Uproar as Taita Taveta ward representatives fly to Zanzibar to ‘bond’

A past session at the Taita Taveta Assembly chambers in Wundanyi.

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika | Nation Media Group

Questions have emerged over a recent taxpayer-funded holiday trip to Zanzibar by Taita Taveta ward representatives.

Sources at the County Assembly and devolved government say 21 representatives and Speaker Wisdom Mwamburi left the country for a “bonding” tour on Sunday and were expected back yesterday evening.

The Nation obtained documents detailing the leaders’ visit. 
The county lawmakers were booked at Marijani Beach Resort and Spa, a luxury hotel.

According to the itinerary, the delegation that also involves Deputy Speaker Anselm Mwadime and Clerk Gadiel Maghanga visited the Stone town and made a spice tour.

The ward representatives had a half-day conference in the morning and then a turtle visit and sunset dhow cruise tour on Wednesday.

The programme says the Taita Taveta County lawmakers went snorkelling at Mnemba Atoll Marine Park on Thursday.

The Nation team was not able to verify how much the trip, including transport and per diem allowances, would cost taxpayers.

But sources at the assembly say every ward representative pocketed Sh260,000 in allowances.

The spending comes amid an austerity drive by the national and county governments.

Taita Taveta locals reacted furiously to the news.
Activists said the trip was a waste of public resources.

Ms Isabella Kidede of the lobby Taita Taveta Budget Champions, questioned the assembly’s spending priorities and demanded that the leaders inform the world how the trip would benefit the county.

“They clearly used millions of shillings. There are more pressing needs in our county. What value does that trip to Zanzibar add to Taita Taveta residents?” she asked. 

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