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VAS

Kwale MCAs among those who boycotted retreat hosted in their county

COUNTY_COAST
By TOBIAS CHANJI | April 9th 2014
Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto during the closing ceremony of the retreat. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

BY TOBIAS CHANJI

KWALE COUNTY: It has now emerged that most Kwale County Assembly Members (MCAs) boycotted the just concluded devolution conference at Leisure Lodge in Diani Resort due to poor planning and supremacy wars between speakers and governors.

Although several MCAs from other counties also gave the meeting a wide berth, the absence of MCAs from the host county was significant. But Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya downplayed the issue, saying he was not aware of any boycott because there were so many people attending the four-day conference.

There are 30 elected and nominated MCAs in Kwale and less than five attended the conference

Omar Mwakwambirizwa, the Tiwi ward representative, also a member of the Speakers’ Panel at the Kwale County Assembly told The Standard that communication leading to invitation for the conference was haphazard and disorganised.

“From the planning, we knew there were efforts to incite MCAs against the speakers. How can you explain when an invitation letter is addressed to the deputy speaker who is a politician and not the speaker,” posed Mr Mwakwambirizwa.

BOOKINGS

The member also raised questions about how booking was done alleging the Council of Governors kept speakers of county assemblies in the dark in favour of deputy speakers. He alleged that speakers were booked in the same hotels with majority and minority leaders.

He claimed that most of the speakers who turned up for the conference were those who owe their posts to governors but those who were democratically elected did not attend, adding that Mr Mvurya should have done more to ensure his MCAs attended.

When The Standard sought a reply from Mvurya, he said he was not aware of the boycott, as there were so many guests. “The best thing to do is to ask them. I cannot be aware as there were so many people,” said Mvurya on phone yesterday.

Kwale County Speaker Sammy Ruwa said the (assembly) got the invitation but was ‘too busy’ with the House business.

LOGISTICAL PROBLEMS

In a phone interview, Mr Ruwa argued the conference came at an inconvenient time but added that local MCAs would gain nothing by boycotting.

Mwavumbo Mwatate Ward Representative Anthony Lukuni said one needed a lot of money to attend the conference, adding that there were pressing issues to attend to, which affect the local mwananchi, instead of going to the conference.

The MCA said the conference was just a duplicate of another workshop that they (MCAs) attended recently in Mombasa with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We feel governors want to use us especially on the impeachment issues that have been happening,” Mr Lukuni said during a meeting of youths and women at Hill Park Beach hotel.

BETTER PAY

Lukuni claimed that governors wanted to use MCAs in their affairs yet they did not support MCAs’ demand for better pay.

“By boycotting the conference while we are the host county also speaks volumes. But we could do less because our decision was for the assembly,” he added.

Lukuni said governors have to fight their own wars and stop looking for support from other avenues since they did not help MCAs to get a salary increment.

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