Governors demand cash for handovers

Council of Governors

Council of Governors Chairman Martin Wambora (centre) addresses journalists while flanked by members of the Health Committee at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa County last Thursday.

 Governors want to be allocated millions of shillings in the coming financial year to splash on lavish inauguration ceremonies.

They say funds have not been provided to welcome newly elected and re-elected governors, their deputies and members of the county assembly (MCAs) after next year’s General Election.

They added that the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) did not consider the costs that counties will incur to welcome new leadership when it slashed recurrent expenditure.

CRA has set the budget ceiling for recurrent expenditure for the 2022/23 financial year at Sh61.96 billion, Sh399 million less than what counties were allocated in the current financial year.

Following a full council meeting of the Council of Governors (CoG) on yesterday, the county bosses opposed the CRA’s budget ceiling.

“We also note that county assemblies draft budget ceilings for financial year 2022/23 have not provided induction costs for the new leadership coming in after the 2022 General Elections,” CoG chairman Martin Wambora said. “This is despite the fact that induction is a key component for on boarding of the new county leadership to ensure that there is a seamless transition,” he added.

The push by the county bosses for additional money from the exchequer to spend on the inauguration ceremonies comes at a time the government is tightening its spending to free funds for elections preparations.

In 2017, the governors retreated to Diani from December 14 to December 16 to induct new county leadership. President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the meeting.

The county bosses also lamented that CRA has maintained budget ceilings for cost of public participation in county legislation as well as the cost of operations and maintenance at the same level for the past four financial years.

They said CRA has been making blanket ceilings without taking into consideration the uniqueness of each county government.

“Indeed, certain counties have a larger land mass than others and therefore the cost incurred in the conduct of public participation and sensitization may differ,” said Mr Wambora.

Governors last month rejected CRA’s proposal to maintain the equitable share to counties at Sh370 billion in 2022/23.

At the same time, CoG has appointed Mary Mwiti as the new substantive chief executive for a three-year period with immediate effect. Mr Wambora said that Ms Mwiti, who has been acting for six months, beat 41 applicants.

The council also announced that it will hold its annual elections on January 27 to pick new leaders.