Governor Ntutu clashes with Ole Kina over use of county funds

Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina and Governor Patrick Ntututu. [File, Standard]

Narok Governor Patrick Ntutu and Senator Ledama ole Kina have differed over use of funds and management of county affairs.

The outspoken senator has vowed to fight Ntutu’s administration in court, in the Senate and on the ground.

Kina cites the county’s Sh3 billion expenditure on development projects at the ward level with nothing to show for it.

For a month now, he has been demanding that the governor accounts for public funds.

The senator claims that the projects, implemented under the 2022-2023 County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) were a sham and most of them have stalled.

Three months ago, the politician kicked off what he termed a senatorial oversight development tour of 30 civic wards that revealed 365 projects launched last year have stalled.

“Early January, I kicked off my oversight tour of the projects claimed to have been initiated by the county government in all the wards, but when I arrived in Loita all the projects had stalled. They are incomplete despite receiving Sh100 million,” said Kina adding that he will be demanding answers.

The senator said his tour revealed alleged poor workmanship and most of the projects were behind schedule because contractors were frustrated over payment.

Kina cited Loita ward where he toured five health centers that were allocated Sh40 million but have stalled.

“The governor announced that the health centers in Nkopon, Iltumaro, Olorte, Olmesutie and Ilkerin were completed but when I visited the sites, they were incomplete,” he claimed.

His tour took him to Emorogi, Iltukulenja, Iltumaro, Ilkerin, Oldarpoi and Mokomi where boreholes were sunk at the cost of Sh28 million but lack piping works to homes.

“We still have women and children trekking 10 kilometers in search of water while the project specification clearly shows that the projects have piping works to homes,” he claimed.

Kina further pointed out that eight classrooms that were constructed at Naapolosa, Osukunua, Entashata, Mausa, Oldoinyo, Enairebuk and Loita secondary schools lack desks.

He noted that the contractor was paid Sh15 million as 30 per cent of the payment and abandoned the site.

Another contentious project that the senator toured was a public latrine at Ewuaso Ngiro market in Narok North that collapsed after completion.

He claimed that the facility collapsed due to poor workmanship despite the contractor having been paid Sh2 million.

A classroom in Narok West constituency that cost the county government Sh1.4 million had its roof blown away by the winds.

Kina claimed that most of the projects were commissioned by the governor last year and were to be completed in four months.

The senator took issue with Ntutu over the increase in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve entry fee warning that it would kill the tourism industry.

He alleged that the high fee will lead to a drop in international bookings and already 60 per cent of pre-sale tickets for the high season that kicks off in June have been cancelled by international agents.

Kina questioned the county expenditure of Sh451 million used to hire a helicopter for the governor, Sh75 million paid to a lawyer and another Sh3.5 million paid for hotel accommodation and drinks for the governor’s visitors.

However, Ntutu has dismissed the Senator’s claims terming them baseless.

He said the senator has been absent from the county and he only appears on television programs to make wild claims that he cannot substantiate.

The governor defended the decision to increase park entry fees for Maasai Mara Game Reserve, saying it was meant to improve service delivery for stakeholders.

“From the time I was born, the entry fee to Maasai Mara was 80 dollars, with the rise in the standards of living, increase in prices of goods and services and upgrading of the reserve to a premier destination, we found it fit to increase the entry fees for the Narok residents to get value of setting up land for conservation,” said Ntutu.  

In December last year, the county doubled park fees for the Mara from Sh1,571 to Sh3,142 ($100 to $200) and the charges took effect on January 1.

On the collapsed toilet at Ewuaso Ngiro market, Ntutu blamed the rains that caused excessively loose soils which compromised the structural integrity of the facility.

“Contrary to suggestions implicating the structural integrity of the infrastructure, it is essential to clarify that the current issues are primarily a result of unprecedented heavy rainfall," said the governor.

“Rather than inherent flaws in the design or construction of these structures. The wet weather conditions have placed an unprecedented burden on our infrastructure, exceeding the anticipated capacity and resilience levels,” said Ntutu.

The duo has been at loggerheads from the time they took over their respective offices, with the senator accusing the governor of pocketing Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).

Kina has fallen out with a section of the MCAs, accusing them of going to bed with the executive and forgetting their oversight role.

The County Assembly Leader of Majority Sonkoi Lemein defended MCAs saying the senator was opposed to the governor's projects.

“He has not taken time to understand what the county government is doing for the people. He has been quick to criticise everything done by the executive,” Lemein said.

The war of words between the governor and the senator has generated a heated debate among the residents.

The youths have jumped to the defense of the governor, saying he has implemented many projects in a short period as opposed to the previous regime.