Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
Members of County Assembly (MCAs) are against whetting their appetite for free hefty perks that were curbed at the beginning of their term.
More than 2,000 MCAs from across the country continued with their push for free grants as they asked the government to expedite the enactment of the Ward Development Fund.
On top of their demands are retirement packages and unfulfilled promise of car grants which they pushed for during the opening of the 3rd Annual Legislative Summit in Mombasa yesterday.
The MCAs maintained that their role as legislators in the county assemblies is similar to that of Members of Parliament and therefore they unconditionally deserve to be accorded motivational privileges that match that of the senior lawmakers.
MCAs claimed their close proximity to wananchi at the grassroots should be used as an ample parameter to consider their “capacity building” since they encounter and meet wananchi’s basic demands on a daily basis.
The 2,300 county law makers were concerned that despite performing duties that are almost equal those of their Parliament colleagues of legislating laws, they have all along been treated as undeserving.
“We are saying as MCAs we know what we want, number one, ward development fund…equal work, equal responsibility, CDF ward development fund,…we are the people who are down there at the mashinani level,” said County Assembly Forum Secretary General Eric Mwangi of Nyeri County.
He added: “The majority and minority leaders in the Senate are here…we want that bill passed immediately so that we can serve the people of this country better.”
Mwangi also asked the Senate to pass the County Pension Bill incorporating the views of MCAs so that members who serve for two terms will be illegible for pension.
“We are going to work closely with the Senate and the Council of Governors to ensure that this bill becomes law,” said the CAF secretary general
At this point when the MCAs in the packed hall began chanting “car grant! car grant!”, forcing him to delve into the car grant issue.
“You want car grant? Do MPs have it? We resolve unanimously that MCAs are eligible for car grants,” Mwangi said amid cheers from MCAs in support.
But Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka asked the MCAs to work with what they have instead of asking for too many responsibilities, warning them that they should be aware of their oversight role.
However, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and Senators James Orengo and Kipchumba Murkomen who were present at the function also supported the MCAs call for ward development fund.
“Members of County Assembly have made a good case on the ward development fund, the reason being it is constitutional…” said Orengo.
Murkomen challenged the MCAs to sell a different image of the County Assembly.
“We are here to appreciate your mandate as far as development is concerned. We do not want a county assembly that is about the welfare of the MCAs only,” he said.He said to some extent MCAs are authors of their own misfortunes because they always go cup-in-hand to governors begging them to initiate development projects in their areas and at the end of the day nothing of progress is attributed to them.