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Fed up Nyanza voters send nearly all MCAs home

Voters in three counties have exacted their revenge on ward representatives accused of under-performance, misuse of public funds and sometimes behaving dishonourably.

In Kisumu and Homa Bay counties, only four MCAs out of 75 survived the public rage at the ballot last week while in Siaya County, only seven out of 30 MCAs were re-elected.

Among those sent home by voters were all the majority and minority leaders who served in the first term of the devolved governments.

In Kisumu, only veteran politician Prisca Juma of Kaloleni/Shauri Moyo, West Kisumu ward rep Paul Okiri and a nominated MCA made it back to the assembly. During their term in office, the MCAs were regularly put on the spot for poor performance, with only a few bills being passed, most of which were said to be below par.

Interviews by The Standard with locals and activists established that voters were unhappy with the performance of the majority of the MCAs.

Peter Ochieng, a voter in Market Milimani, said the majority focused on enriching themselves.

“As we speak, we do not know of any laws that the outgoing MCAs helped to enact,” said Mr Ochieng.

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The MCAS, who were expected to play an oversight role, were accused of being asleep on the job as public resources were plundered.

Several raids

 Damning reports from the Auditor General and several raids and investigations by other agencies such as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the police unearthed several cases of corruption in various county assemblies.

Late last month, Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo criticised the assemblies for their excessive spending in the first nine months of the 2016-2017 financial year.

In her report titled ‘County Governments Budget Review’ for the first nine months, Ms Odhiambo noted that spending on domestic and foreign travel in Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay counties had spiralled.

In Siaya, expenditure for domestic and foreign travel amounted to Sh185.85 million, with the assembly consuming about Sh59.87 million. Another Sh125.98 million was spent by the county executive.

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“This was an increase of 26.7 per cent compared to Sh146.73 million spent in a similar period of the 2015-2016 financial year,” said Ms Odhiambo.

And late last year, Auditor General Edward Ouko placed all county assemblies on the spot for wasteful spending, saying the bulk of the money was used on MCA allowances.

Beyond budget

In the 2014-2015 financial year, he said, the Kisumu, Homa Bay and Siaya county assemblies could not account for millions that they spent beyond their budget, with Kisumu spending Sh22 million above its allocation.

As a result of the negative reports that featured prominently during their term, voters lost faith in the majority of their MCAs.

In Kisumu, supremacy wrangles, lavish foreign trips and frosty relationships between MCAs and the executive were the order of the day.

In the first term, the assembly had three speakers, five clerks, three majority leaders and three minority leaders as the wrangles raged and even went to court. 

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