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Embu MCAs plan for second retreat in less than a month

By Joseph Muchiri | Published Fri, September 11th 2015 at 00:00, Updated September 10th 2015 at 20:14 GMT +3
Embu County Deputy Speaker Ibrahim Swaleh

Embu members of county assembly (MCAs) intend to hold another retreat to conclude the deliberations on bills they started discussing in Mombasa two weeks ago.

Majority Leader Andrew Musakwa said the house business committee, having noted that the assembly was hit by an acute lack of legislative business, was planning to facilitate MCAs in various committees on a retreat outside the county to "give the house something to do".

Deputy Speaker Ibrahim Swaleh had asked Mr Musakwa why the assembly had convened for two consecutive plenary sittings on Wednesday without business to discuss.

Musakwa said the house business committee was aware of the "unimpressive lack of business" and had approved that committees, which have not completed working on bills, proceed for a retreat immediately to address the crisis.

Ward representatives pocket Sh14,000 daily in subsistence allowance when meeting in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, and Sh10,500 in major municipalities including Nyeri, Eldoret, Kericho, Kakamega, Kisii, Nanyuki, Garissa and Lodwar.

All other towns attract a per diem allowance of Sh8,400.

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Sources at the assembly said the appetite for allowances by some ward representatives is to blame for the county's debt-ridden state.

"They took Sh5 million in mortgage and car loans last year. The clamour to repay the loans before 2017 has driven them to resort to unorthodox income generating schemes," said a source aware of the happenings.

A fortnight ago, the MCAs stirred controversy in the county after it emerged that costs for their flights to the Coast, conference facilities at the Continental Beach Resort and per diems for the entire assembly amounted to Sh4 million.

Residents protested this retreat as wastage of taxpayers' funds and said they opted to have the money channelled to development projects.

It is unclear what the new retreat will cost.