News Column

MCAs Are Clueless About Devolution

June 30, 2014

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo has condemned the caliber of members of county assemblies (MCAs) in a damning audit report, questioning not only their slippery grasp of legislation but also their financial competence as overseers of finance management.

The controller's first Budget Implementation Review Report on MCAs exposes profligacy on a scale that Kenyans clearly never reckoned with when the devolved government idea was sold to them during the constitution review process.

She reports, for instance, that the MCAs have blown tens of millions of shillings on allowances and foreign trips that add no value whatsoever to delivering on the Devolution promise.

"The average sitting allowance per MCA per month ranges from Sh17,200 in Isiolo County to Sh262,088 in Nairobi County", Odhiambo reports. As the Star observed on Friday, this means that MCAs in the capital city county could be pocketing as much as Sh400,000 per month per member.

The controller also found that the assemblies were so remiss in revenue collection that they collected only Sh9 billion in their first financial year, against a target of Sh67.8 billion. One would at the very least expect them to fatten the calf they feed on so ravenously. Apparently they do not even have the smarts to do that.

The terrible truth of the matter is that the assemblies are caught in a time warp. Across the nation, MCAs are little more than their predecessors, the ward councilors, a class of so-called leaders that personified corruption and non-delivery of services for decades. The way counties were designed was that they would devolve services to specific communities, with each unit serving regional peculiarities of need.

The way MCAs have conducted themselves betrays the fact that no civic education was extended to them to alert them that the rules of the game had drastically changed.

Quote of the day: "It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." James Madison, the fourth President of USA, died on June, 28, 1836.

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Source: AllAfrica

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