By Barack Oduor
The Homa Bay County assembly's priorities have been questioned after it announced plans to construct a Sh150 million house for the Speaker.
Homa Bay Bunge La Wenyenchi chairman Walter Opiyo on Tuesday faulted the assembly for not prioritising matters like health, agriculture and roads.
"The assembly should focus on fixing our deteriorating health sector and repairing our roads before building a home for the Speaker," said Mr Opiyo.
Although the lobby does not oppose the construction of the house, it says the county has lagged behind in terms of development, which should be a priority. "We are just asking that taxpayers' money be channelled to important sectors because the county lags behind in terms of development," said Mr Opiyo.
According to an advertisement placed on Monday by the assembly clerk Bob Kephers in two newspapers, the assembly is seeking a piece of land from residents of Arujo ward for the construction of the house. Arujo forms part of Homa Bay town.
However, Speaker Elizabeth Ayoo defended the move, explaining that it is a requirement set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for all county assembly Speakers to have official residences built for them by June 30, 2019.
"The government wants all Speakers' residences built because they want to cut the costs of paying for our rent. This is not our own creation," said Ms Ayoo.
The Speaker further explained that the assembly is not tasked with executing development projects.
According to a letter by SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem sent to the County Assembly Forum Chairman Johnson Osoi, the county governments were told to prioritise the construction of the official residences for the county assembly Speakers by June 30, 2019.
Speakers' residences in the three cities of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa shall cost Sh250 million while in other towns it shall be Sh150 million.