Oparanya: DP Ruto has withheld Sh7.5bn county funds

The delays in finance disbursement to counties could be blamed on Deputy President Mr William Ruto after...

Kakamega County Governor and the Council of Governors Finance Committee Chairman Mr Wycliffe Oparanya has revealed that Mr Ruto, who chairs the Inter-Governmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC), secretly disbursed Sh7.5 billion as loans to specific counties three weeks ago.

“We’ve not met under the IBEC and the Summit for a very long time. With the current political status, I’m not sure we’ll meet soon. Uhuru and Ruto should know people don’t eat elections,” Council of Governor’s Finance Committee chairman and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said.

The revelations by the former Planning Minister come three weeks after the Senate approved billions of cash to be use in the counties and the repeat presidential elections slated for October 26. He has added that the government deliberately delayed releasing funds, forcing the counties to seek loans from the IBEC.

Mr Oparanya has divulged that benefiting counties including Busia, Vihiga and Taita Taveta, was a way to hoodwink voters in the areas through the projects by county governments. It is understood that Jubilee Party wants to make inroads in these counties with hopes to double up numbers in the repeat polls.

On numerous occasions, Mr Uhuru and Mr Ruto have hosted delegations from the counties at State House and toured some. Nairobi has also benefitted.

The IBEC Summit – chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta - and the Council of Governors has a key role of harmonizing the activities in both the county and national governments. Governors, in the recent past have expressed frustrations in funding county projects, at a time nurses have been on strike for over three months.

Health, education, public works and disaster management services have been wort hit by the financial crisis even as the nation gears up for a repeat presidential elections, 19 days away. The county governments last got the national disbursement July last year.

The council of Governors last week threatened to sue the Treasury CS Mr Henry Rotich over delayed disbursement of funds, with its chairman and Turkana County governor Mr Josphat Nanok adding that the counties could no longer operate without funds.

Counties in JP strongholds that experienced average voter turnout have also benefitted in what appears as motivation for better turnouts.

Unconfirmed sources indicate that the IBEC also allowed the National Treasury to give loans to the counties, where Jubilee governors face strong election petitions.

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