Meru senator’s plan for oversight of funds allocated to the County govt sparks mixed reactions
In the past week, we have witnessed a change in the political climate in Meru County due to Senator Kathuri’s statement that he will thoroughly carry out oversight of all funds allocated to the Meru County government.
According to the senator, each department in the County Government of Meru will have a professional member through the oversight fund which all Senators are expected to receive in the next financial year, 2023-2024. He added that the expert cabinet will enable him, as a senator, to see if all funds allocated in his county meet accountability standards, starting from the budgeting at the County Assembly all the way to development.
However, Kathuri’s plan evoked mixed feelings from Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza, her allies, and Meru residents. According to Governor Kawira, Kathuri is just playing political games, eyeing the gubernatorial seat come 2027, urging him to come out openly and declare his interests. She added that she is not afraid of his ideal plan for an oversight role, saying he can’t stop her from getting to Mashinani. Last week, the Meru County Assembly rejected Governor Kawira Mwangaza’s plan to spend KES 500 million to build houses for the poor in the 2023/2024 financial year. The MCAs, while passing the Annual Development Plan (ADP) 2023/2024, also docked KES 100 million from Mwangaza’s Sh200 million plan to buy cows for poor families.
Residents, led by the Chairman of persons living with disabilities, Mike Makarina, pointed out that Governor Kawira should not be afraid of the oversight cabinet to oversee her expenditure, saying some of her projects are questionable. But a number of MCAs and residents ask Kawira not to listen to Kathuri’s plan and continue with her work. Kathuri declined that he is doing this with his eyes on the gubernatorial seat in 2027, saying he is just carrying out his mandate as a senator, and he is yet to think about the top county position.
Senator Kathuri says it’s his role, as outlined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010, to be the watchdog of the people over huge funds channelled to support the county governments. They are tasked with overseeing the use of public funds by county governments. He urged leaders to stop interfering with his oversight role as it is his responsibility and cardinal role to shed light on the spending of the resources allocated to the Meru County Government, whose CEO is the Governor. He gave his commitment to the people of Meru that he will undertake his oversight role without any fear, favour, or preference. He added that this is his responsibility, and he can’t abdicate it because someone is uncomfortable, urging other senators across the country to adopt his idea.