Outrage as Siaya assembly passes budget 'by the back door'
The Siaya County Assembly is being chastised for knowingly passing the 2022/2023 budget through the back door.
As required by law, there was no public participation or debate.
Many leaders and civil society organizations have condemned the ward reps' actions, calling them a violation of the Constitution.
Former West Alego MCA Peter Muhula lamented that the budget, the details of which are still unknown, was passed in secret.
"It is unfortunate that the county assembly, which has over 30 elected MCAs whose mandate is to represent the people and defend the Constitution, is now at the forefront of illegality," he said.
"It is written into the Constitution that the public must be involved in budget-making through public participation." The bill for 2022/2023 was passed late at night with fewer than ten members."
"The people are unaware of the budget; even the county assembly has not posted the budget on its website for people to scrutinize," he added. The assembly is governed by laws and should not openly violate them."
The Siaya County Assembly, unlike other county assemblies, has not been adjourned indefinitely.
"With two weeks until the elections, the assembly has yet to be adjourned." This raises many questions about whether the respected House upholds the Constitution that it is tasked with defending," said Mr. Muhula.
Budget Chairman Sylvester Madialo could not be reached for comment, and the Nation's phone calls and text messages went unanswered.
However, county budget director Lawrence Kenyatta stated that the executive branch of government did its part and presented the draft to the assembly.
"On our side, as the executive, we did everything required by law and then submitted it to the assembly for deliberation." Because these are two autonomous branches of government, we may not know what happens on the other side," Mr. Kenyatta explained.
Since 2019, when members of the second Siaya County Assembly allegedly received per diem allowances for allegedly visiting Uganda for a "benchmarking" trip, the second Siaya County Assembly has been in the spotlight. It was later discovered that they had traveled to Busia rather than the neighboring country.
Also in 2019, assembly clerk Isaac Olwero was hounded out of office due to graft allegations, and despite a court order to reinstate him, he was not allowed to return to his post.
Mr. Olwero told the Nation over the phone that the "fictitious" allegations leveled against him were intended to keep him out of the way so that public resources could be plundered in the county government's legislative wing.
"I advocated for openness and the rule of law." That did not sit well with the assembly's leadership. "Even after the court ordered that I return to the office, the leadership refused to let me in," Mr. Olwero explained.
Siaya County Assembly Speaker George Okode did not respond to our phone calls or text messages about the alleged illegalities in the assembly.