NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – Members of the County Assemblies are accusing the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and the Controller of Budget (COB) for being a stumbling block in their capability to conduct their functions.
Under the umbrella of the County Assemblies Forum (CAF), the MCAs urged the Senate to intervene in the determination of budget ceilings as the proposals by CRA were limiting their ability to conduct their supervision role.
The CAF which appeared before the Senate Finance committee criticised the circular by the Commission on Revenue Allocation proposing budget ceilings to be observed by the County Assemblies in preparing their 2015/2016 budgets saying they were not consulted.
“We do not know the criteria used by CRA; they did not speak to us. We are actually seeing this today,” said Gordon Ocholla, Migori County Speaker.
They said some of the proposals did not consider the vastness of certain counties for instance Marsabit where some towns were as far as 900kms apart and if an MCA is to conduct a meet-the-people tour, they would spend a lot of money on transport and fuel.
Laikipia Speaker, Patrick Mariru said the limiting of staff in a ward to 120 in counties with more than 60 wards and 88 staff in those with between 20 and 40 wards was a little too late as already some has surpassed the set maximums.
“You cannot do oversight without staff. In Makueni for instance, there 103 staff but CRA says if you have 30 wards you need 88 staff, what will we do to the others?” asked Senate Finance Committee Chairman Billow Kerrow who heard CAF’s pleas and directed them to submit counter proposals to the committee next week.
During a needs assessment study of Marsabit County by the Senate committee on Devolution led by the chairman Kipchumba Murkomen, similar concerns were raised with the MCAs saying they were ready to join the referendum campaigns to have the SRC and the COB scrapped.
“SRC and CRA are stumbling blocks to the assemblies’ capability to do their functions. We need to reconsider removing these institutions. The ceilings they impose are not fair.”
“The main challenge of the assembly is money. The Controller of Budget gives money in batches which come rarely. The salaries of the MCAs are peanuts,” said Deputy Majority Leader Pius Yatani.
Yatani who spoke on behalf of his colleagues accused the Senate of abandoning them and only fighting for their own rights.
“You people are not defending us, you are just fighting for yourselves. They say birds of a feather flock together, it’s like you don’t want to fly with us to where you are going?” he wondered.
“The people always see us more than you; look at our welfare if you want performance.”