The proposal to spend Sh20 million to build a gate for the Nyeri governor’s office was a typing error, Governor Mutahi Kahiga has said.
This comes as outrage poured in over the county government’s spending plan.
However, Mr Kahiga defended plans to spend Sh200 million on the governor’s residence saying the money will also cater for the deputy governor’s home.
Mr Kahiga said his office already has a gate and the Sh20 million entry in this year’s Annual Development Plan was a mistake.
“The gate is already complete and we are not going to work on it. What was in the ADP was a typing error,” he said.
Former Governor Nderitu Gachagua’s administration built the same gate.
Governor Kahiga, angered by the criticism emanating from reports on the proposed expenditure, said that his administration was only complying with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s directive to build a house for county top officials.
“The governor should not be attacked for complying with the directive. We are not putting a house for me because I already have a home but we are building the governor’s official residence,” he said.
In a circular dated August 25, 2017 addressed to county secretaries SRC asked counties to prioritise the construction of official residences for governor, his deputy and the speaker.
Mr Kahiga insisted that the 47 counties will have to build the governor’s and deputy governor’s residences despite the implication it will have on the taxpayers.
Counties have until July next year to build houses when the county bosses and their deputies will cease to receive house allowances.
He clarified that the county will spend Sh220 million to construct a new office block to accommodate his 10 county executives.
“Our offices are scattered all over the town but with a new office block we will have the executives working under one roof. This will give the residents easy access to all offices and improve service delivery,” he said.
While welcoming the public to give their views on the plan during public participation meetings to be held on Friday, the county boss vowed to ensure prudent use of public funds.
Mr Amos Muchiri, a resident of Nyeri Town, said the Sh20 million was enough to tarmac at least two kilometres of road and aid in the completion of the Nyeri open air market.
“I do not think the county needs an upgrade of the gate since the one we have is serving the purpose well enough. Though it is just a proposal in the budget that follows a long rigorous process before approval, it is a misplaced priority,” he said.
The proposed construction of a Sh20 million gate at the county headquarters has ignited a heated debate on social media platforms.
Residents accused the governor and his administration of having misplaced priorities.
Mr Jack Warui noted that the gate does not need an upgrade.
“This is too much. Just before the 2013 elections the municipal council put a new gate. Three years later the Gachagua administration constructed another gate and erected a perimeter wall. Then now Mr Kahiga wants another gate,” he said.
Mr Rahima Shaban wrote on Facebook that it was shameful for leaders to allocate Sh200 million towards the governor’s official residence.
“It’s a shame we continue to vote for such individuals who only think of how to squander and plunder public funds with no accountability,” he said.
Mr Kenneth Kariithi said, “How impactful to humanity are these self-gratification wants? The Sh200 million and Sh20 million can be used to add value to the coffee and dairy sectors.”