Kakamega traders bicker over bus fund

Saturday January 12 2019

 Joseph Oyolo

Kakamega Traders Sacco chairman Joseph Oyolo addresses the press on January 11, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Funds contributed by politicians to help purchase a bus for small-scale traders in Kakamega has sparked a dispute between the business people in the town.

The traders are divided into two factions with each group accusing the other of misusing the more than Sh3.2 million that was contributed during a funds drive attended by leaders including ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Senators James Orengo (Siaya) and Cleophas Malala and a host of MPs.

“During the harambee, Mr Moi contributed Sh1 million, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli Sh500,000, ODM party leader Raila Odinga sent Sh200,000, I gave out Sh300,000 among other contributors. The whole amount was Sh3.2 million,” said Senator Malala who organised the funds drive.

But a group led by Kakamega Traders Sacco chairman Joseph Oyolo has accused the Kakamega Traders’ Association chairman Bernard Oundo of failing to account for the money he collected from the traders prior to the harambee.

“We want openness in running of the group because 99 percent of the money that was used to purchase the Kakamega Traders Bus was from the contribution by politicians who were invited by Senator Malala.

"Where is the money that we contributed as members of the group plus other well-wishers?” questioned Mr Oyolo when he led other traders in a demonstration in Kakamega town Saturday.

According to the group’s secretary general Alexander Dekas, over Sh1.7 million was not accounted for claiming the group chairman, Mr Oundo presented only Sh100,000 to the committee that was mandated to purchase the bus.

“This is the money we are asking Mr Oundo to come out and explain to members about its whereabouts. If it will not be explained explicitly, then we will have no option but to take legal action against Mr Oundo,” said Mr Dekas.

Mr Dekas said money contributed by traders, friends and well-wishers and additional Sh200,000 from groups in over ten markets centers in the municipality plus Sh150,000 was not accounted for by the traders’ group chairman.

 “But when we ask for accountability of this money, we get labelled as people who want to oust him from leadership of the group,” he said.

 Mr Oyolo said the traders were not privy to the documents of the purchase of the bus and asked Mr Oundo avail to the group members the logbook of the vehicle plus the sale agreement.

 The irate members now want Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to take up the matter and institute audit of the group’s books of accounts.

 Mr Oundo claimed the Oyolo-led faction was fighting him to take over the leadership of the group after it has generated some money.

“When we had nothing in the group’s account, nobody wanted to be in the forefront of the group’s leadership. Today, everyone is fighting to be in top leadership because the group account is growing,” said Mr Oundo.

He claimed Mr Oyolo spearheaded the purchase of the traders' bus from a local businessman in Kakamega town against the wish of majority of the group members who wanted a bus from Nairobi.