Governor Barasa, Khalwale clash over Sh928 million health funds

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and Senator Boni Khalwale chat during the funeral of ACK Bishop Beneah Salala. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa has accused Senator Boni Khalwale of peddling lies that he mismanaged Sh928 million meant for health projects.

Speaking in Matungu constituency during the launch of the 10km road per ward project, Barasa dismissed Senator Khalwale's allegations saying he could have forgotten his role of defending and supporting devolution. 

"Last year he (Khalwale) whipped all the Senators to block Sh22 million that was to be given to all counties denying Kakamega Sh1 billion, which would have been used to purchase drugs and upgrade our health system," he said. 

"Khalwale should know that the work of a senator is to defend and support devolution and not the lies and noise he is making out there that is baseless," he added.

The governor urged Dr Khalwale to stop misleading the public yet counties have not received a substantial portion of the allocated budget by the national government. 

"He (Khalwale) is walking around telling lies that he has brought Sh925 million for health. The true position is that the budgetary process for this year has started and as governors we are asking for Sh450 billion as equitable share for this financial year," he said. 

"We want senators to know their role. They should pass the motion we are tabling before the floor of the House and ensure enough money is given to counties. Senators should pass and table Bills that are meant to strengthen and defend devolution and not what he is doing by making meaningless noise," he added.

However, the governor urged counties to devise means of collecting more revenue amidst delays in the disbursement of funds and economic hardships. 

Barasa said as from April, all counties will start servicing medical equipment after the national government withdrew from the arrangement. 

"We need to find innovative ways so that we can increase the collection of our own source of revenue based on the current economic situation, for example, Kakamega county will have to factor into the budget between Sh300 million to Sh400 million starting April for servicing the medical equipment which the national government has stopped servicing," he said. 

Speaking in Ikolomani on Monday, Khalwale accused the governor of failing to upgrade and improve services in level 4 hospitals, despite receiving Sh928 million for health. 

The senator said the funds were meant to improve services at Shibwe, Lwesero, Mumias, Khwisero, Butere, Likuyani, Navakholo and Lumakanda hospitals. 

“I have moved around all these hospitals and have not seen anything the money the governor received has done. The said facilities have remained as they were," he said. 

"Our former Governor Oparanya spent Sh200 million to construct a modern mortuary and what the money did can be seen, we want Barasa to tell us what he has done with the money," he added. 

Khalwale said the governor should explain where the money went to when he has not even finished the mortuary which his predecessor started. 

He took issue with Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha for interfering with devolved functions after she said that Iguhu dispensary will not be upgraded to Level Four status for lacking a modern mortuary.

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