We will hold governors to account on funds use, say senators

Council of Governors Chairperson Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (3rd left) flanked by other Governors when they appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on February 22, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A section of the Senate leadership believes that the battles between senators and governors is caused by county chiefs refusing to work with their senators

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot said senators are constitutionally mandated to oversight county governments, terming what is seen as supremacy contests between senators and governors as robust engagements to ensure there is prudent and effective management of public resources.

“Every single coin extended by the Exchequer to the devolved units must be accounted for. It will no longer be business as usual for governors to brazenly abuse power and privileges to enrich themselves as their county residents wallow in poverty,” said Cheruiyot.

The Kericho senator said in every financial year, senators go out of their way to ensure more resources are voted for to counties. There is however little to show in most counties and the Council of Governors cannot justify more funds being allocated.

He said an amendment on Public Finance Management Act is imminent to curb unnecessary alterations and amendments that give governors, National Assembly and the National Treasury a window to spend or borrow beyond their budgeted estimates.

Senate County Public Accounts Committee Chairman Moses Kajwang said when governors push for shareable revenue to counties increased to Sh450 billion, they should know that only senators can help and must convince the Senate why it should be so.

“In most counties, you will find governors sidelining senators in affairs of the counties yet these same senators are expected to champion the interests of counties,” said Kajwang.

According to the Homa Bay Senator, the House mandated to protect devolution needs to be respected and allowed to perform its role in ensuring devolution thrives.

"Senators are supposed to ensure that funds allocated to counties are well spent. When they ask questions about how governors are managing counties, that should not be interpreted that they are fighting the governors," said Kajwang.

Senate Minority  Whip Ledama ole Kina said it is the role of senators to ensure that governors make good use of the funds advanced to their respective counties from the Exchequer.

“You have seen governors seeking to have counties get more money than what they are getting. Why should counties get more money if they are not spending well what they are getting currently? That is why senators are out to ensure prudent expenditure,” said Kina.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said there is no requirement for friendship between senators and governors.

He aids what is termed as ‘harmonious relationship’ between senators and governors does not apply since each of the constitutional office has its roles clearly defined by the laws.

“Why is it interpreted as a supremacy battle when I say governor Johnson Sakaja should buy the x-ray door at Mutuini Hospital instead of splashing Sh20 million on billboards. I am only doing what is required of me as the Nairobi senator,” said Sifuna.