Newly elected Mandera County Speaker Mohamed Adan Khalif has promised to ensure that top in the assembly’s agenda is development and service delivery to locals.
In an interview with Nation Mr Khalif, a career businessman, said Mandera performed poorly in the first five years of devolution due non-commitment by MCAs.
“We had so many problems in the past five years mainly because devolution was new and the team then never concentrated on the task at hand,” he said.
Mr Khalif said most of the funds received by the Mandera County government within the period were wasted or ended up in the pockets of individuals.
“As (former) Town Council, we used the Sh70 million budget very well and there was water in the taps but currently with a budget of Sh10 billion our taps are dry,” he said.
Mr Khalif believes his experience as the chairman of the defunct town council puts him in a better position to serve as the Speaker of the assembly.
He said Mandera residents have for the first time elected “the right MCAs” who are committed to work for the people.
“We are having qualified MCAs in the assembly who are ready to change Mandera for better unlike in the past assembly,” he said.
He said it is not clear how many Bills the last assembly debated and passed.
“The former team was only complying with the Constitution (in order) to get funds from the National Treasury but nothing else,” he said.
He accused the former assembly of failing to protect the less fortunate in society after it failed to create laws on the funding of early childhood education, disabled people and other marginalised groups in society.
“We have no law passed on environment, nothing on health and many other functions of county governments,” a soft-spoken Mr Khalif said.
The Speaker, who is affiliated to the Economic Freedom Party (EFP), says he is not in office to battle with Governor Ali Roba but to serve residents.
“I was not installed to fight the governor but we have to respect every arm (of government) and work for the good of this county and we shall do things right,” he said.
Mr Khalif warned that the era of the executive misusing the assembly is over since every individual now understands what devolution means.
While urging the executive to get people’s priorities right, Mr Khalif said the voice of the electorate should be listened to.
“We want to see a county government that listens to the people and serve them according to their needs and not about what an individual thinks while seated in an office,” he said.
He said the assembly will not hesitate in playing its role when things are not done in the right way by the executive.
He said he returned to politics after the elders’ council and the residents asked him to serve them.
“I returned to politics after the council of elders, the resident of Mandera and the EFP leadership approached me to serve Mandera as their speaker,” said Mr Khalif, a strong believer in negotiated democracy.
He said after the elections on August 8 where EFP felt they were short-changed by Jubilee, the party leadership approached and proposed him for the Speaker’s post for fairness to the locals.
He said the community called him back from political retirement after serving as a councillor for about 15 years.
Mr Khalif, whose company had been contracted by the Ali Roba administration to tarmac the 21-kilometre road in Mandera Town, said lack of commitment by the county government stalled the project.
“Several issues have delayed the project starting with the design, security and budgetary issues in Mandera,” said Mr Khalif.
The new Speaker has since resigned as a director of Frontier, a company contracted to tarmac the Mandera Town main road.
“I don’t want to involve myself in any kind of business with the county government and that is why I resigned as the director of that company,” he said.