Homa Bay governor, assembly pledge to work together

Homa Bay governor Gladys Wanga walks alongside county assembly speaker Julius Gaya at the assembly grounds on September 22,2022.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group.

Homa Bay residents will witness less drama in the county assembly this time if plans by the House and the executive are adopted.

Unlike in the previous administration, when the assembly plunged into chaos because the executive failed to watch over it, the current House has said it will collaborate with the governor to deliver the fruits of devolution.

In the planned mutually beneficial partnership, each group will play its role in ensuring the other does not fail.

Governor Gladys Wanga is still assembling her government and some departments have no heads.

Whereas the county assembly has identified its leaders, led by Speaker Julius Gaya and Majority Leader Richard Ogindo, the executive is not fully formed.

The County Public Service Board (CPSB), which is responsible for hiring county workers, is not in place as its chairman and another member resigned to contest leadership positions in the August 9 elections.

Governor Wanga said a full board will have to be formed before she creates her full government structures.

She asked MCAs to approve the names of candidates interested in the position of CPSB chairperson so that it could start hiring county workers.

"I will forward you the names of other candidates for other positions within the executive after the board is formed. Equally, the group should be vetted and recommendations given for us to start work," she said.

Speaking on Thursday when she opened the county assembly, Ms Wanga said she expected MCAs to support her in allocating funds for development projects.

She added that her office needs the county assembly to debate and approve pending bills.

"It is time we have a climate change policy that can enable our county to get support in mitigating [its] effects … This can be done through introduction of relevant bills at the county assembly,” Ms Wanga said.

Amend Finance bill

She also asked the House to amend the Finance Bill so that the county government can collect more revenue.

The local government can collect up to Sh1 billion annually if proper channels are followed, she said.

But the devolved unit has performed poorly in revenue collection compared to other counties over the years because of corruption in the revenue office.

The county government collected Sh10 million in June.

A month later, it raised only three million, sparking questions about the sudden fall.

"County's financial records showed that total revenue collected [stands] at negative 34 per cent compared to what was collected during the previous local government regimes," she said.

Mr Gaya and Mr Ogindo promised that the assembly will have a good working relationship with the executive.

Mr Gaya said they cannot work independently from the executive.

"We are one government with two arms. For us to perform, we must consult and cooperate,” he said.

He said a majority of MCAs campaigned for Ms Wanga and they cannot abandon her at her hour of need.

"We will make sure the governor delivers her campaign pledges" the Speaker said.

Mr Ogindo said he will try his best to steer the House in the right direction to avoid dramas like those witnessed in the second assembly, when MCAs were plunged into leadership wrangles.

Meanwhile, Ms Wanga promised to complete construction projects started by her predecessor Cyprian Awiti.

Some of the projects are a maize processing plant in Kigoto, Suba South, that she said will produce flour to be branded mokwa (our flour).

Mr Awiti's administration also failed to complete the Arujo animal feed plant in Homa Bay town.

Ms Wanga said she will complete the projects.

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