CRA mediates Tolgos, Marakwet MCAs' Sh3.7bn budget row

Budget row in Elgeyo Marakwet sparked differences between Governor, MCAs and Senator Murkomen.

In Summary

• Technical team formed to review and rationalise budget in order to help bridge deficits.

• Tolgos has demanded the assembly reduces its Sh566 million budget to help finance deficits, but MCAs rejected the proposal. 

Governor for Elgeyo Marakwet Alex Tolgos after a meeting in Iten town on September 6
TRUCE: Governor for Elgeyo Marakwet Alex Tolgos after a meeting in Iten town on September 6

The budget stalemate at the Elgeyo Marakwet county will be resolved by a technical committee of members from the executive and the county assembly.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos signed an agreement mediated by the Commission on Revenue Allocation over the budget stalemate with MCAs. 

The governor and the ward reps met at the CRA offices in Nairobi and resolved to form the committee to deal with the budget crisis.  

The team will have two representatives each from the governor’s office, the county assembly, CRA and the office of the Controller of Budget.

Tolgos had demanded that the assembly reduces its budget of Sh566 million to help finance a Sh200 million deficit for his administration.

But the MCAs rejected the move accusing the governor of mismanaging the county causing the financial crisis.

Senator Kipchumba Murkomen has been sucked into the dispute with the governor accusing him planning to impeach him using the assembly.

MCAs had ignored the governor's reservations and passed the budget and the Appropriations Bill for 2019-20.

Tolgos then refused to sign necessary warrants to allow access to county funds until the budget deficit is dealt with.

“It has been agreed that the governor will sign the warrant to enable the county government access funds,” said part of the agreement signed by both parties.

Tolgos, Majority leader at the assembly Nathan Chelanga, CRA Chairperson Jane Kiringai and Waweru Tuti, a legal official from the office of the Controller of Budget, signed the agreement.

“The technical committee will review and rationalise the budgets of the county assembly and the county executive with a view to bridging the deficit in the county executive’s recurrent budget,” read part of the agreement.

The assembly has demanded a review of the staffing at the county government to remove ghost workers blamed for ballooning the wage bill.

MCAs also complained of poor relations with the governor’s office and decline in the county's development budget.

The ward reps led by speaker Kiplagat Sabulei had rejected all the demands by the governor to cut the assembly budget and use the money to hire extra staff and pay other essential costs.

Sabulei and his deputy Christopher Chemosong accused the governor and his senior officers of illegally hiring their relatives causing a bloated workforce.

“The governor is asking for more money yet he has not explained why the county did not absorb more than Sh1 billion last financial year,” Sabulei said.

Tolgos, however, accused Murkomen of backing and funding the MCAs to undermine him.

The governor has insisted that the county needs an extra Sh1.5 billion to be able to operate effectively arguing that the Sh3.7 billion was inadequate.

“We have asked the CRA to review its revenue sharing formula so that small counties like ours do not suffer from little allocations every year,” Tolgos said.

He questioned why more money was allocated to the assembly than the development allocation to the county government.

(edited by O. Owino)