County Assembly of Kericho inherited old buildings from the defunct County Council of Kipsigis in 2013. The building does not provide a conducive environment for Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) and staff to carry out their mandate.There are no enough boardrooms and offices and the chambers lack public and press galleries as required. MCAs including the leadership do not have offices and sit under a tree. Furthermore, the assembly has only two boardrooms against over 28 committees that require to transact business therein.
Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya provides for access to information held by the State to the public. The County Assembly standing Orders also provide that the Assembly proceedings and its committees are open to Members of the public and the accredited media. Sadly, the current chamber lacks galleries for the public and the media hence denying the public their right to scrutinize the work of the assembly.
In October 2016, the Salaries and Renumeration Commission issued a circular setting out a proposal for infrastructural development in counties. The proposal was geared towards having uniform and equal facilities in all counties irrespective of their financial standing. The ceiling was set at 500million towards construction of new assembly chambers and office block.The same circular provided that all counties must have constructed residences for the Governor, Speaker and Deputy Governor by June 2019. This was meant to cut down huge recurrent bills incurred by the County in payment of rent for residential houses for the said state officers. This has been done in other counties but is yet to be implemented in Kericho.
In line with that circular, the Budget and Appropriation Committee set aside KSH 50 million in the current financial year 2018/2019 to kick start the construction mindful of the limited resources and competing development priorities. The budget making process was consultative and thus subjected to public participation as required by law.
The design of the new building was generated by the Ministry of Transport,Infrastructure, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development and does not include bars and massage parlours as alleged. Furthermore, the assertion that allocation towards the construction of the chambers will reduce the county’s development budget is erroneous as KSH 3.8 billion allocated for development in the current financial year ending June 2019 is yet to be spent by the departments.
The County Assembly welcomes positive criticism, however the claims on social media and political forums are factually erroneous. The Assembly remains committed to its mandate as provided by law and will endeavor to adhere to the guidelines set out by the relevant government agencies.