The Ministry of Devolution and Arid and semi ASAL areas has introduced stringent rules to cut on unnecessary travel expenses by Members of County Assemblies, MCAs, and County Executives. The ministry through the Principal Secretary, PS, Charles Sunkuli wrote to all county secretaries and clerks of county assemblies giving new directives on how to cut foreign travel costs. The raft of measures introduced by the Ministry include:
- A written statement must be produced: The ministry says before MCAs or county executives travel abroad for seminars, tours or conferences, they must write a statement on how that travel will benefit the county. The statement must detail the cost benefit analysis for such trips.
- Proof of County assembly minutes ratifying the trip: The travelling team must also provide minutes of a county assembly session that gave green light to such trip.
- No participation fee to be paid in case trip is arranged to non- recognized organizations: The Ministry has also said no travel should be approved where participants are required to pay participation fees unless such events are recognized by international bodies. In case the bodies are not recognized, internationally, the MCAs and Executives must then, personally, foot for their expenses.
- Travelling team must provide approved invitation letters before permission is granted: The Ministry has also directed that before foreign travel is approved and permission granted, the MCAs or County Executives must have the invitation letters stamped and approved by the county assembly clerk or county secretary.
- The members will be required to the total costs to be incurred and the source of the monies: For the travel to be approved, the travelling legion must provide the total expenses and a break down of charges for the trip. it shall now, also, be mandatory for the MCAs and Executives to indicate who shall pay for such trips.
- Travelling team will be required to provide proof of where the trip was budgeted for in the County’s Work plan: It shall be mandatory for the members to show where in the county’s work plan the foreign travel was budgeted for.
- No joy riders and revelers: To discourage joyrides the team must give a report on what they learnt and how that will be implemented locally for economic boos.
This comes after top government officers were caugth on camera sitting pensively and passively as their foreign counter parts wrote key points during a trip by president uhuru Kenyatta, few months ago.
But, in a letter signed by the Council of governors’ chairman, Hon. Josphat Nanok, and addressed to all governors and the Devolution CS, the Head of Public Service, and Foreign Affairs PS, the Governors have angrily castigated this latest move. A summary of the Governors’ response:
- The Governors hold that County Governments are autonomous and are not answerable to any Ministry or individuals.
- County budgets are approved by county assemblies (MCAs) and the devolution Ministry has no role to play in such a process.
- The devolution Ministry has no mandate to interrogate Counties’ requests for travels, over seas.
The governors have asked the Devolution and ASALs Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Eugene L. Wamalwa, to immediately withdraw the letter on foreign travel.
The foreign trips by MCAs and County Executives had drawn mixed reactions from Kenyans, with most terming them wasteful and unnecessary.
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