a one-sided debate that lasted 45 minutes, each ward representative will be allocated at least Sh20,000 for a personal assistant, Sh18,500 for a driver, Sh17,000 for a secretary and Sh18,000 imprest for running ward offices.

The county has 55 elected ward representatives, which means every month they will require Sh1.1 million to pay personal assistants, Sh1 million for drivers, Sh935,000 for secretaries and Sh990,000 for running their offices.

The MCAs further want to have a fully equipped members’ lounge at the assembly precincts.

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They also resolved to have their allowances and per diems paid through their respective bank accounts and that every three months they attend a training of all members, apart from predetermined whole house activities such as the Devolution Conference, the County Assembly Forum and the County Assembly Sports Association.

 Mr Kairo, who presided over the afternoon sitting, sent the recommendations to the committee on implementation for ratification.

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