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Historic Moment as Kitui Assembly rejects Ngilu’s supplementary budget

The County Assembly of Kitui has rejected governor Charity Ngilu’s supplementary budget terming it illegal and a conduit to plunder public resources.  This came in a historic six- hour emotive debate on Thursday (June 27th, 2019) that saw a unanimous shot down of the supplementary budget.
The MCAs said the budget was a plot to steal from the public as it had sought to revote monies made for development into the recurrent basket – a move that meant that all the funds allocated for development would instead be channeled to salaries and emoluments with fears emerging that the money could be siphoned into paying alleged illegal and ghost workers working in the county executive – all in the name of casual workers.  
The Ward Reps while rejecting the motion on the supplementary budget which was moved by the Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Boniface Kilaa Kasina (Tseikuru) raised alarm over the bloating wage bill which had shot from Kshs 2 billion to Kshs 4.5 billion under Mrs. Ngilu’s administration. They calling for freezing of jobs recruitment in the county executive until an audit is done to weed out the ghost workers.
The debate on the floor of the House was marked with colour and drama as speaker after the other tore apart the supplementary budget report and what they termed as the “insensitive and inept” county executive. It was also refreshing moment as the MCAs quoted different verses of the Holy Book in an effort to affirm their stand with the suffering Kitui populace. The debate was however characterized with all manner of interjections with members standing on a point of order as well as unusual reference to the law all in an effort to defend their arguments.
Some of the Ward Reps leaned to the governor and especially those of her minority Narc Party   struggled in futility to defend the supplementary budget but were defeated as the majority had their way in burying into oblivion the document. But her close ally and the Minority Leader John Mbaki Kisangau (Yatta/Kwavonza) went against the grain and objected the supplementary budget.  
The pace towards defeating the supplementary budget which was the second in the 2018/2019 financial year and the sixth one since governor Ngilu came into reign was set by fiercest and eloquent Kwamutonga/Kithumula MCA David Thuvi who opened the debate by negating the report.
Earlier on Migwani MCA Philip Nguli had a hard time seconding the motion as he struggled to convince the House to support the motion.
The following are some of the nearly verbatim excerpts of the debate:      
 David Thuvi (Kithumula/Kwamutonga Ward, Wiper): Mr Speaker the Auditor General in his report pronounced himself on salaries for Kitui County. The report has revealed unauthorized engagement of casuals: an expenditure of Kshs.455Million basic wages for temporary employees engaged by the County Executive. The engagement letters and copies of their IDs were not availed for audit review. The casuals were paid in cash, making it impossible to authenticate the payments. And now here we are being told to approve the supplementary budget to allocate money to go and pay more salaries. I reject the supplementary budget Mr Speaker.
 Kasee Musya (Kisasi Ward, Wiper – Deputy Speaker): I stand guided by two issues Hon Speaker; spiritual issues and matters of law. I reject this supplementary budget because it is very clear that this House should uphold and protect the law. Hon speaker I keep on saying we are stuck as a county and we must move. We must make laws for sustainability. When you look at the report it is very clear that the law has been broken. (Applause).
Money has been moved from development to recurrent. We have to serve the people. Wages cannot be an emergency Hon Speaker. We cannot get stuck forever because of inefficiencies of the Executive arm. My people of Kisasi want earth dams, roads…I have to stand with my people. I won’t be intimidated by this rotten system! We must rise and protect our people. We are stuck because we are under a curse. Let the executive fix its mess Hon Speaker.
  Sylvester Munyalo (Matinyani Ward, Narc): Mr Speaker let us look at this supplementary budget with a sober mind. The people who shall be paid by monies allocated in this supplementary budget did not employ themselves Mr Speaker,  let us not punish them, but I must admit that there are people in the Executive arm who are not leading us to the promised land. We shall deal with those who are not working Mr Speaker. I support.
Jane Mutua (Kauwi Ward, Wiper): Thank you Mr Speaker. I want to start with a quote ‘If you know the right thing and don’t do it, it is better to die.’ Mr Speaker, this House will not allow itself to be used by the Executive to raid the development fund to pay salaries and wages. We have witnessed countless failures of this Executive…nothing seems right. Everybody in the village is crying for development. The people cannot see anything. I think the government should change their slogan from Mbee Nzei to Nzaa Nzei! Mr Speaker I reject the supplementary budget. (Applause)
Eliud Nding’uri (Ngomeni Ward, Wiper):  We want our people to see development projects Mr Speaker. The supplementary budget is not serving the interests of the common people. This House will not entertain any more supplementary budgets until the proposed projects in the main budget are done. Mr Speaker this Assembly should not be seen to be pushing for salaries and allowances as opposed to development. I want to believe the governor has failed…if it is not the governor then it is her gang of clueless advisors. I reject, Mr Speaker.
Alex Nganga (Miambani Ward, Narc – Deputy Minority Leader): Thank you Mr Speaker. I want to agree that the county Executive should refrain from moving funds for development to salaries. However let us not blame the government for employing its people. There is need to allocate funds for the Assembly’s oversight roles, we need to visit projects at village level. Real oversight cannot happen in the Assembly only. I support the supplementary budget Mr Speaker.
Nicholas Mwalali (Mbitini Ward, Wiper): Mr Speaker I am a member of the budget committee and I refused to sign this supplementary budget. The governor’s priorities are upside down…we are dealing with crooks and thieves Mr Speaker. We need to freeze the ongoing haphazard hiring…this Assembly will not approve money to pay goons and charlatans Mr Speaker. I continue to reject the supplementary budget.
