As Kajiado MCAs troop to assembly on Tuesday to unlock the stalemate on the 2021/22 budget estimates, it is now clear all will be well.
Governor Joseph ole Lenku’s administration has been docked by misunderstandings between the executive and its legislative arms over claims of alleged “financial impropriety”.
This stalemate saw MCAs unite in a rare feat to reject this year’s budget estimates and demanded that Lenku should engage them first and be told to “clean” his finance department and address what they termed “runaway corruption.”
Lenku budged to MCAs’ demands because he knows that if the budget estimates are not passed, he will only be allowed by the national treasury to access Sh4.5 billion from the Caution Account for the next six months.
The money from the Caution Account, the county speaker Johnson Osoi said, is meant for recurrent and essential services only, and development.
The outgoing finance minister Alais Kisota, who Lenku replaced with Semera, told the Star that all the allegations made by the MCAs on “shortcomings” in the budget about development money have been addressed in the estimates.
“They should have read the estimates first before walking out on the document which is elaborated,” said Kisota.
More than 18 MCAs out of the elected 25 have trooped to the United Democratic Alliance associated with DP William Ruto, are now telling Lenku to tread carefully when handling ward development money.
After heeding to their demands on Saturday to do a shake-up in the finance department that saw Lenku appoint a new CEC member, Michael Semera, a former banker before he was picked in 2017, the MCAs now demand their Sh30 million each that are annually disbursed to the 25 wards.
Deputy speaker, Joseph Masiaya (Magadi) says the MCAs want to know the whereabouts of ward development allocations amounting to Sh1.5 billion factored in in the 2020/21 financial year and was not released to the wards.
On Sunday, the UDA MCAs led by Martin Njogu (Oloolua) said they compelled the executive to make changes in the finance department because they believed “some things are not adding up” in the sector.
“The finance department is the kitchen of corruption in this county, and this the reason why we rejected the budget so the executive could engage with us,” Njogu told the Star.
Contractors and Suppliers
But even as Kisota explained that all the issues have been explained in the budget proposal, the Oloolua MCA insisted some of the contractors have not been paid since 2017 and yet they completed their work in the wards.
“I have another contractor who was putting up cabro paving bricks in Oloolua town and the money for the work has not been released. They are telling us Covid-19 interfered with the budget last year, an explanation that does not add up,” said Njogu.
Ildamat MCA Samuel Teum had his reservations also on the performance of the governor after accusing the executive of denying MCAs development money that is factored in the budget every financial year.
“What are we going to tell our voters if we go back for public participation on development projects? We have been doing that every year and they are not seeing any projects on the ground,” said Teum.
The MCAs said they will approve the budget today (Tuesday) but cast doubt that changes the governor made in the cabinet will not redeem him politically.
But Semera, who has now taken over the finance docket, told the Star he is up to the task and he will redeem the confidence of the people.
“We need to pay suppliers and contractors in good time because that is the wish of the governor. Governor Lenku wish everyone well and if a mistake happened, it will be worked out for the sake of every stakeholder in this county,” Semera said on his appointment.