Vihiga CBO petitions against contentious Bill
17 December 2013, 13:22
Vihiga - A Community Based Organisation in Vihiga County has petitioned area Governor, Moses Akaranga against assenting to the Ward Development Fund Bill which is in the process of being handed to him by the County assembly for assent.
The Bill was approved by the County assembly on December 4, and seeks to establish a total of KES 6 million per Ward for development purposes and under the control of the Members of the County Assembly in their respective wards.
Vihiga County Public Benefits Organisations Network noted that in as much as the Bill spells for the benefit of the citizens, it was hurriedly drafted and lacks public participation which would have validated it.
Earlier on, the MCAs had set a maximum of KES 10 million per ward but it was turned down by the Governor.
“Part IV, article 26 does provide for 95% allocation equally and 5% divided on the basis of population. This greatly disadvantages the urban area wards since the threshold of 5% might not effectively realise the equitable distribution of resources,” noted Stephen Bulemi, the Group’s chairperson.
He also pointed out issues with Part VI article 34 (1) (a) that states that the chairman shall be nominated by elected members of the County Assembly.
“The functions of the MCAs are to be representational, oversight and legislation at County level. Allowing them to nominate the chairpersons of the committee that is to manage the fund is bound to present a conflict of interest and this might compromise the oversight duties,” he said.
Members of the organisation suggested that the funds be managed through the County executive structure where committee persons are competitively elected from amongst members of the Ward in a meeting coordinated by ward administrator in consultation with MCAs.
Another section of the Bill that spruced contention is Part VIII, article 48 (5) that states that subject to the act, no person in the management of the fund shall be personally held liable for any lawful action taken in his official capacity or for any disputes against the fund.
“This sounds ridiculous as it amounts to impunity by the managers of the funds. It is our opinion that each person shall be held personally responsible in case of abuse of office, misuse of the funds, and improper allocation of funds to projects under the fund,” said Bulemi.
He explained that the group was in the process of wooing other CBOs in the County that are tasked with an oversight role to ask the Governor not to assent to the Bill.
The MCAs however have beseeched the Governor to sign the Bill saying that it will spell equality in the distribution of resources in the County.
“When the KES 6 million is distributed to the wards, it will help us to establish projects that may not be able to be accomplished by the Governor,” Shiru ward MCA, Nixon Butiya said in a recent function at Shamakhokho Primary School.
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