By Abraham Kiplangat Mutai (@ItsMutai)
For the first time in the history of Kenya, the public is keen in participating in policy and legislative development as well as holding leaders accountable as opposed to the past where citizens were mere recipients of laws and Isiolo County Government is not an exception to this. Unlike the past when Isiolo was County was both inaccessible and rife with banditry, the road to the Isiolo, through picturesque Mt. Kenya, is a joy to experience. As for safety, the County trumps most of Kenya and one can traverse the entire expanse of the County without a worry. Secondly, the people of Isiolo are extremely hospitable. They share from their obvious material paucity with humbling abandon. Nonetheless, Isiolo County is in dire need of proper governance and capacity building in legislative development which continues to derail all functions at the county level
DEVOLUTION ON THE ROPE IN ISIOLO COUNTY
Reality of Isiolo County Governance is tossing out spontaneous unexpected scenario. It will certainly shift in the way we relate to each other and do business of politics in Isiolo County. Quality leadership matters. Isiolo County Government team is effectively suffering under burden of untried political leadership. People expect their lives to leap forward, social relations to improve and negative politics disposed. The team opposing current leadership made one point clear. Dread. Fear –it is horror, run away.
There is now more confusion than light, disorder at County Offices, deceit on past relations, lack of information and growing elusion. Things were not going in the right direction from onset, early intervention was sabotaged; and justice crawled in the woods
Isiolo County government is real theatre of absurd; Management by chaos, pressure on establishment and strain to the limit of governance and social structures. Everything seems to work through a chaotic process and behind schedule. People’s expectation and dreams were shuttered. Tribe, Clan or Sub clans’ talks are the order of the day. Court sanctions, Court injunctions are daily affairs.
Isiolo the County Assembly which is mandated to do oversight on the executive, representation of people and making of County Bills have performed miserably due to persistent political patronage by the Executive arm of the county government. The buck stops with the measure of wisdom and ingenuity of the County leadership.
The County leadership hides and influence the public views behind curtain, ethics and social relations flow through resistant mode and manipulations. Change becomes slow and invisible. Any shifts that happens break lose rapidly and become erratic event.
Governance institutions often respond in single rigid way, leaders expose weaker side of human face, new rules are set to enhance exclusion, transformation path is obstructed, unmanageable stress become order of the day, social order is exposed to series of crisis that open path to conflict and violence. The pressure on system and structures break down. New path open to scare-free for all. Disorder and stalemate takes centre stage. This grossly prejudices the ability of officers to deliver on their responsibilities. Even more worrying for past two years, the assembly had only passed one Bill (Isiolo County Appropriation Act). The County Assembly however, managed to make trips to inter alia Japan and the Emirates.
Another worry was the low expenditure on development by the county. In the last published report by the Controller of Budget, the entire resources in the county were spent on recurrent expenditure, with no monies going to development. There are structural challenges that counties generally encounter on expending on development but we would have expected Isiolo, being a county in so much need of development, to seek innovative avenues for absorbing development expenditures. This has happened in counties like Bomet, which during the same season had expended 41 per cent of their revenue on development!
The other worrying thing in the county was the continuation of the marginalization discourse. Despite the county being the second highest recipient of revenue per capita, the citizens and indeed some leaders still engage in marginalization narrative with the same vigor as that prior to devolution. Granted, Isiolo has been marginalized for long and even ten years of devolution will not erase the impact of marginalization. But the cure for marginalization must start with the county using the funds it has been allocated innovatively and prudently.
Whereas, it is unforgivable for any county, or indeed the national government to spend the bulk of its resources on wasteful expenditure, for needy and previously marginalized Counties like Isiolo, to waste this rare opportunity to erase the injustices of the past through waste is almost criminal.
Finally; the minimal investment in education in this county leaves a lot to be desired. Granted, education is a function of the national government. The county government must however look for more ways to raise the education standards of Isiolo if this county is to emerge from its dark past, bottom line. Devolution has presented an opportunity for Kenya to correct its past misdeeds, if the new leadership of the counties does not exploit these opportunities and instead invest their time in unnecessary drama and showbiz, it will be the worst betrayal of a desperate public.
CURRENT STATUS AT PLAY IN ISIOLO COUNTY
- There is a need for an extensive community awareness and participation to usher in county government and resort city project through stakeholders sharing ideas, views and setting common goals.
