For the last three years, nominated female Members of Kisii County Assembly have been fighting for their space, in vain.
From missing personal emolument funds to being kept away from sectoral committee leadership, the MCAs have accused the assembly of malice.
County Assembly Clerk James Nyaoga and Speaker David Kombo are on the spot for ignoring advisories issued by Commission and Revenue Allocation (CRA) on implementation of budgetary provisions.
CRA, in a circular dated August 3, and signed by Commission CEO Moses Sichei clarified that the ceilings provided for personnel emoluments for three ward staff, operations and maintenance costs for offices of elected and nominated MCAs.
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A week ago, County Assemblies Forum chair Ndegwa Wahome and other officials visited Kisii Assembly and met Speaker Kombo to deliberate on the issues.
Kisii, with 45 elected and 24 nominated MCAs, had a ceiling of Sh6.2 million in the 2019/2020 financial year that was to cater for 207 staff in the County Assembly. Total cost per ward monthly was set at Sh118,33.
However, 22 female nominated MCAs have not received vote line on county operations in the financial years 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.
They now accuse the assembly leadership of discrimination. All the 45 elected MCAs have been receiving the funds.
On September 30, 2019, the commission wrote to all county assemblies on the matter saying the running expenses, including rent for the offices is provided for under the operations and maintenance budget line item.
In a letter to Kisii County Assembly Speaker dated June 26, CRA said the County Assembly Service Board was mandated to ensure that budgetary provisions are implemented in accordance with the law.
“The commission’s recommendation on recurrent expenditure budget ceilings to the Senate for financial year 2020/21 included the ward staff personnel emoluments, ward office rents and running costs for all members of the County Assemblies,” read the letter in part.
On July 14, National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) wrote to Kisii Assembly Clerk Nyaoga over the unfair, illegal, and unconstitutional discrimination in the administration of the county assembly budget.
“In particular we note preferential implementation of CRA circular in favour of elected members against nominated members of the assembly. As a result, nominated members are denied resources for office space, office operations and for staff,” the letter read in part.
NGEC made reference to the matter before the High Court of Kisii in Constitutional Petition No 1 of 2019 on Karen Nyamoita Magara and 14 others verses Kisii County Assembly Service Board, County Assembly of Kisii and the Speaker of the Kisii Assembly.
In the matter, the court ordered: “In the event that CRA circular is implemented, the same should be effected equally for elected and nominated members.”
Article 1177 of the Constitution accords elected and nominated MCAs duties and responsibilities and equal privileges.
A section of female nominated MCAs has linked the suspension of MCA Caren Magara from the assembly for three months to her agitation for their rights.
Magara is the chairperson of female MCAs caucus in the assembly. Last month she was allegedly assaulted by county enforcement officers within the assembly premises. She was admitted to a private hospital in Kisii town.
“Her suspension was a shock to us. She was assaulted inside the assembly precincts but the Powers and Privileges Committee that is male dominated saw it better to suspend her rather than protect her,” said nominated MCA Risper Kemunto.
Accused of misconduct
In a letter sent to Magara and signed by the Assembly Clerk on August 4, she was accused of misconduct in the office of the Speaker on June 25 and suspended from the assembly.
Nominated MCA Joyce Ombasa accused the assembly leadership of acting in bad faith.
“The patriarchal nature in our assembly is way too primitive. Women have been fighting for equal rights but here we have individuals who want to continue with the oppression and discrimination of female leaders,” she said.
When contacted, Nyaoga declined on comment, saying some issues were still in court.