Greed, graft and fraud pose the greatest threat to stability of counties and success of devolution.
Although the objective of the county system is to promote development at the grassroots, they have become entities for wastage, pilferage and embezzlement.
The Office of the Controller of Budget report this week depicts a worrying trend where MCAs are literally bleeding the counties to the bone.
Through coercion, intimidation and manipulation, they have pushed their earnings to levels never imagined and in an economy that is tanking.
A survey by the Controller of Budget reveals that MCAs in some counties earn as much as Sh700,000 a month through numerous allowances that cannot be explained.
By all counts, that is a tidy sum of money for individuals who first, have questionable credentials and second, do not do any tangible work to merit such cash.
And this is not to mention other perks they enjoy, including housing benefits. Besides, they influence use of ward funds and often the cash is directed towards projects and activities that serve their interests.
When the MCAs are not awarding themselves huge perks, they are busy travelling for all odious reasons, through which counties spend princely sums at the expense of service delivery.
And the MCAs have formed the tendency of intimidating county assembly speakers and governors to submit to their demands, creating a lawless environment in the counties.
MCAs’ earnings are a sure cause for outrage. Some comparisons provide the perspective. A university professor with years of service in teaching, research and publication earns an average of Sh200,000 inclusive of housing and travel allowances.
A top medical doctor in a government hospital earns no more than Sh400,000 a month, while a top high school principal takes home about Sh120,000. Even chief executives in many government parastatals do not earn Sh700,000.
The disparity cannot be justified. The trend must be stopped and onus falls on county speakers and governors to reject such outrageous payouts when everybody else is starving and sacrificing.
Counties are struggling to survive. Many cannot pay salaries, forcing workers to go for months without an income.
Suppliers and contractors are owed huge sums of money, a number forced out of business because of cash flow problems.
Productivity is at the lowest ebb. Revenues collected by counties have fallen drastically, forcing counties to depend on the national government.
Yet it is the business of MCAs to provide oversight on county governments and ensure they deliver services to the citizens.
It’s preposterous that they are paid so handsomely for zero work done.