- Isiolo county has an economic potential but was ranked as among the worst towns to do business in and its time that stakeholders come together to identify the core problem hindering business growth, enterprise development and why investors are shying away.
- The roles of different sectors in promoting economic growth especially those that facilitate the growth of dependent sectors are not well defined and are not up to task to pave way for economic empowerment of local people.
- There is a missing link between community, public sectors, Non- governmental organization and corporate sectors to collaborate and spearhead common agenda for development and growth.
- There is lack information among small business owners that resulted to many people closing their businesses after few months, therefore there is need for relevant sectors to provide training on enterprise management, micro-finance initiatives to help them grow.
- Isiolo town need strategic business hub oriented strategic plan to promote missing business diversity among the business community.
MALFEASANCE AND FINANCIAL IMPROPRIETY
- Kshs 62 Million was given to Isiolo County Government by the Transition Authority from April-June, 2013 which was meant for the establishment of County government offices. The fund was grossly misused without any due tendering process hence flouting Public Procurement procedures (Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2013.
- Arbitrary hiring or leasing of private vehicles by the Governor and the Deputy governor from their close ally in the name of one Abdi Viazi at the rate of Kshs 25,000 per day after election till to date. The Deputy Governor hires his own vehicle; Nissan Navara double cabin at the rate of Kshs 10,000 per day.
- Refurbishment of County offices furniture through donation from the Turkish Government via their Kenyan Embassy but information from reliable sources had it that County money was used to pay for the same donated items which can be found on the website of Turkish Embassy.
GREY AREAS IN THE SAID FULLY PAID PROJECTS (FINANCIAL YEAR 2013/2014)
- Murraming of roads within Isiolo town was single sourced by the Executive for Finance who happens to be sister in-law to the deputy Governor at a whopping Kshs 20 million to Shibli Construction Company owned by the family of Deputy Governor. This project was never advertised, no procurement procedures was adhered to and it was over inflated.
- Proposed hydrological studies was not advertised, there was no public awareness & participation if it all it was carried out. The report of the alleged studies was never shared out to the members of the Public. The cost of the said studies was Kshs 6,972,000
- Malka-daka Mogore road was done at a cost Kshs. 200,000. This road is located in Isiolo South Constituency and does not require any upgrading. It was properly murramed previously through Isiolo South Constituency Development Fund kitty before 2013 General election. This project was never advertised and it was done through single sourcing. The cost of the project was extremely over-inflated
- Installation of KVA stand by Generator was done at a cost of Kshs 6,897,000. Just like other projects, it was never advertised and proper procurement procedures was never followed.
- Handling of area for fisheries was done at a cost of Kshs 751,622. This project was never advertised, procurement procedures was never adhered to and it had no sustainable impact on the lives of the people.
- Renovation of Livestock Marketing Department was done at a cost of 650,000. It was never advertised and no procurement procedures was followed.
- Murraming of drive way and park area at the County office was done at a cost of Kshs 675,000. It was never advertised. Interestingly, it the County office yard was carpeted at an unknown amount.
- Consultancy for Environmental Impact Assessment was done at a cost of 4,184,700 Million. There was no advert, no competitive bidding, no citizen participation and the alleged concluded report was never released to the public.
- Award the improvement of Isiolo township car parking bays at a cost of Kshs 19,380,109 Million. This project was single sourced and it was given to the cronies of the Governor. The job was shoddily done by cowboy contractors.
- 8 Second hand tractors with plough (Kshs, 30, 000,000 Million) and 5 ambulances(Kshs 29,667,000) The said tractors and ambulances were donated to the Isiolo county government by USAID and UNDP and a colossal sum of money was withdrawn from the county exchequer for purchase of the same donated items. To date those tractors have not been utilized and are at the parking yard of the County government offices. All the ambulances have broken down.
- Kshs 121 Million meant for famine relief was approved by the County Assembly. The tender was single sourced and it was awarded to the famous crony of the Governor called Abdi Viazi who is the owner of Wajir Vegetable Ltd. The shocking thing is, out of the Kshs 121 Million, 30 Million was given to elected County representatives to buy and distribute food to drought stricken wards. Several parts of the County wards did not get the said food items. Much worse, from the 30 Million, it was alleged that the County representatives and the suppliers looted it. 91 million was pocketed by the Governor in connivance with the rogue supplier. Information from reliable sources intimated that the Governor used the same money to impeach the Speaker by buying some of the County Reps.
