Devolution Conference Ongoing as Corruption Still Gnaws Kenyans

By Soko Directory Team / Published April 24, 2018 | 11:40 am





The fifth Annual Devolution Conference kicked off on April 23 in Kakamega county with the main agenda being manufacturing, affordable housing, on universal healthcare coverage, and food security, which is ironical as it has sparked confusion among the masses.

The idea of devolution was lauded when it was first pitched, although others might say they knew it was up to no good, it is safe to admit that they were right. After five years, what has changed in Kenya? Sure, there are some notable developments that some leaders boast about. Nevertheless, corruption still rocks.

Well, there is no denying that devolution its positives both in remote regions and at the national level. Water projects, road improvement projects, dispensaries, and pre-primary school projects admittedly are more than when devolution wasn’t around.

Sadly, there are counties where Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) and governors have colluded together to ignore their oversight and representation role to focus on implementing projects on their own and for their own benefits.

Others have nothing to show for it. As a matter of fact, it is barely a month when governors in many counties including Nairobi, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu, among others were summoned to face the senate for their failure to account for millions, if not billions of cash.

While some eat the money plainly, others use them on futile or projects that do not make sense. This isn’t highlighting negativity, but the truth. The 2018 annual devolution, to be precise, has sparked confusion. When locals in Kakamega county heard about the amount used for the conference, some were outraged citing funds misappropriation.

The locals claim the 200 million shillings spent could go a long way in helping the youth get employment, better infrastructure and ensure that they have markets for their produces. This, in a sense means misplaced priorities.

Delegates from across the 47 counties all gathered to discuss the government’s Big 4 agenda, which is good, and bad at the same time. For one, China offered to help fund the agenda to better the four key areas in the initiative. Before celebrating, you should know that this will push Kenya/s debt to 1 trillion shillings in before the year 2022.

Then before the country drowns in debt, measures that will harm the local Mwananchi will be put in place. Who knows, maybe inflation will worsen.

Back to corruption and devolution, another fact which can be corroborated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), many governors have no documents to show where funds disappeared to.

Before devolution was implemented, there were concerns that the national government was biased and focusing on a particular community. Unfortunately, devolution also devolved corruption closer to Kenya citizens.

Kenyans are looking at the county county governments for development projects and the discussion about development is met with aggravation from some who feel disadvantaged and praise from others. This is justifiable as some counties are blowing money and spending incredible amounts on things that do not benefit the citizens they are elected to serve.

Picture the MCAs for instance, they are like tourists. They use county funds to travel across the world to ‘benchmark’ and ‘learn.’ They are abusing the imprest system and per diems to claim for monies even when they fail to take a trip.

A case example is Meru county. The county assembly spent a total of 3 million shillings for registration for a conference in Dallas, Texas, in the US. However, the MCAs arrived on the last day of the meeting. Were they incidentally late?

In March 2018, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission summoned 12 Homa Bay ward representatives over the misappropriation of over 300 million shillings mortgage fund. The same individuals summoned were to answer other cases of public fund misuse.

Meanwhile as Kakamega county boss, Oparanya is hosting the devolution conference, he himself was summoned to appear before the senate regarding his program known as ‘Oparanya Care.’ The program targeting pregnant mothers, had money deposited into beneficiaries’ accounts long after the mothers had delivered. And Dr. Alfred Mutua who spent millions of shillings to drill sinking boreholes that did not yield water, what was he thinking?

Lots of funds, including the locally collected revenues cannot be accounted by majority of county bosses. Are the county governors eating them? Well, one thing is for sure, spending the money at source is illegal.

According to the constitution, Article 207 Section 109 of the PFM Act, 2012, it is clearly noted that all funds raised or collected on behalf of the County should be deposited into the County Revenue Fund.

Recent audits have showed that, to name a few, Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu county did not deposit 133 million shillings in local revenue into the county revenue fund, and Hassan Joho, of Mombasa county who, among other issues, failed to transfer more than 500 million shillings in revenue was never transferred to the county revenue account

A lot can be said to show how corruption is subtly ruling the counties. From inefficient and corrupt audits, or tampered reports to say the least, to the MCAs, to projects, and expenditures that do not make sense, tenders awarded to the public depending on close relationships among other issues are few examples.

Remember the county that purchased of 10 boxes of pens for 200, 000 shillings and 2 thirty-two-inch televisions for 300,000 shillings? How does that make sense? And how does it help the common citizen?

Meanwhile as the delegates gather in Kakamega, Kenyans should grab the chance to evaluate what their county governments have achieved and what they want to see achieved in their counties.

Every citizen has a duty to hold the county bosses responsible to serve residents effectively and provide the highest measure of service delivery.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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