• Former ward representatives will work as community subcounty administrators in charge empowerment projects.
• Senator wants County Public Service Board chairperson summoned by the Senate to throw light on the public service structures
The Kakamega government has hired former MCAs in what is seen as Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s preparation for the 2022 polls.
Oparanya has declared his interest in the presidency. He is serving his second and final term as the county chief. The Constitution allows only two terms for the governorship.
The county administration has deployed 16 of the former ward representatives as community subcounty administrators in charge of the county youth and women empowerment programmes.
The devolved unit will spend Sh800,000 a month on their monthly salaries, with each earning Sh50,000.
Residents question why such money cannot be invested in crucial sectors such as health, agriculture or early childhood development and education. They say some county employees are underpaid, despite their critical roles. An ECDE teacher, for instance, earns Sh8,000 a month.
Some politicians have, however, welcomed the move. Former nominated MCA Alex Khamasi said former ward reps have been suffering and deserve to be considered for jobs.
At the 2017 election, residents voted out 45 of the 60 ward representatives who had been elected in 2013. They accused them of nonperformance.
Yesterday, some of those considered for the posts confirmed their appointments. Others declined to comment for fear of reprisal.
Kakamega has been criticised for allocating more than half of its annual budget for recurrent expenditures, leaving a paltry sum for development. The new appointments will worsen the situation, to the suffering of residents. It will be difficult for growth projects to keep pace with the burgeoning wage bill.
Besides the new positions, the county has employed 12 subcounty administrators, 60 ward administrators and recently hired 400 community unit administrators.
Yesterday, Senator Cleophas Malala said the creation of new positions for political cronies amounts to an abuse of office.
He plans to have the Senate summon County Public Service Board chairperson Rodah Masaviru to cast light on the public service structures that were issued by the Transition Authority.
“We want to know whether the positions dished out to the former MCAs exist in the structure of governance, whether they were budgeted for, and establish whether the process of hiring was competitive,” Malala said.
He cautioned the county government against digressing from its core devolution mandate by rewarding friends and political loyalty using taxpayer money.
“You can't just wake up and hire like that. Even if it was by appointment, you need another body to approve,” the lawmaker said.
(Edited by F'Orieny)