Kenya: County Budget the New Battlefront Between Waiguru and Ward Reps

The political tussle between Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and MCAs appears to be far from over, with the county budget now escalating the push-and-pull between them.

Wednesday, the county boss, who survived an impeachment fronted by a majority of the MCAs, took on the legislators for amending the 2020/2021 Budget, which saw the executive's legal fees reduced from Sh 60 million to Sh1 million.

The MCAs further flexed their muscles and almost did away with the entire Sh111 million allocated for the Office of County Secretary, effectively crippling, the governor's operations.

But Ms Waiguru said the MCA's action was illegal and accused them of arm-twisting the executive to settle political scores for their own selfish gains.

"After losing their bid to impeach the governor, the MCAs have now disregarded the law and turned to the budget to hit back instead of putting the interests of the residents first," she said in a statement.

She stressed that budget-making process was a very important part of her government's planning and decision-making, which the MCAs should not meddle in.

She challenged the MCAs to be orderly, claiming they have no powers to arbitrarily amend the budget.

The governor observed that besides failing to approve the Budget on time, the MCAs amended the Budget, allocating themselves an additional Sh200 million in total disregard of the Public Finance Management Act of 2012.

She added that Regulation 37 (1) of the PFM (County Government) Regulations, 2015, limits the County Assembly variations on budget votes to one percent of the ceilings, so the MCAs have no powers to arbitrarily transfer funds from one vote to another.

"The estimates for the county executive and the county assembly are covered by the ceilings, which are contained in the County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) and, therefore, these amounts are ring-fenced by the Act and cannot be amended in the budget estimates" she said.

She also accused the MCAs of illegally assigning themselves the role of developing a county appropriations bill, which is the role of the county Finance Executive.

She asserted that the executive has been furnishing the assembly with budget implementation status reports as required, which gives the assembly an opportunity to scrutinise the progress of development projects in their wards as well as budget absorption.

She told the MCAs to direct their efforts to issues that will benefit the residents who elected them and desist from issues that jeopardise development.

On the purported passing of a motion to stop the executive from collecting revenue from traders within the county, the governor stated that variation of revenue, levies or taxes can only be effected through a Finance Bill and not a motion as conceived by the MCAs.

"Residents of Kirinyaga should therefore not be deceived to participate in illegal pronouncements by some members of the assembly," she stated.

She called upon the MCAS to direct their efforts to issues that will benefit the residents who put them into office and desist from issues that jeopardise the county's development agenda.

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