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Public Consultation meeting in Thika almost turns chaotic as members reject hefty Kiambu rates.

Tempers flared at the Thika Community Hall as members of Public protested some MCAs' intention to gag them into endorsing the Kiambu County 2018-2019 Finance Bill without making their own submissions.
Thika residents have rejected hefty rates and charges proposed by the Kiambu County Government in their 2018-2019 Finance Bill.

The meeting that was held at the Thika Community Hall on Wednesday morning was at one time reduced to a shouting match when the members of public accused members of the County Assembly of forcing them into endorsing the 100% increment in fees, rates, levies and charges as proposed in the Bill.

Tempers flared when a local MCA shouted down one member of public who had questioned the rationale used by the Kiambu Finance CEC to arrive at the new rates. The MCA accused the participants of introducing politics into the matter adding that they were used to ‘his theatrics’ and wouldn’t allow him to ‘spoil’ the meeting.

The MCA’s sentiments elicited very angry reaction in the hall, a situation that threatened to disrupt the whole exercise.

Having read the mood in the hall, the MCAs changed tact and allowed the members of public to freely express their views and reservations against the Bill.

When calm was restored, it was unanimously agreed that they would not endorse the 100% increments but rather all of them be capped to only 10%.

The members also agreed to scrap all new levies and fees that had been introduced in the 2018 Kiambu County Finance Bill.

“Thika Contributes to more than 60% of Kiambu County revenue and we therefore cannot allow the county government to impose such levies on us without consulting us. Any new proposed levies should be scrapped and the rest be capped to only 10% increment,” said Alfred Wanyoike the 
Chairman Thika District Business Association (TDBA).

His sentiments were echoed by John Mwangi Njuguna who is the Personal Assistant to Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina who advised the county government to streamline their revenue collection strategies instead of overburdening their people with outrageous fees and charges.

Mt Kenya Matatu Owners Association chairman, Rufus Kariuki, tagged revenue collection to service delivery.

“We have no problem with even paying the 100% (increments) as proposed but our question is, will we get value for our money? All we are demanding is service delivery from the county government that is reflective of what we pay for their services,” said Kariuki.

In response, the Kiambu assembly Vice Chairman of the Finance, Budget and Appropriation Committee Hon. John Ngure Muthondu assured Thika residents that all their views would be taken into account when the Bill will be tabled in the house for deliberations.

He however notified them that their views would not be actualised in isolation as they had to be harmonised with those from all the other eleven sub-counties to come up with a proposal that reflected the views of all Kiambu residents.

“We will have to harmonise the submissions from all the 12 sub-counties to come up with a report that is reflective of the views of all Kiambu residents,” he said.

Thika Township MCA Andrew Ndirangu Kimani said that, as the people’s representatives, they will ensure that the residents’ will prevailed and they would recommend amendments to the bill to rhyme with what the people want.

Among those in attendance included Hospital MCA Danson Mburu, Kamenu MCA Raphael Chege Waithumbi, members of the Kiambu County assembly Finance, Budget and Appropriation Committee, a Thika-based counselling psychologist Gladys Chania Mwangi and chairpersons of various business associations and groups.

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