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How disease exposed MCAs’ frivolous trips

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The outbreak of Covid-19 in Kenya has exposed the many ‘secret’ taxpayer-funded trips abroad by ward reps and other county government officials.

Details of the tours are never made public, though according to the Controller of Budget, the recurrent expenditure on travel (domestic and foreign) consists of a large share of money allocated to the devolved units.

At least 23 MCAs from around the country and four senior county government officials have been forced to self-quarantine after travelling abroad in the wake of Covid-19 infections.

Mostly, the tours are said to be official benchmarking trips, seminars and conferences but the details and reports are never shared with the

public, according to Mr Nelson Maina, an official of Uraia Trust. The organisation deals with civic education and governance.

In Uasin Gishu County, 15 MCAs were forced into isolation after returning from a trip to Dubai.

Speaker of the County Assembly David Kiplagat said the ward representatives had complied with government regulations to curb the spread of the infection.

In Nairobi, three MCAs and two senior officials of the county government are in self-quarantine.

One of the ward reps had travelled back from Germany in February while the other two had visited African countries where there are confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The officials are Environment executive Larry Wambua and Disaster Management and Co-ordination chief officer Anne Mwenda who attended a conference in Dubai last week.

Ms Mwenda is the deputy governor nominee.

In Murang’a County, five MCAs have been put in quarantine after flying back from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The MCAs were part of a women’s caucus that travelled to the UAE, apparently for training.

Speaker Nduati Kariuki, besides directing the ward representatives to self-quarantine for 14 days beginning March 16, also ordered them to avoid going to the county assembly. County Health executive Joseph Mbai is also in self-quarantine to avoid putting other people at risk of the coronavirus. He had travelled to India and Dubai.

The Uraia official says the public never gets to see the value on the travel expenditure: “The Speaker and Clerk of county assembly have never been willing to share the reports. The tours are always done secretly and the public does not see the value for the expenditure incurred on those travels,” says Mr Maina.

Information and the amount of money spent on the tours emerges from reports made by the office of the Controller of Budget, says Mr Maina,

explaining that the county assemblies always refuse to share details of their expenditure.

For instance, the Controller of Budget says in the first nine months of the last financial year, counties gobbled up more than Sh14.6 billion on travel alone.

County executive committees (headed by governors) and county assemblies spent Sh9.43 billion on domestic travel while Sh5.19 billion was used on foreign travel.

“Reports by the Controller of Budget shows the recurrent expenditure is larger than the medical supplies votehead. The tours are unnecessary costs,” says Mr Maina.

The budget expert adds that some counties spend up to Sh200 million annually on travel, with more than half of the money spent by ward representatives.

Though the tours are not illegal and the per diems are paid according to guidelines of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, Mr Maina says the public views them as irrelevant. This is because of lack of implementation of the development ideas or best leadership styles allegedly learnt abroad.

“The farther away the politician travels either within the country or outside, the higher the per diem.

The necessity or need for the travel does not count,” he observes.

According to him, there are times the leaders do not file a report on the benchmarking tours while others copy and duplicate old reports.

But Mr Samuel Kipkurui, the Secretary General of the County Assemblies Forum, refuted Mr Maina’s assertions, saying the trips are not a waste of public resources.

Mr Kipkurui said the money spent on the trips is from a budget that has been approved by the Controller of Budget, Commission of Revenue Allocation, the National Assembly and the Senate when allocating funds to the counties.

He added: “The expenditure is within an approved budget and we cannot spend more money beyond the needs. The money is not from the development kitty… It is money approved for that purpose.”

By Sunday Nation

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PHOTOS: See how protest rally outside Nairobi US embassy over Floyd’s death went down

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Dozens of people gathered outside the US embassy in Nairobi Tuesday to protest over the death of an African-American man in Minneapolis police custody.

The killing of George Floyd has sprung a global movement against police brutality, inequality and racism.

The demonstrators, who included Kenyans and Americans, marched in solidarity with US protesters chanting “Black lives matter”.  They called for accountability from the US embassy in law enforcement both in the country and abroad.

Protesters outside the US Embassy in Nairobi on June 2, 2020. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | AFP

In a statement addressed to the US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter, the protesters raised concern over inappropriate police actions and called on leaders to act and change policing in both the US and Kenya.

“George Floyd was murdered by a police officer empowered by the government you serve, who acted with the knowledge that the system will protect his actions and condemn Floyd.

“This perpetuates the narrative that a black body is a threat and its destruction is not only understood, but expected,” the statement read.

PHOTO | COURTESY

Protesters outside the US Embassy in Nairobi on June 2, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

In response to the morning protests, Mr McCarter said the US government is working to ensure George Floyd gets justice.

“The actions of the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd were poor and must result to justice and accountability to those involved.

Protesters outside the US Embassy in Nairobi on June 2, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

“The voices of the American people, mine included, reflect their horror and anger at the repugnant acts of these officers. The police involved have been arrested, investigations are ongoing and I am confident that justice will prevail,” he said.

The protesters also criticised the Kenyan police force over extrajudicial killings and use of unnecessary force when enforcing Covid-19 rules.

Protesters outside the US Embassy in Nairobi on June 2, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

The protesters further accused the US embassy of being silent in the ongoing demonstrations in the US , stating that it be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of a norm.

“You are complicit… A police force devoid of the requirement for police reforms, or adherence to the strict implementation of the rule of law.

“A police force funded and supported by the United States. Your silence endorses these tactics,” the protesters said in the statement.

By Nation.co.ke

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Uhuru hosts 200 MPs at State House

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President Uhuru Kenyatta today at State House, Nairobi chaired a Jubilee Coalition National Assembly Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting in his capacity as the Coalition’s Party Leader.

The meeting was attended by Deputy President Dr William Ruto who is also the Jubilee Coalition’s Deputy Party Leader, Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju and a total of 212 Members of Parliament.

Today’s Parliamentary Group meeting endorsed Hon Justin B Muturi to continue serving as the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Moses Cheboi to continue serving as the Deputy Speaker, Hon Adan Duale to continue serving as the Majority Leader in the National Assembly, and Hon Jimmy Angwenyi to continue serving as the Deputy Majority Leader.

Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju makes his remark next to party leader Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. PHOTO | PSCU

The Parliamentary Group meeting replaced Hon Benjamin Washiali as the Majority Whip with Hon Emmanuel Wangwe. Hon Cecily Mbarire was replaced by Hon Richard Maoka Maore as the Deputy Whip.

Further, the Party Leader appointed Hon Amos Kimunya to serve as the Secretary of the Jubilee Coalition Joint Parliamentary Group.

By Nairobi News

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VIDEO: A TRUE PLACE OF PEACE for the young ones too!

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Amani Ridge the Place of Peace is the place to be for those who seek to settle in a peaceful domicile.

Families are coming here not only to survey the place where they will soon establish their dream homes, but listen this…to enjoy the quietude and take photos too! They come here to take a walk and enjoy the amazing views.

Others just come to appreciate and walk along the walls of Peace, Happiness, Knowledge and Wisdom.

Others still come here to confirm the value additions that are being placed here courtesy of Optiven. Watch this video expounding on this gated community’s architectural projections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os3nubny8Vg&t=1s

For the young ones who make their way here, they have a chance to breathe the fresh air, to enjoy the serenity of the open and refreshing skies of these cool Kiambu environs. The young girl captured here can attest to this.

You are free to visit the project and enjoy the Peace as you enjoy the magnificent developments happening at Amani Ridge the Place of Peace

Do you want to be part of Amani Ridge the Place of Peace great experience? Get in touch with Optiven Today:

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300 Email: admin@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2VdSuFJ

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