• He said the ward representatives have agitated for the grant since 2013.
• The Salaries and Remuneration Commission has already approved car grants for MCAs and speakers.
Busia county assembly speaker Bernard Wamalwa has defended MCAs demand for a car grant.
He said ward reps, like MPs and senators, have a right to access the grant.
Wamalwa said it was wrong for critics to argue that Busia MCAs on Tuesday endorsed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2020 just because they have been promised a car grant.
Each of the 2,234 MCAs is set to receive Sh2 million to facilitate their acquisition of cars.
Wamalwa said the ward representatives have agitated for the grant since 2013.
Those arguing that MCAs are rallying support for the BBI initiative endorsement because they have been promised money for acquiring cars are only politicking, the speaker said.
“MPs have been receiving car grants since 1963 when Kenya became independent and MCAs have said that they also be given a car grant because they have a right to get the grant. This is not something new,” Wamalwa said.
“A car grant is given to all senators in Kenya, and it applies to all the MPs. For those who have been following the issue of car grant, we have been having meetings with President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga since 2013 over the same.”
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission has approved car grants for MCAs and speakers of county assemblies.
Commission chairperson Lynn Mengich on February 9, in a memo to Council of Governors chairman Martin Wambora, said counties will be given implementation guidelines.
The development came after Wambora wrote to the SRC requesting similar benefits for MCAs as their counterparts at the National Assembly.
“You know very well when we were in Mombasa in 2015, the President said the issue of car grant for MCAs will be solved,” Wamalwa said.
“So it is not true that BBI is being passed because of car grant. As leaders from Busia, we have talked to our people, and they have said they want BBI to pass and as their leaders we have resolved that we will also support the BBI.”
The SRC after the grant’s approval agreed to convert the car loan facility into a car grant, which it said would come at no extra expense from the Sh4.5 billion allocated.
The benefit, however, is only applicable to current speakers and MCAs.
Some MCAs, before the SRC approval of the grant, had told President Uhuru Kenyatta that the ward reps be given the grant in exchange for their support for the BBI Bill, which is now in the regional assemblies.
Wamalwa said Busia MCAs overwhelmingly voted in favour of the BBI report because the document seeks to channel more funds to the counties as well as the wards.
He said if counties receive 35 per cent of the total annual budget as proposed in the BBI report, more development will be realised at the grassroots.
The Ward Development Fund, which is also captured in the BBI document, will ensure impactful development is realised in all wards across the country.
The speaker called on MPs from Busia to emulate what the MCAs in the county did by supporting the BBI bill.
He said the county’s seven MPs should unite in drumming up support for BBI's passage when it is subjected to a referendum.
The MPs are Oku Kaunya (Teso North), Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South), John Bunyasi (Nambale), Joseph Oyula (Butula), Geoffrey Odanga (Matayos), Wilberforce Mudenyo (Funyula) and Raphael Wanjala (Budalang'i).
“I want to tell our MPs that as Busia MCAs we have taken our stand. We are now calling on them at the National Assembly to emulate what the people of Busia have done by endorsing the BBI document,” Wamalwa said.
“Our representative in the Senate should also support the BBI the way the ward representatives from Busia have done.”
Assembly majority leader Kassaman Ekesa said with the channelling of more resources to the grassroots, if the BBI is approved by Kenyans, people in upcountry will get the opportunity to discuss at various levels the projects they would want implemented for their benefit.