Some residents of Taita Taveta County have backed Governor Granton Samboja’s push to dissolve the county government to pave way for fresh elections.
The move was announced by the governor on Tuesday afternoon after he fell out with Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) over a controversial Sh5.3 billion budget for the 2019-2020 financial year.
The main source of contention is the Sh830 million which the MCAs allocated themselves through the ward development fund.
Mr Samboja accused the county assembly of making it difficult for his government to function, saying the budget impasse would affect the smooth running of the county.
He said the current standoff will cripple various county departments and consequently hinder development plans in the county integrated development plan.
He also alleged consistent undermining of his administration’s development plans by MCAs.
At the centre of the power struggle between the governor and the MCAs are hundreds of community development projects ranging from water, roads, new early childhood education development centres, health facilities and other community infrastructure.
The residents have been complaining of lack of equipment and drugs in county hospitals, which forces them to seek treatment in private facilities.
Residents in far flung areas walk for long distances in search of water for both domestic use and for livestock.
“Both the county executive and the assembly are to blame for this impasse,” said Jennifer Mwambogho, a resident of Voi.
Ms Mwambogho said the two arms of government have neglected their roles and slept on their jobs.
She said the cosy relationship between the two separate arms of the county administration had hindered the MCAs from performing their oversight role.
“The MCAs had been pocketed by the executive. I will sign the petition because we want to weed out all the greedy politicians,” she said.
At the same time, civil society organisations in the county have accused the ward representatives of not sticking to their oversight role by demanding to control the ward development fund.
"The fund is unconstitutional. MCA's are prohibited by law from directly getting involved in implementation of projects; their role is oversight," said Mr Kelly Aduo.
Governor Samboja had vowed not to allow the assembly to continue holding his administration at ransom at the expense of development.