A standoff between Busia County Governor Sospeter Ojaamong and the wards reps has heightened with the MCAs vowing to stop the scrapping of the ward fund. The Governor has proposed scrapping the ward fund and insists that old projects and pending bills amounting to Kshs 1.3 billion must be given first priority.
But the MCAs are questioning how the pending bills came into existence since 2013,
“We are not against completion of old projects, but what we want the executive to tell us is where is the money which had been factored in previous budgets for the projects?” posed Bukhayo North/Walatsi ward rep Gardy Jakaa.
Similar sentiments have been shared by Nambale township MCA Mwajuma Toloi and her Bwiri counterpart Beatrice Kanoti. “We asked the executive to share with us reports on how the tenders for the said projects were awarded, partial payments that may have been made and the percentage of work completed so far. But the executive is yet to do so. What he is telling us is that there are debts amounting to one billion.”
Mwajuma has given an example of the proposed Malaba juice factory, Simba chai cassava factory among many other projects whose funding and progress have remained opaque,
“We even have a project at Nambale sub county hospital, the construction of a morgue. A lot of money has been spent there but the project is yet to be complete. And something funny is that on the papers, the project is complete while on the ground there is even no foundation.”
Last week a meeting between the Busia Governor and the MCAs at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu aborted after the MCAs held their ground and warned the Governor against doing away with the ward fund. “When we were looking for votes there are projects we promised our people. We received their proposals about the projects and forwarded to the County government for implementation. Now how can he say he isn’t funding new projects?” decried an MCA.
And in a move to frustrate the Governor’s efforts, the ward reps have vowed to shoot down the supplementary budget of 2018/2019 when it will be brought to the assembly.
They have received support from former Busia county Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa who has said the ward reps have a right to demand more information about the said debts, “As people who play an oversight role in the County, they must be told everything about the pending bills by the executive.”
However, the Busia Governor’s proposal that old projects and pending bills have to be cleared first has received the backing of former Nambale MCA Godfrey Odongo who argues that County residents will lose if stalled projects will be abandoned, “There are many uncompleted projects in the County and if they are not completed then it’s the wananchi who will suffer a lot because these projects are meant to help them.”