James Nzamba (Mulango, Independent): Mr Speaker the county government’s development scorecard will be evaluated on the development projects done and not the salaries paid. This Assembly will not please the governor at the expense of the residents. Two years have gone to waste…people cannot feel or see any development.
Dr. Grace Mutua (Nominated Wiper): The supplementary budgets in this county have become an epidemic Mr Speaker. We need to find a way of curing this epidemic. When I look at the things being done by the Executive arm Mr Speaker, I ask myself if it is sickness or lack of capacity? Does the Executive lack competence? Mr Speaker I think we need to send some people in the Executive back to school, they are very incompetent and clueless…I reject the supplementary budget Hon. Speaker.  
James Munuve (Kanziko Ward, Wiper): Mr Speaker we have all followed the story of the Kakamega identical twins…I want to say that this Executive and corruption are identical twins. Two years of Ngilu’s leadership and there is nothing to show Mr Speaker! What we have is ballooning wage bill and unsustainable number of casuals, especially at the hospitals. We have over 400 casuals at Kitui referral hospital and one wonders what they do. 24 customer care attendants and hundreds of cleaners! The next financial year will not be business as usual Mr Speaker. We shall fire several incompetent officers from the Executive side. Let us discourage supplementary budgets. I reject this one Mr Speaker.
Alex Musili Ngau alias Kawaya (Nuu Ward, Jubilee): Asante Mheshimiwa Spika. Nashangaa... Itachukua muda gani kwa hii bunge kuendelea kuvunja sheria ili kuwafurahisha watu fulani serikalini? Hii bajeti ya ziada ni imetengenezwa tu ili kuendelea kupora fedha za umma (Applause).  Hii serikali ina nia ya kuwaibia wananchi. Hii serikali imeonyesha wazi inanuia kuwagonganisha wawakilishi wa wadi na wananchi. Lakini sharti tusimame imara na kuulinda ukweli ambao ndio utakaonufaisha umma. Hii ni serikali ambayo imejaa ukora mtupu  Mheshimiwa Spika. Nimenuua spika ambazo nitaziezeka juu ya gari yangu aina ya pickup na kuzuru wadi yangu nikiwaelezea wananchi kuhusu njama mbaya ya serikali ya kaunti. Napinga vikali hii hoja!
Mary Ndumbu (Nominated, Wiper): Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker I wish as a county we could deal with the dragon of corruption. The governor is blackmailing us, the governor is blackmailing this House Mr Speaker. We shall not be blackmailed by the executive…We need to get our priorities right as a county”
Ngui Kiruru (Nguni Ward, Wiper): Mr Speaker this county government needs to be in sync with the people’s needs. What the governor is doing is null and void. The movement of funds from development budget to recurrent opens doors for looting, Hon Speaker. Haphazard and unplanned hiring of casuals is killing development in this county! It is time for this House to liberate Kitui from thieves and goons….anybody found culpable shall be held accountable Mr Speaker, even if it is the governor herself. This supplementary budget must sink.
Antony Mbiti (Ikanga Ward, Jubilee): Mr Speaker, this House will not make laws and break the same. We shall uphold the rule of law. We need to see development going to the people, not creating jobs for a few individuals and goons. The so called KICOTEC and Crusher are not game changers as purported, Mr Speaker. Even the AI and Ndengu revolution are all failed projects. They are not in tandem with the spirit of devolution”
John Kisangau alias Mbaki (Yatta/Kwa Vonza – Minority Leader): Thank you Mr Speaker. Let me start by saying that today I want to speak as an elected leader representing the interests of Yatta/Kwavonza people and not as Minority Leader (Applause). The re-allocation of development funds to pay workers is not allowed. If the recurrent expenditure is not checked, there will be no development in this county Mr Speaker! For instance we have a staff member from my area who earns KSH150, 000 per month yet he has no responsibilities…he just idles in the office reading newspapers when I have a dispensary in my Ward that has no staff. Mr Speaker I’m losing confidence with this government.
 Mr Speaker, as a Minority leader, I have no proof that this government remits staff deductions to KRA, I have no evidence! I want to be genuine to the people who elected me…I will not come here to defend the government yet I’m not comfortable going to my Ward Mr Speaker. We have an arrogant Minister in charge of County Treasury.
I want to urge my deputy (Nganga)…let us support only that which benefits our people, otherwise we shall all be voted out! It is time for this House to stamp its authority Mr Speaker. No more supplementary budgets will be entertained in this House. Mr Speaker, I want for the first time in the history of this House to reject this... (Prolonged Applause)
Peter Kilonzo (Athi Ward, Wiper – Majority Leader): It is sad that the executive has been using Machiavellian, crafty and shrewd ways to con the public. Mary Nguli (CEC Finance) cannot be trusted to even run a kitchen budget (Applause)
This is a highly corrupt administration Mr Speaker. This administration and corruption are joined at the hip…I want to say this government will not see the next elections because people are tired and angered. In the next 6 months, if nothing is done, you will see a revolution Mr Speaker! There will be mass protests everywhere! (Applause)
This supplementary budget should not have come to this House. The governor had better listen to the people. I reject!”
After the Minority Leader pulled a surprise trigger of rejecting the supplementary budget, his deputy Alex Nganga was left void. He began shouting to the speaker a move that would prompt the Speaker to instruct the County Assembly’s orderlies to eject him from the house in company of his fellow Narc lieutenant Boniface Katumo (Kyangwithya West).  A few other Narc MCAs followed the duo in protest. When the Speaker put the Question there was a total silence for the hays as the nays unanimously carried the day – it was indeed historic!     

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