Members of the Kisumu County Assembly are on the spot over a one-week benchmarking trip to Tanzania.
The county legislators made the tour to benchmark on lake transport and how Kisumu residents can adopt the same in order to utilise the Lake Victoria resources which are at their disposal.
The tour comes amid concerns over rising Covid-19 infections in the Lake region and in the neighbouring country, as well as budgetary strains on county coffers occasioned by the pandemic which hit the country last year.
The county government of Kisumu did not share the number of MCAs who went for the trip triggering condemnation from angry Kisumu residents.
The residents accused the MCAs of wasting public resources and being careless in managing the coronavirus pandemic.
The county assembly members and some county staff are said to have left Kisumu last week on July 26 and were to return in August 4 after completing their visit to Arusha and Mwanza.
The county assembly is expected to respond to the residents’ concerns over the allegations of
Three MCAs have however defended the trip, saying they learnt a lot from the Tanzanian towns, contrary to claims that they went out just to bond.
Milimani Market Ward MCA Seth Adui Kanga, his Awasi Onjiko counterpart Maurice Ngeta and Kolwa East’s Stephen Owiti had to cut short their trip to attend to other official functions in Kisumu and Mombasa.
They maintained that the tour had been approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the assembly officially wrote to them over the same.
“The tour was beneficial to us. It is something we would want to implement back home. For instance, they have an elaborate Lake transport network which if we implement, will tremendously change the fortunes of our people and improve our economy,” said Mr Kanga.
Coupled with the newly refurbished Sh 3 Billion Kisumu port, Mr Kanga said the revival of marine transport will create employment for the youth not only in Kisumu but in the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) counties.
He said that the theme of the trip was picked jointly by Governor Anyang Nyong’o and county assembly Speaker Elisha Jack Oraro, who felt it was necessary ahead of the anticipated visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta to the county before the end of the year to launch the Kisumu port.
While on his recent visit in May, the President had promised to return to the lakeside region in August to launch the remaining projects initiated by the national government.
With this in mind, the county leadership felt that there was need for Kisumu MCAs to get experience first-hand and understand the port’s visionary plan.
“Since it comes weeks before the President visits the region. We want to utilise our islands in Kenyan and use our counties bordering the lake to revitalise lake transport as opposed to (using) land throughout,” said Mr Kanga.