Majority of elected leaders from Mandera County skipped the Mashujaa Day celebrations on Sunday leaving the governor, his deputy and three county assembly members to grace the occasion.
Despite Mandera having six elected members of the National Assembly, a senator and a woman rep, none joined the locals for the celebrations at Moi Stadium in Mandera East.
Out of 48 both elected and nominated MCAs, only three attended the function.
The three were Township MCA Adan Maalim Abdullahi, Mr Abdirashid Maalim Osman (Sala) and Mr Abdinoor Dakane Rafat (Khalalio).
“We are on a short recess and I think that is why most of us are away since each member is at his or her ward at the moment,” said County Assembly Majority Leader Abdi Adan Ali.
Mr Ali said he was away on official duty, denying reports that MCAs unanimously agreed to stay away from the event to protest against the little funding for ward development by the executive.
The 30 wards in Mandera are set to get Sh20 million each for the ward development kitty but MCAs have been lobbying for an increase to Sh30 million per ward.
To reach their targets, they passed the 2019/2010 budget with amendments, blocking Governor Ali Roba’s administration from funding national government functions in Mandera.
This week, they are expected to pass a supplementary budget to save the county from a looming financial crisis.
“The assembly wants development projects to be done equally and equitably in all the wards,” said the leader of majority while denying that the absence of MCAs was a protest over funding.
Minority Leader Jimale Abdi Hassan also vehemently denied allegations linking the MCAs’ absence to the quest for increase in ward funding.
“I am in Banisa for Mashujaa celebrations and peace talks with several other MCAs. It is a lie that we are pushing for more funds to the wards,” he said.
MCAS IN NAIROBI
Majority of the MCAs are said to be in Nairobi waiting to resume sittings on Wednesday.
Mr Adan Hassan, a resident, expressed disappointment over the absence of elected leaders.
“We elected leaders to represent us and be with us during such events but I am shocked that our leaders have no interest in those who elected them,” he said.
MCAs have vowed only to approve any budget drafted by the executive on grounds that evidence is provided to prove the agreement between the county government and national government in funding the latter’s functions in Mandera.
Mandera County Assembly Speaker Mohamed Adan Khalif, who was also absent, could not be reached for comment as his phone was switched off.
A source close to Senator Mahamud Mohamed indicated that he underwent a minor knee surgery and that he is yet to be cleared by doctors to resume duty.