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Greed And Opportunism Attracts 13,000 MCAs Aspirants Majority Clueless On The Roles Of The Position

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The stature of Members of the County Assemblies has grown because of the realization that they oversee the spending of billions of shillings by the county government under the governor, earn an average Sh250,000 monthly salary in addition to allowances and do a lot of traveling.

Devolution has seen through the emergence of overnight millionaires, and there are classic cases of down to earth men in the counties who went from their mud houses to multi-million palaces. So much theft has been going in the county governments that it has become an ideal place for hyenas of public coffers.

The position of the MCA has become so lucrative that there are MPs who’ve ‘relegated’ to vie for the post and Professionals leaving bigger jobs to battle out for the County space. It has also attracted thugs and goons with a poor education background and without a tint grasp of what it entails. The only clear motivation that has seen close to 13,000 aspirants fight for the available 1,450 wards is greed and opportunism to loot; County is the new looting avenue.

MCAs also have a Sh2 million car loan, Sh3 million mortgage and mileage allowance. In 2015/16, MCAs in the 47 counties gobbled up Sh2.82 billion in sitting allowances. Take an example of Bungoma where MCAs diverted money meant for health to hospitality and travel. In the period of six months last year, they spent 859M on travel and hospitality and just 8m on health supplies. Misappropriation of funds has been synonymous in nearly all counties. So shocking that a budget of millions was awarded to Nyeri MCAs to travel to Nairobi just to be taught how to use Facebook and Twitter, the madness. There have been cases where MCAs go abroad to learn about ridiculous things as how to collect cabbage, trips that don’t make any sense and can easily be accessed through the internet but creating allowances leeway to milk allocated funds continuously.

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The MCA’s post has emerged among the powerful ones under devolution, given the local lawmakers play an oversight role over billions disbursed to counties, which makes the former councilor’s post in the past local authorities pale in comparison.

This year, Sh301 billion including conditional grants has been allocated to the 47 counties, a large allocation placed under the oversight of the country’s 2,222 MCAs across the regional parliaments. Of the number, 1,450 are elected and 772 nominated to the county assemblies that also approve county budgets and make laws to be enforced by county governments.

On average, a MCA takes home Sh250,000 per month, which translates to a total of about half a billion in salaries every month. This is more than the money allocated to an average government department. The MCA’s post has emerged among the powerful ones under devolution, given the regional lawmakers play an oversight role over billions disbursed to counties, which makes the former councilor’s post in the past local authorities pale in comparison.

This year, Sh301 billion including conditional grants has been allocated to the 47 counties, a large allocation placed under the oversight of the country’s 2,222 MCAs across the regional parliaments. Of the number, 1,450 are elected and 772 nominated to the county assemblies that also approve county budgets and make laws to be enforced by county governments.

The perks arose out of a deal hammered out with the Office of the Controller of Budget in 2013, allowing MCAs higher salaries and allowances, including mortgages, car grants, ward offices and a budget for hiring drivers, bodyguards, and secretaries.

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MCAs have been arguing that by their positions as elected representatives, they are entitled to the privileges, which takes them miles away from former councilors, some of who live in poverty today.

Other than the huge perks, MCAs have pushed forward development funds. In some counties, governors have caved in to pressure and awarded each member the control of Sh10 million for grassroots development projects.

Their influence in approval of budgets, the passage of laws and sanctions, for instance in the impeachment of top county officials, means that governors must avoid confrontations with them. We’ve had several cases where MCAs blackmail the governors with impeachment prompting bribery and dancing to their tunes. MCAs transformed into mercenaries in the County Governments.

There’s a perception that there’s huge cash in the assembly and provides greatest opportunities to grab enough wealth in the minimum period that’s why every Tom, Dick, and Harry is hurrying to win a space. Don’t trust a hyena with your sheep.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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