Assembly sitting turns chaotic over Oparanya memo

Some MCAs questioned unapproved expenditure, accusing the governor of holding the assembly in contempt.

In Summary
  • Oparanya returned the supplementary budget over reallocation of Sh145 million.
  • Deputy speaker Leonard Soita was hit with a bottle of water hurled by a member as he put the question while walking out of the chambers.
Kakamega county assembly
Kakamega county assembly
Image: FILE

A Kakamega assembly meeting to discuss amendments to a supplementary budget passed a week ago degenerated into a shouting match.

MCAs opposed to the budget accused Governor Wycliffe Oparanya of turning the assembly into a mere rubber stamp.

The House became ungovernable as MCAs' chants disrupted the sitting. They claimed the outcome of the debate had been predetermined by the governor’s office. 

The changes were approved. 

Deputy speaker Leonard Soita, who was chairing the sitting, was hit with a bottle of water hurled by a member who asked a question while walking out of the chambers.

Oparanya returned the supplementary budget to the House over reallocation of Sh145 million.

He said the Sh35 million reallocated by MCAs from sports support to shelter development had been spent, while the Sh90 million moved from the agriculture docket would lead to a pending bill as fertiliser and maize seed had been delivered.

Oparanya also rejected an allocation of Sh20 million for purchase of Hansard equipment, saying it was not factored in the main budget. He said it was a substantive expenditure and promised to provide Sh50 million in the next financial year's budget.

But members demanded to know who approved the expenditure and accused Oparanya of holding the assembly in contempt. Led by Minority leader David Ndakwa, the angry MCAs said Oparanya erred by spending the money without approval by the assembly.

They said the county chief failed to provide documentary evidence on how the Sh125 million was spent to validate his rejection of the mini-budget.

"We made changes during the last session and it was unanimous. Covid-19 is now being used as a conduit for forcing this assembly to become a rubber stamp for the governor on the money he has already spent. What was so difficult for the executive to seek approval from the assembly before spending the money? This is theft of public funds,” Ndakwa said.

“If we behave normally, the executive will treat us abnormally so we need to behave abnormally for the executive to treat us normally.”

Walter Maube said claims by the governor that Sh35 million was spent on a sporting programme were unsupported because the county has not held any sporting event in the past three years.

Budget and Appropriations committee chairman Willis Opuka and Majority leader Joel Ongoro later told the press that the money spent on sports was used to pay players' salaries.

They included Kenya Premier League side Homeboyz, which is owned by businessman Cleophas Shimanyula.

Isukha South MCA Farouk Majanje cautioned his colleagues against falling for the executive's bullying tactics by rubber-stamping documents to validate mistakes.

(Edited by F'Orieny)