- Purchase of Medical drugs at a cost of 12,000,000 Million. This is absolutely outrageous!!! There was no advertisement and there are no drugs in all the health facilities in the County. In fact Medical Superintendent of Isiolo General Hospital resigned due to frustration (Dr. Al Amin). As we speak, there are no supplies of food to the in-patients.
- Purchase of certified crop seeds was done at a cost of 5,000,000. Million Interestingly, the naïve and ignorant people of Isiolo County have never had of this project, therefore this was a white elephant project.
- Purchase of Veterinaries supplies was done at a cost of Kshs 4,000,000 Million. This was once again like all other projects, it was never advertised, no competitive bidding and the resilient pastoralists have never seen this supplies!!!!!!!!!
- Town Public Park at a cost of 31,513,862 Million. It is located opposite Jamia masjid (Mosque) along Isiolo –Nairobi road was also single sourced and awarded to one Abdi Viazi, who is a crony of the Governor.
- The solar powered street lighting project was a donation from a non-state actor but a proxy company was single sourced by the Executive. It was allegedly allocated Kshs 120 Million from the County government coffer for the said projects. The project was single sourced. People have christened the street lights as lamp posts because it emits light like that of a candle. County government spends a whopping 5, 00,000 paid to security guards in the name of protecting of the said street lights. As we are speaking most of those street lights are not working.
- The recurrent expenditure for fuel is arbitrarily given to private and personal cars without official approval by the designed authority.
- Kshs 46 Million was withdrawn from the County Government exchequer for bribing some Members of the County Assembly to impeach the Speaker. The scheme was hatched and crafted by the Governor and supported by both Senators (Elected Nominated)
- Kshs 12 Million was withdrawn on 30th June, 2014 in the name of legal fees for the lawyer representing the Governor. 10 Million Was later reverted to the Governor from the lawyers account through proxies hence the flow of that money necessitated investigation by the Ethics and Ant-Corruption Commission
- Within a period of a year the Governor has enriched himself and acquired several properties registered under the name of his close families including his father in-law of his first wife. These properties include;
- Gadhisa Hotel-(74 Million)
- Lavish house in Lavington
- Nursing Home in Tullu Roba, Isiolo
- Luxury house in Nanyuki for his second wife whom he married mid last year- call it devolved families!!!!!
- All the Executive Committee attend workshop organized by N.G.O’s and Government and they are paid night out allowances and per-diem by both Government and Non-state actors
- Kshs 800 Million Equalization fund meant for road projects in the entire County was grossly misappropriated by the Executive for roads in connivance with Governor. Further investigations need to be pursued in relations to their bank accounts and also close relatives
- Saud Arabia and Qatar governments are said to have partnered with the Isiolo governments on various projects. This donation has never been disclosed to people of Isiolo County contrary to County Government Act, 2013, Section 87 (a-g) on Citizen Participation.
- Fencing of perimeter wall of Isiolo General Hospital which was financed by German Government through the defunct Ministry of Medical Services (Prof. Anyang’ Nyongó was the Minister). The project again, like all other contracts was single sourced and given to politically correct contractor. The same projects was financed by the County Government again
- The outstanding imprests by members of the Executive which is unaccounted is huge. This was also reflected in the Auditors General’s report
- Kshs 8.4 Million was spent during Isiolo county’s anniversary celebration without the approval of the County Assembly
- County Assembly representatives were allocated Kshs 750,000 for the 10 wards in the name of staff salary for the year ending June, 2014 which contravenes Public Finance Management Act, 2010. To date none of the wards have working staffs and offices.
- On numerous occasions some Members of the County Assembly were bribed to bring statements and motions to the Assembly in favour of the Executive. Such fraud trickster approach has always been bank rolled by the Governor.
- Over payment of sitting allowances above the normal ceilings as set by Salaries and Remunerations Commissions.
- Unnecessary trips by the entire Members of the County Assembly to Dubai where each of them were given Kshs 500,000. The trip had no value to the mandate and activities of the Assembly whether in terms of oversight or parliamentary practice. Two (Charri & Garbatulla Ward) of the county Representatives never went for the trips but they were also given the said amount.
- The Governor rarely comes to the office and as such some pundits call him absentee Governor or ‘MH370’ (missing Malaysian plane). Most of the time he spends working hours in Shamz Hotel (owned by his chief campaigner; Abdi Viazi), Sarova Hotel, Ashnil, Simba Lodge and Laico regency in Nairobi. All these, at the expense of taxpayers’ money.
