Kenya: 'Mecca' Bound Governors Seen in Town After Skipping Grilling

Nairobi — A committee of the Senate has railed at four County Governors accusing them of using religion to avoid being accountable for the billions of taxpayers’ funds allocated to their counties.

Governors Nadhif Jama (Garissa), Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir), Muhamed Mohamed Ali (Marsabit) and Mohamed Adan Khalif (Mandera) had been scheduled to appear before the County Public Accounts Committee (CPAC) for consideration of the Auditor General’s reports for their accounts for the 2019/20 financial year.

But in a twist that surprised the lawmakers, the four-county chiefs separately wrote to the Committee, which is chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, seeking deferment of their appearances on account of their religious obligation that comes with the holy month of Ramadhan.

Governor Jama was set to appear before the committee yesterday, Tuesday, April 25, but did not show up because he is allegedly out of the country. Governor Abdullahi is set to appear before the Committee on Thursday, April 27, Governor Ali will appear on Tuesday, May 2 while the date for Governor Khalif is May 4.

But in the letters, the four-county chiefs wrote to the committee, the four, who profess the Islamic faith, say they are out of the country in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage that comes with the month of Ramadhan.

In the letter to the committee, Wajir governor indicated his return date as April 23. The Governor of Mandera said he would return on April 27 while the other two do not indicate when they will return.

While the Committee had accepted and acceded to the request by the four, things soured when Kisii senator Richard Onyonka notified the committee while the governors had claimed to be out of the country, he had spotted some of them in the press conference convened by the Council of Governors (CoG) at the Delta House on Monday.

Those he mentioned as having participated in the press conference were Governor Ali and Governor Abdullahi.

This infuriated the committee which has now directed the four to appear before it as earlier scheduled or face the risk of sanctions.

“They are claiming to be out of the country but in actual fact they are around,” senator Onyonka told the committee, calling for tough penalty against the county chiefs.

“The committee must issue summons to the four to explain themselves so that we can take action.”

“We saw the same guys attacking the Senate at the press conference,”

Senator Kajwang observed, after the committee had been notified of the failure of the four to appear.