Stop the blackmail and allow room for dialogue - Raila tells Taita Taveta Assembly

The ward reps at loggerheads with executive over the 2019/20 budget.

In Summary

• The governor refused to sign Sh 5.6 billion budget amended by the County Assembly.

• Samboja has started collecting signatures in support of county dissolution with the aim of getting 18,000 signatures.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses a special sitting of the Taita Taveta County Assembly in Wundanyi town.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses a special sitting of the Taita Taveta County Assembly in Wundanyi town.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga has  asked the County Assembly of Taita Taveta to put aside their differences and dialogue.

This comes after a series of standoffs between governor Granton Samboja and the ward reps.

Raila while meeting a delegation from the county said it is unfortunate that majority of MCAs want to control the funds allocated to their wards rather than do their work which is to oversight projects.

He said instead the members of the County Assembly should explore alternative ways of finding a lasting solution to the current situation.

“If the MCAs will not agree to talks meditated by the senate then we have agreed to leave the fate of the county to the people,”he said

He added, “Devolution was meant to bring services to people but unfortunately its not the case as we can see abuse and the agendas set are not accomplished".

Raila who doubles up as the African Union special envoy for Infrastructure while citing the  2017 Court of Appeal ruling that kicked out lawmakers from any involvement in the management of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) said they have established that the control powers the legislators awarded themselves on CDF are a reserve of the Executive, and thus unconstitutional.

“The idea of blackmail will not help particularly when it comes to the process of budgeting, where you will find that the legislature is trying to abuse their role of oversight and take over the role of budgeting,” he said.

 Raila's sentiments comes even as Governor Samboja  announced his plans to dissolve the county after declining to sign Sh5.6 billion budget amended by the County Assembly

Samboja has already collected  signatures in support of the county dissolution

“As much as there is a push for dialogue, you can only push for the dialogue when both parties are sincere with each other not another party which is hiding other cards under the table,” Samboja said.

“We in the County Government are of the belief that the best present we can give our residents, is for us to seek a fresh mandate for the electorate and we have asked our Party Leader to support us in this bid,” the embattled Governor stressed.

Last week  while  signing the petition at his Wundanyi office , Samboja accused the MCAs of holding his administration hostage.

Samboja said the MCAs were hell-bent to loot money meant for development thus denying residents the fruits of devolution.

 "The county assembly demands Sh40 million for each ward to the Ward Development Fund, which means the county government will be forced to disburse Sh800 million to each ward. This is 15 per cent of the total budget, against what the law provides at a maximum of three per cent," Samboja said.