Mandera elders wade into Budget debate

Thursday March 9 2017

Mr Abdullahi Issack flanked by elders speaks to

Mr Abdullahi Issack flanked by elders speaks to press in Mandera town on March 9, 2017. The elders asked MCAs to rescind their decision to reject supplementary budget. PHOTO |MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Elders in Mandera have waded into the controversy surrounding the rejection of Sh1.7 billion supplementary budget as Senator Billow Kerrow supported the assembly’s decision.

On Thursday, the elders allied to Governor Ali Roba asked MCAs to rethink their decision and put the interests of the local community first.

Ward representatives rejected the budget that was to be used to mitigate the effects of drought last week.

Mr Abdullahi Issack, an elder said, “we want the MCAs to get back together, put the interest of the locals first and approve the supplementary budget to cushion drought.”

Mr Issack, a former Mandera county council chairman said, the MCAs’ decision has put many lives at risk in the county.

They spoke at the end a consultative meeting bringing together elders from all the five communities living in Mandera County.

“All clan elders are here and we have agreed with one voice and demand that MCAs rescind their decision without external interference so that funds for drought can be raised,” he said.

Governor Roba had said the supplementary budget was to mitigate drought and pay pending bills.

But in a statement, Senator Kerrow said the assembly was justified in trashing the proposed supplementary budget under the prevailing circumstances.

“They should further do an intensive analysis and review of expenditure for the past nine months of this financial year to determine if the funds were used for the purposes for which they were voted,”

said Mr Kerrow.

The senator argued that no single tender has been awarded nine months into the financial year for the Sh5 billion voted for development expenditure in 2016/17.

“As the elections loom, its time MCAs prove they are equal to the task and prevent the plunder of our resources,” said Mr Kerrow.

According to Senator Kerrow, the county executive while revising the original budget, short-changed locals by removing Sh23 million for youth, women and the disabled, another Sh50 million for bursary and Sh6m for mock exams in schools.

“Why take away Sh300 million for Rhamu IDPs, Sh15 million for trade and cooperative loans to entrepreneurs and Sh97 million for construction works in Mandera and El Wak hospitals,” wondered Mr Kerrow.