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Don't rush us on budget, Nyeri MCAs tell Uhuru and new governor

By Lydiah Nyawira | Published Wed, March 8th 2017 at 11:07, Updated March 8th 2017 at 11:14 GMT +3

Members of the Nyeri county assembly yesterday said they should not be coerced into passing the supplementary budget.

A day after President Uhuru Kenyatta passionately pleaded with them to pass the budget, Speaker David Mugo said the assembly will not be used "as conveyor belts".

Mr Mugo said the Nyeri assembly was still within the time limits set by the Public Finance Management Act to interrogate the supplementary budget.

"We shall never agree to be conveyor belts, we have a responsibility to critically interrogate the contents of the supplementary budget before passing it," he said.

Although many expected the assembly to soften its stance after the President's request, it seems the matter will be a long-drawn affair.

During the burial of Governor Nderitu Gachagua on Monday, the President and Opposition leader Raila Odinga heavily criticised MCAs for holding governors at ransom by making unrealistic demands.

Uhuru supported the sentiments of Governor Samuel Wamathai who asked the MCAs to immediately pass the supplementary budget for the sake of development.

"County governments should know that they are using public funds and should not quarrel over it. The money must not be wasted," the President said.

He castigated MCAs telling them to stop attempts to change the manifestos of governors on how projects should be implemented.

"I am saddened that money is there but cannot reach the Kenyans because of differences amongst the leaders," he said.

Raila also called on MCAs to make realistic demands to the governors. "The county assemblies should know that their role is to oversee not to arm-twist governors. Gachagua and (Kivutha) Kibwana (Makueni Governor) can be described as the true disciples of devolution for failing to be blackmailed by MCAs," said Raila.

Yesterday, Mugo said the assembly would follow the law to the letter.

"The supplementary budget they are saying we pass was only received on February 22 and it was committed to the Budget Committee the same day. The law should be allowed to take its course," said Mugo.

Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Duncan Gituanja said the House was working on the matter and would act as required.

"We are shocked to hear that matters of the budget were raised at Gachagua's funeral. As far as we are concerned there is no problem with the supplementary budget," Mr Gituanja said.

Meanwhile, former members of the Nyeri County executive are still waiting to know their fate even as Governor Samuel Wamathai attended the Devolution Conference in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

Wamathai has already made assurances that the county executives will be reinstated without vetting as per the advice of the Attorney General Githu Muigai.

However, the executives said they had not received any official communication.