FAILED LEADERSHIP?

MCAs headache over delayed bursaries and ward projects

County legislators want the President to intervene and address their grievances

In Summary
  • MCAs complained that despite the assembly playing its role by passing budgets, the county continues to face problems related to lack of funds.
  • Utalii MCA Wilson Ocholla said the administration has abandoned its duties, leaving county workers on their own.
Nairobi MCAs in the assembly chamber.
FAILED LEADERSHIP?: Nairobi MCAs in the assembly chamber.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Nairobi MCAs face pressure from residents over delayed bursary and Ward Development Fund projects.

A section of MCAs has raised concerns about the competency of the acting governor Ann Kananu, noting that she has failed to demonstrate leadership skills, a situation they blame for more problems at City Hall.

Utalii MCA Wilson Ocholla on Thursday told the Star Kananu's administration has abandoned its duties, leaving county workers on their own.

He complained that despite the assembly playing its role by passing budgets, the county continues to face problems related to lack of funds, which, according to the legislator, is sarcastic.

“It's quite unfortunate that county government staff can go up to four months without medical cover amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, just because the county has not paid its premiums as expected,” Ocholla added.

On Wednesday, normal county operations were disrupted as City Hall staff went on strike.

They accused City Hall of failing to address their grievances, which include perennial delay of salaries, non-provision of medical cover, failure to promote county staff, non-remittance of statutory deductions and non-payment of overtime and other allowances.

The MCAs also lamented that they, especially those elected, are being questioned on the bursary funds.

Mugumoini MCA Jared Akama, through a request for a statement, had raised the issue in the assembly to know the status of bursary disbursement for the current financial year.

“There have been delays in disbursements despite schools reopening, with many parents in the county facing a hard time to pay fees given the demanding academic calendar,” he said.

The assembly's education committee was tasked to provide a status report on the disbursement of this year's bursary funds.

In February, Kananu announced Sh457 million worth of bursaries to 62,500 students meant for 2019-20. The funds were, however, not rereleased because of wrangles at City Hall.

In the financial year ending June 30, 2022, an additional 17,000 students are set to receive bursary funds after the county allocated Sh4.5 million for the ward bursary fund.

This is a Sh1 million increase from the allocation in the last financial year of Sh3.5 million. However, three months down the line, the bursary funds have not been issued

“Back in the wards, parents are on our necks asking about the bursaries. What can we tell them If the executive is silent on the issue?” Francis Ngesa, Dandora Four MCA, asked.

Not a single WDF project was rolled out in the last financial year because of blame games between the county executive and the Controller of Budget.

The blame games have seen the 85 elected MCAs miss out on last year's WDF project where each ward had been allocated Sh14 million.

In this financial year’s budget, MCAs allocated Sh1.5 billion for the WDF projects and created a special purpose account to hold the funds to expedite the rollout of the projects.

However, the Public Finance Management Act does not allow them to start new projects while ongoing ones have not been completed and paid for.

The MCAs are now calling upon the President to intervene and ensure their grievances are addressed before the year-end.

“Our president gave us Kananu to streamline the county affairs, but it seems there is a loophole in her leadership. We are urging the head of state to intervene for the sake of our voters back in the ward,” Ngesa said.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)