- In the month of May (2014) the Governor paraded a group of women to sing for him some political songs in praise of his mediocrity leadership. Their bill was also footed by taxpayers’ money. Is he copying the scripts from the late Iddi Amin or Gaddafi?
- Several ghost workers are employed arbitrarily by the Governor, particularly from his clan hence ballooning the wage bill of the County
- Handpicking of individual contractors who happen to be his cronies( Wajir Vegetable Ltd & Baretu Construction Company) or political foot soldiers without meritocracy or following proper procurement procedures
- County Government money is badly misused for fundraising, Harrambees and weddings to those who supported the said Governor.
- The County Executive and the Assembly is embroiled in myriads of litigations which has extremely hampered the delivery of much required services by the people of Isiolo County.
- A section of the County Assembly Members allied to the Governor snubbed the Speaker, made their own make-shift Mace made of wood and without substantive staff purportedly approved the supplementary budget which was declined by the Controller of Budget and subsequently injuncted by through the Court. To date, the supplementary Budget has neither not been approved legally by the Assembly.
- As things stands the Governor has proved to be crafty, slippery, cunning and indecisive. The last resort to this ugly scenario is to petition the President to dissolve the County. Seemingly, being a Jubilee County the government is not keen on taking Makueni way
ABUSE OF OFFICE
The Isiolo County Government logo is illegal. It was designed and used without the approval of the County Assembly which contravenes County Governments Act, 2012- County symbols.
- (1), (a,b,c)
(2) The County Executive shall develop the symbols of the county through a consultative process for approval by the county assembly by legislation.
(3) The county legislation enacted under subsection (1) shall provide for the use of the county symbols in the same manner as provided for in the National Flag, Emblems and Names Act (Cap. 99).
(4) A county symbol shall not be the same as, or bear a likeness or similarity to a National symbol.
- Blatant misuse of County vehicles by the Executives to attend to personal matters and entertainment spots beyond working hours, public holidays and weekends. More so they drive themselves. In certain instances convoy of County Government vehicles are used to ferry people as far as 300Kms to grace the weddings of Governors kinsmen with full security detail accompanying Governor’s wife, the best example was on 24/4/2014 in Garbatulla.
- Hiring of Mediocre personnel (drivers) from the Governor’s clan while the Ministry ones are left idle with no work to do
- Skewed Appointment without following due process of law: The Constitution of Kenya stipulates: Article 179. (1) The executive authority of the county is vested in, and
exercised by, a county executive committee. (2) The county executive committee consists of—
(a) the county governor and the deputy county governor; and
(b) members appointed by the county governor, with the approval of the assembly, from among persons who are not members of the assembly.
(3) The number of members appointed under clause (2) (b) shall not exceed—(a) one-third of the number of members of the county assembly, if the assembly has less than thirty members; or (b) ten, if the assembly has thirty or more members.
(4) The county governor and the deputy county governor are the chief executive and deputy chief executive of the county, respectively.
Was Article 179, clause 3 (a) and (b) followed?
County Governments Act, No 17 of 2012
Appointment of county executive members
(1) The governor shall, when nominating members of the executive committee—
(a) ensure that to the fullest extent possible, the composition of the executive committee reflects the community and cultural diversity of the county; and
(b) take into account the principles of affirmative action as provided for in the Constitution.
(2) The county assembly shall not approve nominations for appointment to the executive committee that do not take into account—
(a) not more than two thirds of either gender;
(b) representation of the minorities, marginalized groups and
(c) community and cultural diversity within the county.
(3) A person may be appointed as a member of the county executive committee if that person—
(a) is a Kenyan citizen;
(b) is a holder of at least a first degree from a university recognized in Kenya;
(c) satisfies the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution; and
(d) has knowledge, experience and a distinguished career of not less than five years in the field relevant to the portfolio of the department to which the person is being appointed.
(4) A member of the county executive committee shall not hold any other State or public office.
Was Section 35 of the County Government Acts followed to the letter?
All the actions above breaches the Constitution of Kenya and the relevant statutes!
Chapter 11 of the Constitution, Transition to Devolved Governments Act, 2012, County Government Act, 2012, Public Finance Management Act, 2012, Transition County Appropriation Act, 2013, Intergovernmental Relations Act, (No, 2 of 2013) and Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2013
Report Compiled by
Salad Malicha (@Msaladus)