MCAs ready for talks with President Ruto on financial autonomy and salary issues
Members of County Assemblies says that they are optimistic that assemblies will be given financial autonomy and their salaries reviewed upward.
Through the Association of Members of County Assemblies (AMCA), the MCAs say that they are now waiting for a meeting with President William Ruto to discuss the issues of financial autonomy, better remuneration and Ward Development funds.
Speaking in an interview, AMCA Chairman Francis Wambua lauded Council of Governors (COG) chair Anne Waiguru for raising the issues during the devolution conference in Eldoret last week.
Wambua said issues of financial autonomy and better salaries for MCAs as explained to the President by Governor Waiguru are key to the effective performance of county assemblies.
“We appreciate Governor Waiguru for being bold enough to wade into a debate that many leaders have shied away from. We also want to thank President Ruto for agreeing to meet us so that we can have a discussion on how to address the issues for the betterment of devolution,” said the Kinanie ward MCA.
Wambua said the President had given the MCAs hope that the issues, which they have been pushing for will be addressed.
He said Ward Development Fund which the MCAs are asking for does not require constitutional amendments as it just need introduction of a schedule on Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) regulations.
“Even the President acknowledged that the issue of MCAs salaries needs to be looked at, the work of an MCA is similar to that of a Member of Parliament, we should end the discrimination. What we are asking for is achievable,” he added.
The MCA further said that it is not possible to oversight the governors yet their signatures are required for them to receive their funds.
Kirinyaga County Assembly Majority Leader Daniel Kibinga echoed Wambua’s sentiments saying the Ward Development Fund and financial autonomy of the assemblies does not require additional budget.
Kibinga said the issues only requires political good will which has now been shown by the President, CoG and the Senate.
“We want to appreciate the political goodwill that has been shown by our top leaders including President Ruto, our Governor Waiguru who raised the matter first and the Senate. All of us want to see assemblies that are running their operations without delays because they have direct access to their funds,” Kibinga added.
Waiguru has reiterated her call for the autonomy of County Assemblies in order to enable them oversight the executive more effectively and efficiently.
She said there is a unanimous agreement on the need to give the county assemblies financial autonomy so as to strengthen their roles.
“We know President William Ruto is committed to leaving a legacy where we have all our institutions functioning effectively. The Senate through Speaker Amason Kingi also committed to help in fast tracking enactment of necessary legislation to ensure financial independence of the members of the county assemblies,” Waiguru said.
For devolution to work as expected in the 2010 constitution, Waiguru said the executive must work hand in hand with assemblies.
She said MCAs should be given financial autonomy and be remunerated well as per their responsibilities to effectively discharge their mandate.
Waiguru noted that it was unfortunate that the current assemblies have had to do with a pay cut down from what their predecessors received, noting that an improved remuneration would not go beyond the budget ceiling set for the assemblies.
In response, President Ruto promised that his government will work the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and all other relevant institutions to ensure that remuneration is harmonized across all cadres of government workers.
“From the President to the office assistants we all serve the same country and have related needs and therefore the pay must reflect that we all serve the same people.” Said the President who officially opened the conference.