EDITORIAL: Tighten controls to curb rot in counties - Daily Nation

Tighten controls to curb rot in counties

Tuesday February 13 2018

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It is quite distressing that counties keep featuring in the news more because of indignities rather than service delivery.

There are dreadful reports of corrupt deals, wastage and misappropriation of public resources. Yet the counties provide the basis for future national development.

However, it is not all gloom, as some counties have posted inspiring stories, illustrating the value of devolution. We have heard of counties getting tarmac roads for the first time.

We have also recorded cases where delicate surgeries have been conducted in the outposts, thanks to the devolution of healthcare.

The fact that resources are being dispersed from the centre to the counties is a great development. It gives citizens a chance to determine their needs and benefit directly from public resources.

However, new details have emerged showing worrying levels of wastage, raising serious questions about the priorities of some counties.

Several of them are reeling under serious financial difficulties because of poor resource use. Many started mega projects but never completed after sinking in huge sums of money.

As we reported yesterday, hordes of county officials that served in the previous administrations have refused to hand back public property or pay loans or cash advances they got while in office, occasioning the loss of millions of shillings. 

In several places, members of county assemblies were given housing and car loans, but have failed to pay after losing their seats.

Others were given working tools such as iPads, but refused to surrender them.

Although, it is questionable the wisdom of giving MCAs and other officers such gadgets – the common practice is that individuals buy the items if they need them.

The new county leaders, who came into office after the August 8 elections must review their priorities. Projects must be properly planned and executed on budget and within schedule.

Privileges such as car or housing loans must be tightly secured, while better systems be devised for collecting cash advances. With the benefit of hindsight, the new leaders should do things differently to make devolution work.