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MCAs allocate themselves huge perks for Christmas

22 December 2014, 16:04 Dareel Eric

Vihiga - Residents of Vihiga County are threatening to take their Members of the County Assembly to court to explain the legality of apportioning themselves thousands of shillings as Christmas gifts.

The residents, who took to social media to vent their anger on their leaders, said they had stretched a bit too far in fleecing the County of its meagre resources.

“Kindly collect the names and acknowledgements of receipt of any cash and or trophies; I will fund a court action against the culprits,” Ndolo Asasa of the Vihiga County Benefits Network said.

They noted that services have been halted in major facilities in the County, like lack of water in the hospitals and electricity disconnection due to unpaid bills, yet the MCAs were quick to award themselves huge perks for having done nothing.

The County Assembly on December 19 held a night-long get-together party and to appreciate members and their performance in the year 2014, a meeting that was presided over by deputy Governor Caleb Amaswache.

Read Also: Millions of shillings lost to ghost health workers

“Members of the County Assembly were awarded with cash prizes for their many contributions in the house; raising motions that lead to discussions and participating in the house committees. I thought this was the work we pay the assembly for?” posed Victor Ijaika, of Xposha youth group. 

He added: “How do you justify this: you are a student, you set exams, invigilate, mark, award yourself then you call other students to witness you giving yourself awards, is it in order? If the assembly really needed to be awarded, I thought the best way is to invite wananchi to give their views on the persons that feel have performed well in the assembly!”

News24 established that some of the members walked home with over KES 150 000, with the nominated members being sidelined as they did not feature in many of the committees that were winning awards.

Residents said that this was not the right expenditure of their resources, as MCAs could have gone for trophy and certificate awards.

The residents blamed the speaker for failing to take control of the house fully as was evident throughout the year.

“Why was this activity done at night? How were wananchi involved? Who was in the vetting committee for the awardees and how were they selected? Did some of the vetting committee members get awards, wouldn't this amount to conflict of interest?” Ijaika posed. 

Speaker of the assembly, Dan Chitwah, said that although he was overall in charge of the institution and therefore politically responsible, he had just arrived from Arusha in Tanzania and had not received a report on what the assembly deliberated upon while he was away.

“I have always hosted a Speaker's party as it is the norm in parliamentary culture. It’s not also wrong to recognise exemplary performance in institutions. It encourages improvement of quality,” he said.

The residents demanded a publication of the full list of beneficiaries of the awards, the amounts awarded, the list of the committee members on awards and minutes of the committee during deliberations on the awards.

The Speaker however blamed other leaders in the County for not responding to the complaints raised by citizens.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Court had directed that the clerk of the County assembly to pay the 74 staffs who were dismissed in July for the three months that they had worked, but they are yet to be paid.

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