Kisumu MCAs defend benchmarking trip to Arusha

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Members of Kisumu County Assembly have defended their trip to Tanzania, saying it was approved by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

All the 49 MCAs travelled last Tuesday to Tanzania for a 10-day benchmarking tour in Mwanza and Arusha.

The assembly management staff, led by Clerk Owen Ojuok and Speaker Elisha Oraro, were also part of the trip.

The trip, however, received backlash from the public and other critics, with some saying the MCAs could have reconsidered travelling due to the coronavirus pandemic and poor state of the economy.

But yesterday, some of the MCAs said the criticism was baseless as they had been on an official duty sanctioned by the county government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kisumu County MCAs during a past session. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Market Milimani MCA Seth Ochieng said they travelled to Tanzania to benchmark on lake transport ahead of the launch of operations at Kisumu Port.

According to Mr Ochieng, the county executive made a similar trip and presented a report to the county assembly, and MCAs were on a fact-finding mission in order to be informed enough for their oversight role.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to open the port any time soon and as representatives of the people and the oversight arm of the government, this was a comprehensive tour on how to enhance economic development in Kisumu through water transport,” said Ochieng.

He said there was nothing wrong with the timing of the trip, saying Kenyans must learn to live with the coronavirus.

His Awasi/Onjiko counterpart Mourice Ngeta said the president, national government ministers, and MPs have been making trips locally and abroad yet they do not receive unfair criticism.

“When we travel, we see a lot of criticism, but I want to say we as the assembly cannot create impact in the lives of our people by confining ourselves in Kisumu,” he said.