BY COAST CORRESPONDENT
Irate residents of Malindi Subcounty recently disrupted the proceedings of Budget Estimates 2019-2020 organised by the Kilifi County government officials complaining of inadequate time to peruse the 158-page document.
The public hearing at Barani Secondary School turned into a verbal battle ground as angry residents stormed the high-table demanding to be given more time to scrutinise the document before giving their views.
They took issue with the way the County government disseminated information of the said event saying most of them learnt about the meeting through social media groups and text messages from friends.
“We are not happy with the way this meeting was arranged and executed. So abruptly and some of ambush with a 158-page document to read and promptly give your views – how on earth can this happen?” posed one of the local residents brandishing the Budget booklet.
The County officials had hard times controlling the irate residents who were categorical the government could not take them for ride through rubber-stamping their estimates by giving them restricted timelines.
“The era of underestimating our intelligence is long gone and the County chiefs should know we are watching every penny of the budget estimates they are purporting to tell us here (Malindi) within restricted time to give feedback,” another resident lamented.
Reports elsewhere in the County indicated that the public hearings were facing opposition from residents who discovered a lot of improprieties in the budget estimates.
Some of the improprieties noted included the purchase of four motorcycles at Sh. 2 million meant for a youth group in Sokoni ward.
Those cited are the purchase of unspecified posho mills at Sh2 million and two wooden boats for fishing at the Sh7 million among other improprieties.
According to Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri) civic educator James Kiti Chapa the budget estimates hearing is a crucial exercise where locals have to been involved fully.
“The county official who planned this exercise messed it up after failing to mobilize residents. Such exercises need time and patience and the officials should respect the views of residents,” he said.
He threatened to go to court if the County government goes ahead and pass the estimated budget without the input of the residents throughout the county.
Confronted by the media over the incident, the County officials declined to talk and walked away as meeting ended up prematurely with County’s estimates projection standing at Sh12.3 billion for the fiscal year.