VOI, Kenya, Jul 2 – Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja on Tuesday kicked off a signature collection exercise to dissolve the devolved unit.
Samboja, who is serving his first term as the governor, said he had decided to petition President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the county government over what he termed as harassment from the Members of the County Assembly.
The MCAs and the Executive have disagreed over a Sh5.6 billion budget for this 2019/20 financial year, Samboja declining to sign budget estimates presented to him on Friday last week.
“I have today decided, in accordance to the constitution, to call all county residents to petition President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the county of Taita Taveta to give us a fresh start,” said Samboja during a media briefing in Voi.
According to Samboja, the MCAs slashed the county budget estimates, hence denying county government development.
He said the MCAs claim that there are about 1,600 casual labourers at the county, who are paid Sh270 million annually.
“The casuals the MCAs are talking about are nurses and Early Childhood Education (ECD) teachers. Do they want us to sack the nurses and teachers, whereas we are already experiencing a deficit of over 400 nurses?” posed Samboja.
The Taita Taveta County has 180,000 registered voters; therefore, Samboja needs only 18,000 signatures to petition President Kenyatta to dissolve the county.
“MCAs have stood in a way, the county government failed to pass the budget estimates on time. They have increased the department allocations by a uniform 10 per cent. The MCAs are demanding 41.6 million in each ward, which means we will be forced to disburse up to Sh830million which is 15 per cent of total budget estimates against what the law provides at 3 per cent,” said Samboja.
Samboja said the county hospitals do not have adequate medical supplies whereas MCAs are demanding to allocate monies to less prioritized agendas.
The Governor said he has the support of Senator Jones Mwaruma and Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako to dissolve the county government.
However, MCAs accused the Governor of allocating funds to his office, which he has failed to properly account for.
MCAs Christopher Mwambingu, the Chairperson of Assembly Public Account, County Assembly Speaker Meshak Maghanga and Deputy Speaker Crispus Masaga said the governor needs to work closely with the Assembly.
“We do not oppose the Governor. We have called him to our meetings, but he has refused to show up,” said Assembly speaker Maghanga.
Rose Shingira, the Vice Chairperson of the Budget Committee, said the governor has allocated Sh11 million to his communication department and Sh26 million to his personal lawyer.
“Tourism department was allocated Sh4 million. Between Tourism department and the county communication department, which is more important? We also refused to approve the Sh26 million meant for the lawyer, that is why we are seeing all this drama,” she said.