Governors have been accused of favouritism in the payment of contractors and suppliers with those considered politically correct and friendly to them assured of prompt payment.
Senators have claimed that cronies of the governors and those who grease their palm are favoured while innocent contractors go for years without pay.
While debating the emotive pending bills menace in the counties, senators said many contractors are wallowing in poverty and others have had their properties auctioned as counties sit on their cash.
According to Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula, in some counties, governors themselves have become proxy contractors. They have dished out tenders to their proxy companies to supply goods or construction. These companies are paid promptly.
Deputy majority chief whip Farhiya Ali requested the House Finance and Budget committee to summon the governors to provide a comprehensive report on the latest pending bills figures accumulated by the county governments.
According to the Budget Implementation Review Report for 2020-21 by Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o, the 47 devolved units owe their suppliers and contractors in excess of Kshs 96 billion.
Nairobi accounts for 56 per cent of the total debt with Mandera being the only county government without pending bills.
Pending bills is an issue that should be followed up in all the counties so that all the governors are held accountable to pay the bills before the 2022 general election. The senators challenged the electorate to reject, at the ballot, governors who have made their lives unbearable.
Pending bills accumulated over successive governments have become an enabler of corruption in devolved units and have continued to languish people in poverty.