Omtatah is the Only Senator in Kenya Doing What Senators Are To Do under the 2010 Constitution

12 mins read

When the Senate was established in Kenya under the 2010 constitution, Kenyans were fed up with parliament as the only institution to protect the interests of the Kenyan people.

Voters on the referendum that gave birth to the new constitution were excited about two great provisions in the new Katiba, namely, establishing county governments to bring resources and development to people on the ground, and having a senate whose primary purpose was to make sure the counties they represented as senators worked for people in that county plus oversight on the executive and parliament. None of that has ever happened in Kenya since they voted for their new constitution.

Not one single senator has even tried to do that job. Until now, when Kenyans have Okiya Omtatah. Right now Okiya is doing his job as the elected Busia County Senator which requires him to make sure the Busia County budget money is used for development and not just eaten by governors and their cronies.

Here is Omtatah’s story from the media:

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah has accused the devolved unit’s Governor Paul Otuoma of orchestrating a Friday attack in which rowdy youth stoned his car as he made his way towards the County Assembly offices.

Addressing the press after the incident, Omtatah claimed Otuoma mobilised the goons in an attempt to intimidate him into withdrawing a law suit he had fit.led against the Governor in February.

Omtatah sued Otuoma for obstructing his oversight duties and withholding documents required for an audit of Busia County’s finances,

“Nilipokuja hapa karibu na County Assembly nilikutana na kundi la vijana wakaanza kupiga gari yangu na mawe.  Wamenipura mawe kwa sababu wametumwa,” said Omtatah.

“Kwa vile kesi ni kati yangu na gavana, sina wasiwasi ya kwamba ni gavana ambaye ametuma hawa vijana kunipiga mawe. Mimi sikumpura mawe wala kumtusi; nilienda kortini kusema ya kwamba nimekuandikia barua 12 unipe karatasi kadhaa na umekataa. Nikiangalia budget ya serikali, pesa imepotea Ksh.2.3 billion sijaona vile zimetumika.”

The Senator likewise asserted that the only conceivable motive for Otuoma to threaten him was if the requested documents uncover significant discrepancies in the devolved unit’s spending.

“Ni kama wanaogopa kitu fulani, wanajua kukataa kunipa hizo makaratasi ni kwamba kuna kitu wanaficha na sasa wanajaribu kunipatia vitisho niogope kukuja hapa,” he said.

He further asserted that the planned display of force had not weakened his resolve, emphasising his mandate to protect taxpayers’ funds in Busia from misuse.  

“Kilichotendeka ni kinyume na sheria na haitanitisha. Nishaona makubwa kuliko haya, haitanitisha. Hawatanisimamisha; nilichaguliwa na watu wa Busia kuhakikisha kwamba pesa zao hazipotei na hazitapotea. Mwenye ameimeza ataitema na ulimi na meno,” he said.

“Mimi ni mkaazi hapa, sioni vile mawe itanikazia kuingia Busia!”

“My driver was able to drive off and enter the ATC Busia Agricultural Training College (ATC) which is under AP guards so I took refuge there. The police came and escorted me from the college,” he stated.

“I was not injured, they only damaged the vehicle, Probox, which has a strong body so the damage includes minor dents but is not extensive. The stones did not hit the windows.”

The Senator reaffirmed that he was working on a case filed against the county government before the incident occurred.

“Yes, I was attacked by goons but I was not injured. There was a case I had sued the governor and ordered him to give me information on county operations including the expenditures, bank accounts, and things I needed for my oversight work,” he pointed out.

“I have written a total of 12 letters. He responded to none. So, I decided to go to court to compel him to give me the information.” 

Senators don’t care about the constituencies and counties that elect them because their job is to suck up to those in control of power and get personal benefits. Nothing more.

Look at the Arror Dam Project project is located in Elgeyo Marakwet County which collapsed after all Sh. 63 billion borrowed money for the project was stolen by state officials including Ruto’s appointees to their government Henry Rotich. What did Elgeyo Marakwet County elected senator a the time Mr. Murkomen do to help the people in the county who elected him? Nothing.

As a matter of fact a senator like Kipchumba Murkomen never even visited his county and nowhere to be seen near the dam which was the biggest project his county ever. This project if it worked could have changed the lives of everybody is his county for the better and he, Murkomen, didn’t even have a minute for it. That is the same with all senators in Kenya.

Construction of Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams stalls

Posted by Anita Anyango

Date: December 30, 2020

Construction of Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams stalls

Construction of Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County have raised cause for concern as they are yet to be implemented.

The dams were to be constructed at an inflated cost of Sh 63billion, with the former costing Sh 35billion and the latter Sh 28 billion. They were to be located in Marakwet West and Keiyo South Constituencies. Along the way, it was riddled by controversy that tainted the careers of top government officials, including former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and former Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) Managing Director David Kimosop.

The last time the government spoke about the twin water projects was in September 2019, when President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the immediate commencement of the implementation of the Arror Dam project, but in a scaled down cost and design.

Irregularities in the dams

The President set the cost of Arror at Sh 15.4billion and ordered cancellation of Kimwarer Dam as he received a report from a technical committee chaired by Principal Secretary for Infrastructure Paul Maringa. He had formed to look into irregularities in the dams expected to irrigate at least 15,000ha of arable land. However, nothing has been done since then casting doubts on whether construction of the scaled-down Arror Dam will start soon.

KVDA Chief Executive Officer Sammy Naporos said the authority would embark on implementation of the water project as soon as it is given the go-ahead.

“Communication on the same (revival of Arror Dam) is yet to be directed to us,” he told The Standard.

On his part Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos has raised an appeal and requested the government to reconsider the decision to cancel construction of Kimwarer Dam saying it would create more than 2,000 job opportunities and turn around Kerio Valley economy.

“In the spirit of Handshake, we are hopeful that the two dams will be revived and completed soon – this time under better management. This dams are were part of the Vision 2030 flagship projects and should be implemented,” said Governor Alex Tolgos.

In county in Kenya has any senator went to the County Government office to ask that all the expenses be made public and we are talking about billions of shillings given to each county governments every year and nobody knows what they do with that money. Evidence is that the county governments use the whole county budget as pocket money for themselves and never account for anything. Is that why the counties were established in Kenya in 2010?

In my on county of Siaya, do I ever expect Senator Oburu Oginga to put a package as a senator in Siaya County asking that all the expenses of the county be made public so Siaya residents can see what their money is being used for? No I don’t because he has not done it all his time in office as senator. Now he could do it with James Orengo as our governor and he doesn’t have to do it from a hostile perspective.

He can do that as part of his job and tell the governor and county MCAs that it is good for them to show Siaya residents what they are doing with the county budget. No senator has ever done that in our country and that is why it could be time to just abolish the senate altogether in Kenya. It is a useless and very costly institution for the Kenyan taxpayer.

They need to count their time because if Kenyans get completely fed up they could launch a campaign to kill the counties.

It is Kenyans who established the counties in 2010 and not the politicians and they can rubbish them to death. Politicians joking and messing with Kenyans is very easy for them but often it can be very costly. Ask Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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