Rasanga under fire over plan to hire more clerks to help in voter listing

Owala says the governor cannot spend public funds without public participation and budgeting

In Summary

• Rasanga on Friday said the three clerks in every ward were not enough.

• He said he is going to add 30 clerks in the 30 wards and they will be paid using the county government funds. 

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga
Image: Lameck Baraza

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga has been faulted for hinting that he will use county funds to hire 30 more clerks to help with mass voter registration.

Rasanga on Friday, while addressing journalists after meeting ODM delegates from Alego Usonga constituency, said the three clerks in every ward were not enough.

He said he is going to add 30 clerks in the 30 wards and they will be paid using the county government funds. 

"I'm going to facilitate those who will register as voters but the additional 30 clerks will be paid by the county government," Rasanga said.

His sentiments did not augur well with some residents.

Residents, led by human rights activist Chris Owala, termed Rasanga's proposal a misuse of public funds.

Owala said based on the Public Finance Management Act 2012, the governor cannot spend public funds without planning and the money should be allocated in the budget.

Rasanga, when asked whether he will fund the clerks from his own pocket, said his money will be used to give to those who will register as voters.

Hiring of 30 clerks for 30 days will cost Sh1.3 million.

Owala said such spending must go through public participation and thereafter be approved by the county assembly.

“Where does the governor think he is going to get that money when the IEBC exercise is not the mandate of the county government?” Owala posed.

He said IEBC is funded by the exchequer, not the county government. Owala said if the governor wants to help the IEBC, he can only do so by mobilising residents to register as voters.

“You can imagine if we allowed the counties to fund IEBC without due process,” Owala said.

The activist warned Rasanga that his remarks should remain a political statement, but if implemented, he will have to account for the money in court.

“Our hospitals are understaffed, but the governor is not thinking on how to employ more health workers but IEBC clerks. That is a misplaced priority,” Owala said.

He said the best Rasanga can do as governor is give the clerks incentives like food and transport support.

“There are no enough staff in all the Siaya health facilities and the governor is shouting at top of his voice on how he can hire clerks instead of health workers,” Owala wondered.

Kut Ochong, an aspirant in Alego Usonga, said Rasanga should not be involved in such activities.

“That is like an act of using government machinery to campaign and bribing IEBC clerks using county coffers,” Kut said.

Siaya county IEBC manager Ruth Kulundu said on Monday that they had requested the governor to support them with a few logistics.

"We requested assistance in line with mobility, as our clerks are forced to move from one place to the other. Anyone of goodwill can help, not necessarily the governor," she said.

Kulundu said if the governor can afford to support extra clerks without bending the law, misusing county coffers or as a campaign tool, then the better.

She said they are allowed to partner with county governments in many spheres and they welcome any support from stakeholders.

Edited by A.N