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County assemblies resume sittings after association strike ends

The Association of Members of County Assemblies has forthwith called off the ongoing plenary sitting strike that had affected 35 county assemblies to allow for more talks over salaries.

According to Association Secretary General Stanley Karanja, they have suspended their boycott to allow for ongoing negotiations with the Senate Devolution Committee and Salaries and Remuneration Commission [SRC] to resolve salary disputes.

Karanja had in May this year issued a boycott of all plenary and committee sittings in all 47 County Assemblies after their call for a salary review by the SRC went unanswered.

But in a major reprieve to service delivery, the association has now lifted the boycott, allowing for resumption of plenary sittings and oversight mandates in the county government.

The association, which is a splinter group from the County Assemblies Forum, is pushing the SRC to reinstate MCA’s monthly salary in excess of Sh. 300,000 from the current gross monthly salary of Sh. 144,375.

Karanja, speaking to the press in Naivasha, said the association has given the Senate a one-month notice to engage and resolve the salary dispute with the SRC, failing which they will resume their boycott.

“We are calling on Members of County Assemblies in all 47 counties to resume their plenary sittings tomorrow to give the ongoing negotiations a chance”, said Karanja.

MCAs are also seeking for the Ward Development Fund kitty, capped at 20 percent of the county annual budget, to be anchored in law to upscale development projects at the ward level.

According to SRC, MCAs are also entitled to committee sitting allowances of Sh. 3,900 per sitting, capped at Sh. 62,400 per month.

Karanja, who doubles as Hell’s Gate Ward MCA in Naivasha, said the resumption of sittings will allow the MCAs to upscale their oversight mandate on county executives and scrutinise their county budgets.

On his part, Lakeview ward MCA Alex Mbugua lauded the suspension of the strike, noting that it will allow for the normal resumption of plenary sittings and oversight of the devolved units.

Mbugua, who serves as the chair of the budget committee in Nakuru County, said the boycott had paralysed the passing and implementation of the county’s sh. 18.7B Finance budget for the 2023–2024 financial year.

“MCAs must be recognised as a critical cog within the devolved units with fair remuneration and must not be left at the mercy of governors,” said Mbugua.

By Erastus Gichohi

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