The row over huge allowances earned by members of a committee in the Embu County Assembly has deepened after grumbling MCAs boycotted Thursday afternoon sitting, vowing to cripple legislative business.
Some MCAs have vowed to shoot down any motion, Bill or any legislative agenda until the composition of the assembly budget committee is reviewed and their number reduced from 11 to nine.
Kyeni North MCA Patrick Mukavi had earlier revealed that they were unhappy that committee members had been camping in Nairobi for the last three weeks, earning a per diem allowance of Sh14,000 per day.
He said their absence had occasioned a quorum hitch for both committee and plenary sittings.
There had been disquiet since Wednesday following claims that budget committee members had earned a minimum of Sh500,000 since October 2017 while some MCAs took home as little as Sh25,000.
The aggrieved MCAs arrived at the assembly precincts Thursday ahead of the sitting scheduled for 2:30pm but refused to get into the House, despite several promptings.
Only five MCAs who included Minority Leader Lenny Masters Mwaniki (Kiambere), Deputy Majority Leader Murithi Kiura (Mbeti South), Patrick Mukavi (Kyeni North), Phillip Nzangi (Makima) and Nominated MCA Sicily Warue were in the assembly.
Speaker Josiah Thiriku said a proper session could only proceed if the assembly had a quorum of 11.
On realising that there were only five MCAs present, Mr Thiriku twice ordered that the quorum bell be rung for 10 minutes but the protesting MCAs stayed put and locked themselves in the assembly’s VIP lounge.
Mr Thiriku adjourned the Assembly’s sittings for a two-week short recess until April 9.
On Wednesday, the ward reps had frustrated efforts to legislate two Bills to protest against what they said was lavish expenditure by the Budget and Appropriations committee in subsistence allowances.
The MCAs shot down attempts to introduce the Embu County Tourism Bill, 2018, and the County Investment and Development Corporation Bill, 2018 in the committee of the whole assembly and a subsequent third reading.
Mr Mukavi said the 11 MCAs in the Budget Committee is superfluous and encourages wasteful spending by the county assembly.
The MCAs also demanded for a week’s sitting in Nairobi to familiarise themselves with the amendments proposed to clauses in the two Bills sponsored by the Trade, Tourism, Investment and Industrialisation Committee.
Minority Leader Lenny Masters said MCAs from other sectoral committees felt they were being used as rubberstamps in the assembly while members of the Budget Committee “raided the county treasury”.