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January 17, 2019

Kitale hospital stalls as leaders differ on budget

Governor Khaemba leads visitors at the hospital project on June 3rd last year
Governor Khaemba leads visitors at the hospital project on June 3rd last year

A row among leaders in Trans Nzoia has stalled the construction of the Sh1 billion county referral hospital in Kitale, thus frustrating  Governor Patrick Khaemba’s healthcare agenda.

The project may now be probed by the Ethic and Anti-corruption Commission after area Senator Mike Mbito and some residents demanded an investigation.

Governor Khaemba has now threaten to sell off the project and recover the more than Sh800 million so far spent in the project.

MCAs allocated Sh200 million to complete the project instead of the Sh330 million requested by the executive.

“We will auction the building and cancel the project, ” an angry Khaemba said in Kitale on July 14 after  MCAs rejected the budget plan for the hospital.

Speaker Joshua Werunga and youth leaders have, however, asked the MCAs to support the completion of the hospital.

Governor Khaemba has meet county officials to unlock the row  but Senator Mbito wants action against him for wasting public resources on the project.

Khaemba said his interest was to develop a modern health facility that would ease the burden on residents of Trans Nzoia and the neighbouring areas.

“Our people have to travel to Eldoret for specialised care. My plan has been that we get the best facilities in Kitale at the referral hospital,” he told the Star on the phone.

Already, several donors had begun donating facilities and equipment.

Mbito on Monday said the governor’s plan to sell the hospital came too late, as a lot of money had already been wasted on the facility.  He spoke in Kitale.

This is the second time there are disagreements about the project. Two years ago, there was controversy over claims that the county had inflated the cost of purchasing the land on which the project was being built, as well as the building cost.

The county bought the land from a private developer at sh 185 million sparking of a row that ended up in courts.

The project was due to be completed this year and Mbito said there was no public participation in the project before it was initiated.



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