Governor Mwangaza seeks clarity from Budget Controller on Ward Fund

The tussle between beleaguered Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza and her county assembly members has taken a new turn as the governor seeks clarification from Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango on the validity of the MCAs’ demands for the establishment of a Ward Fund.

MCAs are threatening to reject County Executive Committee nominees if the Fund is not set up.

The governor stated in a letter dated October 27 that she thought it was unlawful for the Members of County Assembly to ask for the distribution of ward funds to each of the county’s 45 wards.

“While the primacy of equitable allocation of county revenues, development projects, and access to socio-economic opportunities to all wards and Meru county citizens is a constitutional requirement, I believe the demands by Members of Meru County for an MCA-managed Ward Fund may be an illegality and therefore unconstitutional,” Mwangaza said.

The County Governments Act, the Public Finance Management Act, and the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, according to her, would all be broken by the creation of such a fund.

Mwangaza continues by stating that such a setup would jeopardise and jeopardise the separation of powers between Meru county’s executive and legislative branches.

“In view of the above, and in order to get the correct legal and administrative position on this matter, I’m seeking your advisory opinion on whether Members of the Meru County Assembly can legally be allocated ward funds to be administered by themselves at the ward level,” Kawira states in the letter.

According to Kawira, the MCAs have demanded the establishment of the Ward Development Fund severally claiming it will enable them to fulfill their pre-campaign pledges to the electorate.

She said the MCAs have threatened not to approve the proposed nominees of the County Executive Committee members submitted to them over two weeks ago.

“The argument by the members is that during their campaigns, they made promises to their electorate which they now desire to implement using dedicated allocations to the ward fund,” she said.

However, the governor holds that the right way for the MCAs to include their development projects in the budget would be through County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).

Mwangaza pledged to provide KES 100 million in every ward in her manifesto, further fueling the calls for the establishment of the fund.

The governor has had a flurry of scares since her swearing-in. Barely six months into her tenure, she is facing a possible ouster from office after a resident on Thursday filed an impeachment petition in the County Assembly. Salesio Mutuma Thuranira wants the governor to be impeached due to “gross misconduct and abuse of office”.

He accuses the governor among other things of flouting the law in the appointment of the Meru County Revenue Board general manager and for violating the Constitution by appointing her relatives in government.

This includes the appointment of her husband, Murega Baichu, as the Meru Youth Service (MYS) patron.

“The husband to her PA is the official diver of the governor. Her cousin is the government spokesman and her husband is the MYS patron which is clearly nepotism an illegality and irregularity,” Mutuma said in his petition.

MCAs will consider the petition next week to see if it fits the criteria for debate.

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