The Senate Finance committee wants construction work on non-core infrastructure projects in counties halted.
In 2015 the Salaries and Remuneration Commission issued guidelines on renting houses for governors, deputy governors, and county assembly speakers. But the SRC also instructed that the counties should build or acquire residences for these officers by June 2019.
The Senate committee’s fundamental problem is that there is no standardisation in price or design for these non-essential buildings. Prices range from Sh214 million for the deputy governor’s residence in Kilifi to Sh80 million for the speaker’s house in Uasin Gishu.
In the old days the Public Works Department would construct identical houses for government officers from the Provincial Commissioner down. In the colonial period even the governor’s upcountry bungalows were built by the PWD.
The PWD houses were not glamorous but they were functional and economical.
The Senate is right to point out this discrepancy and potential waste of county funds. Let’s have a standard design and costing for all houses for governors, deputy governors and speakers.
Quote of the day: "Shaking hands with the Queen of England was a long way from being forced to sit in the colored section of the bus going into downtown Wilmington, North Carolina."
She became the first black athlete to win the Wimbledon tennis championships on 6 July, 1957