Plans to construct a new debate chamber that has been allocated Sh50 million in the current budget, has sharply split members of the Kericho County Assembly (MCAs) in the middle.
While some supported the allocation on grounds that the new building would improve their working environment and provide them with comfort required for debates, another groups view the allocation as wastage of resources.
The cost of the new chamber and the office block will cost tax payers a whopping Sh450 million. Already the Sh50 million has been factored in the 2018/2019 budget. But the old chamber has already consumed a total of Sh40 million in renovations.
Opponents of the project led by Abdul Rashid Kassim, the assembly Deputy Leader of the Majority, pointed out that already the assembly had spent millions of shillings for the renovation of the old chamber.
Kassim revealed that the first assembly spent over Sh20 million on renovations in 2013 and a further Sh10 million to spruce it up.
“If already there were plans to construct a new assembly what was the need of spending millions of shillings in the renovation of the current assembly. Some of the works were done during the second quarter of the financial year,” he said.
Kapsoit ward MCA Paul Chirchir, Cheruiyot Bett (Ainamoi) also argued that the project is not a priority.
“I won’t support the construction of the new county assembly yet we have not delivered on the pledges we made to the electorate during the campaign time. It did not include the construction of a new county assembly,” said Chirchir.
Bett, said though he had vigorously opposed Governor Paul Chepkwony’s Kerenga airstrip project which was ultimately cancelled over procurement irregularities, he would rather campaign for the money intended for construction of the new assembly chambers channeled to the construction of an airport.
“Though I am a proponent of the basics first, I would rather support the airport project than the Sh500M which is intended for the construction of the new county assembly chambers and office blocks,” said the Ainamoi rep.
The proponents of the project led by Kapkugerwet MCA, Collins Biegon and Humphrey Kirui (Kapsuser), the old buildings inherited from the defunct County Council of Kipsigis in 2013 lack enough space.
The building only has two boardrooms against over 28 committees which require to transact business therein and that the Assembly’s public and press gallery space is inadequate.
“The purpose of the assembly is to improve service delivery for the people. That cannot be done effectively when MCAs are forced to sit under a tree,” said Biegon.
Dominic Rono, the Speaker of the County Assembly in a social media post stated that the assertion that allocation towards the construction of the chambers will reduce the county’s development budget was incorrect.
“That is erroneous as Shs 3.8 billion allocated for development in the current financial year ending June 2019 and this amount is yet to be spent by the departments,” he said.
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