Mukurwe-ini newly elected MP John Kaguchia has called for caution by county bosses when making public announcements.
Kaguchia says a number of Governors have been heard making some roadside declarations which, while seeming populist, may end up working against them in the coming days.
The lawmaker who is the immediate Nyeri County Assembly Speaker is now calling the leaders to adhere to the due legal process before making any decision pertaining to county administration matters.
He has cited the case of Nakuru County where newly elected governor Susan Kihika has ordered the discharge of 64 patients detained at the Nakuru Level Five hospital over outstanding bills amounting to Sh 5 million as a case in point which he claims could imperil the running of public facilities in the long run.
“Our governors should refrain from making populist statements to the public without following the due process of the law. The campaign period is over and they (governors) need to sit down and do their jobs well.
I have seen some governors making some pronouncements that are worrying like in Nakuru where I have seen the governor writing off debts (for patients). Before rushing to the media, invite an investigating agency to try to find out what happened and the report should come from the investigation agencies,” he said during a talk show on TV.
The legislator has also called for the strengthening of County Assembly operations by pushing for the amendment of the Public Finance Management Act to enable them have financial autonomy.
He argues that the current situation where the county executives call the shots in allocation of resources to both the legislature and the County Public Service Board has impacted negatively on service delivery besides creating frosty relations between governors and MCAs.
“County Assemblies should be strengthened by giving them full autonomy and budgetary autonomy so that they stop relying on governors. As we talk now all assemblies and the County Public Service Board rely on County Treasury that is under the County Executive Member in charge of Treasury which can be very humiliating to other arms of county government. We therefore need to amend the Public Finance Management Act that will allow assemblies to have their own treasury where they don’t have to rely on governors. This will eventually help County Assemblies carry out their oversight roles perfectly well,” he added.
On pending bills and bloated workforce that currently poses a threat to service delivery for many counties, Kaguchia has called for an audit in all devolved units to enable them shed off excess and non performing staff.
The former County Assembly boss has attributed the problem of soaring wage bill to staff inherited from defunct local authorities, the majority of whom possessed little or no skills at all.
This, he said, necessitated county governments to go on a hiring spree in order to fill much needed positions for skilled workforce, a scenario that now threatens to cripple operations in counties due to bloated workforce.
“To deal with the problem of huge wage bill in counties we need to rationalize the workforce and exit some of the staff who may not be very useful in terms of service delivery. However, this should be optional and those to be retired should be given a sendoff to enable them to pull through after being out of work,” he explained.
Governors are facing a herculean task of addressing pending bills which the Controller of Budget has put at Sh. 128.94 billion.
Among counties with huge debts accrued from former regimes include the Nairobi County government that top the list with Sh 84 billion debt.
Nyeri, despite having been singled out as among counties with least pending debts to clear inherited Sh. 592 million from defunct county council.