Standoff looms between governor and MCAs over funds and Sh8.8 billion Supplementary Budget

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga. [David Njaaga/Standard]

The County Assembly of Nyeri has halted debate on Supplementary Budget after its members demanded a report on the status of ward projects worth almost Sh1 billion.

Yesterday, Speaker John Kaguchia directed discussion on the budget that was tabled in the House on Tuesday be stayed pending the tabling of a report on the projects, which amount to Sh980 million.

The over Sh1 billion development fund was allocated in 2019/20 budget. Out of the Sh7.9 billion, the 30 wards were to receive Sh30 million with those in Kieni getting Sh40 million.

“I hereby order the budget committee not to engage Member of the County Assembly (MCAs) on any discussion on the matter until the House gets a comprehensive report on the same,” said the Speaker.

Kaguchia said it was only fair for the executive to be given more time as requested by the CEC for Finance and Planning Thuo Mwangi to respond to the issue.

The ruling by the Speaker came after Majority Chief Whip and Wamagana MCA Sebastian Theuri read a letter dated April 29 from the CEC addressed to the Assembly Clerk Jerald Mwiggeh requesting for time.

“We ask for an extension of your request to April 4 in order to find a clear and detailed report of the status of these projects,” the letter from Mwangi read.

However, immediately after the statement was made, Chinga Ward MCA stood on a point of order demanding to know why an earlier ruling by the Speaker had been ignored.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga is seeking supplementary budget of Sh8.8 billion, with close to Sh200 million set to go towards statutory deductions.

New dates

The Speaker had a week earlier directed the report on projects be made available by last Thursday after 10 MCAs out of the 13 opposed the tabling of the budget by the committee chair, Gibson Wahinya (Dedan Kimathi ward).

Only three MCAs, led by Majority leader James Kanyugo (Mahiga), supported tabling of the budget. However, the Speaker ruled that it be presented pending the report on April 29.

The MCAs were annoyed by the delay in presenting the report as they demanded discussion be halted because they read mischief on the part of the governor.

“The executive is just trying to buy time and taking us round in endless circles. Last week the chair made an order that reports of every roads projects being undertaken in each ward be availed. Why is the same being disobeyed,” Kiruga posed.

Kiruga claimed MCAs were opposed to the discussions because it was a game that would paint them badly before their people over failure to implement what they promised. Kanyogo, however, wanted the debate to proceed, saying the government works in many ways and there was no need to create animosity between the two arms.

“There is no need to incite members. Nobody has capacity to dictate to us. Now that the CEC has responded let us give him time,” the Majority leader explained.

The report, he said, was complex and it cuts across 10 departments and 30 wards, adding it cannot be completed in a day.

Wahinya said the House was upbeat and expecting the status report on Thursday, noting they not only want an analysis on the number of roads done, but the cost of each. Last month, MCAs had put the governor on notice for failure to implement projects in the wards to a tune of Sh30 million per ward.