Governor Mwangaza, MCAs on collision course over budget

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has pleaded with MCAs not to block the county budget meant to fund key development projects.

The Executive forwarded to the assembly a Sh12.8 billion budget for approval but a section of Ward Reps have expressed reservations about the key projects.

Governor Mwangaza plans to distribute up to 1,200 cows under her ‘One Dairy Cow One Family’ programme targeting poor households.

Other projects include the distribution of 5,115 dairy goats and 400, 000 cross-breed chickens and the establishment of 180 apiaries. 

Some MCAs are opposed to the projects including the Mechanical and Transport Fund (MTF) project that involves the opening, grading, and murraming of roads in the county.

The MCAs recently accused the governor of initiating some projects without their approval, including the One Dairy Cow One Needy family project and the Sh531 million MTF project, dubbed ‘Mwangaza Barabarani’.

The assembly had earlier passed a motion rejecting the MTF project.

Mwangaza’s administration defended the MTF project which is domiciled in the Ministry of Roads and Transport arguing that it was cheaper but a section of MCAs insisted that local contractors should have been awarded the contract.

Mitunguu MCA Evans Mawira said the Executive and Assembly needed to strike a cordial working relationship to serve the people.

He revealed that the MCAs plan to reduce funding for the ECDE feeding program and the One Dairy Cow One Needy Family program in the 2024-25 budget.

“In the current budget, nothing was removed. It is in the planned budget (2024-25) that some MCAs say they will remove the One Cow One Needy Family project and reduce funding for the Governor’s office and the feeding program for children,” said Mawira.

He defended the feeding programme saying it boosts nutrition and promotes school attendance and enrollment. “I am appealing to my colleagues to support it,” he said.

But Mwangaza has urged the MCAs not to sabotage her development projects during debate on the budget and proposed expenditure by the devolved unit.

“If they (reps) cut funding for the school feeding programme we will make a lot of noise. It would be acceptable to cut funding for ‘leisure’ and travel, but not for the feeding of children. Even if you want to punish the governor you should not target innocent children by denying them their rights,” she said.

The governor said even if some MCAs were not on good terms with her, they should not reject projects meant to benefit residents. 

She argued that her predecessors Peter Munya and Kiraitu Murungi had goat and chicken distribution initiatives that were approved by the assembly.

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