Hunger and high wage bill await Mutula Kilonzo

Makueni Gover-elect Mutula Kilonzo Junior during Wiper Party aspirants NEC meeting at Bomas of Kenya on April 6th, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

As Mutula Kilonzo Junior takes over as Makueni governor, one of the issues he will have to confront is food shortage and high wage bill.

The wage bill stood at 46 per cent of total budget allocation by May, according to former county assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee chairman Dennis Musyoka.

On May 25, MCAs approved Sh9,832,783,562 budget estimates for this financial year.

This was a one per cent increase from last year's budget.

The allocation for salaries is likely to go up after Governor Kivutha Kibwana's administration confirmed into permanent hundreds of workers who were serving in contracts ahead of August 9 polls.

Constitutional threshold

"The wage bill is likely to go past 50 per cent mark, which is against the 30 per cent constitutional threshold, because there are a number of employees confirmed into permanent and pensionable recently, and the new governor will also come with a new team," said the former Kako/Waia Ward Rep.

The new administration also takes over amid prolonged drought, which has seen crop failure in various sub-counties.

According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), the situation is dire in Kibwezi East, Kibwezi West and Makueni sub-counties, and some parts of Kaiti and lower Mbooni.

The governor-elect has already promised to put the matter top on his agenda once he takes office.

"Our priority is to rescue our people from this impending hunger and that is why we will have our assembly pass a supplementary budget so that we can buy food for the affected families," he said.

The situation has seen some NGOs like Action-Aid Kenya come to the rescue of learners through school feeding programmes.

"Masongaleni, Mtito Andei, Makindu, Kikumbulyu North and South, Kitise and Kalawa have been badly stricken," said Daniel Mbuvi, Makueni NDMA chairman. Unlike before where Governor Kibwana of Muungano Party was struggling to have a majority of MCAs on his side, Wiper Party has taken most of the seats.

"We got 14 MCAs under Wiper Party, which means we will be the majority, while Muungano got eight. The rest went to other parties," said Francis Mutuku, former Majority Leader who has bounced back to represent Kilili/Kalamba Ward.

The county has 30 wards.

The Standard
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