Outrage as Kisumu MCAs head to Arusha for Sh15 million retreat

The building that houses Kisumu County Assembly

Kisumu MCAs have been accused for abandoning voter registration campaigns in favour of a ‘costly bonding retreat’ in Arusha, Tanzania.

Residents expressed their disappointment with the MCAs, who left the county on Sunday to the neighbouring country, citing that they should not have done so.

They said it is unfair for the legislators to travel at a time the IEBC raised the red flag of low turn out in the region during the ongoing 30-day mass voter listing.

The residents, who shared their resentments on social media, pledged to teach the legislators a lesson at the ballot during the August 8 general election.

“We are the voters and they cannot derail our noble course of realising ODM party leader Raila Odinga’s ambition,” Johnny Tiacha, a social media user, said.

Last week, Raila while on voter registration mobilisation in Kisumu directed members and leaders to ensure eligible people are registered before the February 14 deadline.

Raila tasked governors, senators, MPs, MCAs and aspirants from his support bases to ‘adopt a polling station’ and ensure all adults are listed to take part in the scheduled poll.

“We should ensure our people register in large numbers if we have to win the presidency with a wide margin,” he said at Kenyatta Sports Grounds.

It is the MCA’s act of flouting this directive that also angered ODM officials and supporters who have not taken the bonding trip lightly.

They accused the lot of deliberately boycotting the voter registration drive, at the expense of the need to push the numbers high in favour of Raila and the NASA team.

Other voices were against the exorbitant costs that the county will have to meet towards funding the approximately Sh15 million excursion.

Sources familiar with the trip’s plan said each of the 48 MCAs – 34 elected and 14 nominated – have pocketed Sh260,000.

A twitter user known as Lee Makwiny questioned the timing of the bonding yet ODM members have been mandated to sensitise people to be listed.

“These MCAs are not reading from the same script as the party which sponsored them to the assembly,” he said.

“Some clueless one-term lot are not in the mix because nothing positive is forth coming. Governor Jack Ranguma and his entire government must fall,” Amadi Amadi, a resident, said.

Tuli Tulitu, another resident, questioned the source money used to fund the trip yet contractors have been protesting non-payment for works executed at the county.

But Otieno Brian defended the MCAs saying there is no relationship between the contractors and legislators, citing that the assembly has an independent budget.

And so was Dan Bonyo who said: “Nothing is wrong with the trip. They go for retreats just like any other worker in any serious organisation do,”

However, Shalton K’Owino retorted: “Raila is tirelessly crisscrossing the country looking for votes yet some people can afford to go for a trip. This is useless of them,”

Diana Okello termed the trip as unnecessary and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“We are busy mobilising people to register…they are busy bonding in Tanzania. Is it okay?” one David Ocholla asked.

Dickens Wasonga said: “Let us all good voters make sure they go home and only bond next time with their families cash not public money,”

“These are just councilors. We can handle them by kicking them out in the polls,” Wasonga added.

Media personality Dennis Mangoa Mosota said there is no different between the MCAs and the hyenas on the hills.

Sellah Ayimba said: “Let them bond knowing that 80 per cent of them will not be re-elected,”

Julu Son said: “I think let’s call a spade a spade. Ranguma is a Jubilee ambassador. How can you take the MCA’s for a vacation at this critical moment?”

Robert Oswago said MCAs have never been united and therefore needed time to mend their differences out of the county.

“I think we ought to be fair as they also have an annual budget and plans. Whatever they went to deliberate must be within the scheduled activities,” he said.

The Star could neither reach County Assembly speaker Ann Adul for comment nor Majority leader Phanuel Aim by press time.


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