MCAs plead with Ruto and Kindiki for new county assembly chamber

Tharaka Nithi's stalled chambers. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Tharaka Nithi MCAs have been carrying out their assembly duties under a tent for a decade since the advent of devolution.

While other county assemblies have modern buildings, furniture and other facilities, MCAs in Tharaka Nithi work in temporary iron sheet shacks, exposed to weather and other vagaries.

On Thursday, County Assembly Speaker John Mbabu appealed for funds from the national government to restart stalled construction of the debating chamber, offices and other facilities. Mbabu also asked Interior and National Government Administration Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki to assist in allocating funds for the infrastructure.

“As a county assembly we are still operating in iron sheet structure at Kathwana,” said Mbabu.

He said the ward reps need good facilities to enhance debate and deliver on their mandate to the people. The speaker said they had a budget of Sh360m for a modern building but had since scaled it down to Sh200 million as President William Ruto had demanded during a recent thanksgiving service at Kirubia in Chuka.

“When the President came for thanksgiving we had a budget of Sh360 million. He asked we reduce it to Sh200 million so that he could look for the funds to construct our assembly,” Mbabu said. He said having reduced the cost as instructed by the president, they were now appealing to CS Kindiki to help them follow up on the matter.

“Because it is the President who said it, please assist us follow the matter so that our MCAs work in a conducive environment,” he said.

Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairman Godfrey Gaturo of Karingani Ward said they need a proper sound system, media gallery and other facilities.

“The place we are at the moment is not decent compared to other county assemblies,” Gaturo said.

Prof Kindiki said the Ruto administration would fulfill the pledge to build a new assembly.

“The County Assembly will be built this year, but do not put pressure on the President as I was there when he pledged it,” Kindiki said.