Machakos CECM for Finance and Planning is seeking approval to spend 152 million shillings on White house vote – county building services in less than 2 weeks before the end of the financial year. The CECM Eng. Francis Maliti who is also the Machakos Deputy Governor submitted the request in a supplementary budget proposal on 26th May to the County Assembly. The Assembly’s Committee on Budget and Appropriation will table its report on Maliti’s proposals on Wednesday 10th June. Dominic Ndambuki, the MCA for Kathiani Central ward chairs this powerful assembly committee.
459 Million in Financial year 2019/20
The County Building Services vote which is the source of funding for the Governor’s new office block was previously allocated 319 million in the financial year ending this month. Such grandeur is associated with the new building that is is referred to as Governor Mutua’s white house. If approved by the County Assembly as proposed, the amount allocated to this vote will go up to 459 million. This is considering the additional 152 million being proposed under the development vote. The supplementary budget proposes a reduction of the recurrent allocation in this program by 2 million.
The palatial Governor’s office in the outskirts of Machakos Town is the second of similar buildings. A second building referred to as the Governor’s lounge is located in Matuu town. Questions have arisen about the prudence of the County Executive investing in palatial buildings that are only accessible by a few people. This is compared with investing in development programs that benefit the majority of citizens such as roads. In a public outcry on social media this Monday, residents expressed dissatisfaction with the County Governments’ prioritization.
In the outcry, the public wondered how the new allocations in the supplementary budget can be approved and spent prudently within less than 2 weeks to the financial year lapsing. These sentiments were expressed through a twitter hashtag #wiziMachakos. The hashtag occupied the top positions in Kenyan Twitter trends for the majority of the day. TV personality Yvonne Okwara had in previous weeks faulted Governor Alfred Mutua’s prioritization of the white house building.
Cumulative 1.18 Billion allocations since 2014
According to an analysis by Masaku Professionals Association, a society of professionals hailing from Machakos county the County Government Buildings vote has been allocated 1.04 Billion since 2014. The proposed addition of 152 million to the white house will bring this figure up to 1.16 Billion according to the association’s analysis as follows:-
|Financial Year||Budgetary Allocation|
|2019/20||319 Million (* before the proposed supplementary budget).|
Construction of the Governors’ white house commenced in 2014 as one of the County’s investments in the planned Machakos City. The Auditor-General report on the Machakos County executive for the period 2016/17 flagged concerns about the construction. He questioned the value for money from the then stalled construction of the office block. “The skeleton building is currently under the devastating effects of weather and the public risks losing money tied in the stalled project”, read the Auditor-General Report.
The County Building Services Program sits in the Machakos Department of Road, Transport, and Public works. Buildings such as ECDE classes, hospitals, market sheds, and ward offices are budgeted for separately in their respective departments and not under this program. An additional 60 million is proposed to be approved for spending under a capital grant and transfer. This vote classified as Fuels, oil, and lubricants under fleet management will increase to 140 million if approved by the county assembly. The detailed supplementary budget proposals are available for public scrutiny on the Machakos County assembly website.