County governments of the former Western Province should be transparent with utilization of resources

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Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana in a press briefing
From left: Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana in a past press briefing

County governments of Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and Trans Nzoia, you need to be reminded that you are servants of the people of the Counties you govern, you are not Kings.

Article 1 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 proclaims that all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and in this case the residents of the Counties.

County governments and County assemblies, be reminded that the power you have by virtue of the offices you hold is handed to you by the noble people of your County.

Article 10 of the Constitution further ordains the national values and principles of governance and which once again enjoin the County Governments and County Assemblies to adhere to good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.

Yes the Constitution is explicit, you are obliged to provide good governance and not bad governance.

The elephant in the room on good governance is how the County governments keep account, use public tax payers monies received from the National Treasury and collected locally as revenue from the County residents. Since 2013 County governments continue to operate opaquely on how they utilize taxpayers’ resources. They think that information is to their exclusive use. That is not what the Constitution ordains.

What pray will be the motivation of a County government that is carrying out its work transparently, with integrity, with utmost accountability to hide, seek and deny the public access to that information? We state that it is only a County government that is steeped in corruption, sleaze, thievery, looting of public resources that will hide, deny its citizens full disclosure of how resources are collected or received from the National Treasury and disbursed. Indeed all that information should be on the County government’s website for any resident to access it 24/7 and ask questions and be answered.

County governments will only create rapport and trust with its County residents when they follow the Constitution and other written laws and make available all information on how they tender to give work for services, goods and works and at what prices, costs and for the residents to satisfy themselves that they are getting value for their taxes and resources.

The mentality of County governments being displayed by Governors of hoarding information on how they are utilizing taxpayers’ resources must rightly generate suspicion from the County citizens that these County Governments are deeply engaged in corruption. That is a reasonable inference from reasonable people. Even COVID-19 money grants from the National Government is being shrouded in secrecy and opaqueness. Why?

West Media states without any fear that the culture of County governments hoarding information on how they are expending public resources is in total violation of the Constitution and that pattern must invite suspicion that there is massive corruption, wastage and misuse of public resources taking place in the opaqueness. That can be the only incentive for the secretiveness.

Good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability are not favours Mr. Governors of Western Kenya You owe the electorate, and they are the Constitutional framework that you were elected on and must be adhered to by yourselves scrupulously and without being reminded.

The people will be restless and will torment you rightly until you come clean and account for each shilling collected from the National Treasury and locally and be it for the normal County Government programmes or for COVID-19. County Assemblies torment this County governments until they start practising good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability: public resources must never be treated as the private resources of those entrusted to prudently utilize the County governments.