, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 24 – Kamau on Thursday had been to the Kiambu District Hospital twice over a wound; he had to bring his own bandage to get it dressed.
Others sat outside Kiambu Governor William Kabogo’s office hoping for a handout, unable to purchase for themselves the supplies needed to address their health concerns.
A lucky few received some assistance from Kiambu Deputy Speaker and Bibirioni ward representative Anthony Kimani in a gesture even he admitted would do little to address the overall problem: a shortage of county funds.
A Gatundu South hospital administrator, on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Capital FM News that the constitutional right to healthcare had indeed been violated given the shortage of drugs and medical supplies.
The shortage, Kimani testified, is a matter of life and death given it went beyond the medicine cabinet to the ability of ambulances and fire engines to run due to a lack of fuel. “This is very serious. What if a fire breaks out? The majority of our people cannot afford to rely on private security companies for services they pay taxes for anyway.”
Kimani, “and his kind,” Kamau however felt, did not have the moral authority to lament the shortage in the county and demanded that they shoulder the responsibility for it.
“The Governor called on the ward reps a month ago asking them to allocate more money to development issues than for self-gain. We the electorate want the ward reps to consider us. Life is not so smooth with their demands.”
Budgetary demands that have led a section of civil society organisations and citizen rights’ groups across the country to hold protests.
Protests that the public’s needs had not been sufficiently factored into the 2014/15 county budgets and that they were instead inflated by MCA extravagances.
Some Governors, as Kamau indicated, declined to sign off on budgets they considered too high.
Trips taken by MCAs being one of the expenses flagged by the Auditor General and based on which the Salaries and Remuneration Commission has threatened to cut their allowances.
But defiant MCAs, including Kimani, have declined to rework their budgets as recommended by the Commission on Revenue Allocation and demanded by the Controller of Budget, challenging the oversight role of both.
“It is too late in the day to demand that we rework our budgets. That is something that should have been done in March before we passed our fiscal strategy paper which the law requires we develop our budgets in line with,” Kimani argued.
But as the Swahili saying goes, when two bulls fight, it is the grass that suffers and the refusal of MCAs to back down has led to a shortage of funds as the Controller of Budget too has declined to sanction the release of 2014/15 fiscal year allocations until CRAs recommendations are adhered to.
Still, Kimani said, his heart went out to Kiambu residents who had a legitimate expectation to receive services from their county government given the taxes they remitted.