Senators left Eldoret after completing week-long sittings at the Uasin Gishu county assembly in an exercise that cost about Sh30 million.
Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said he could not give the actual figure used until a review of the exercise is done, but estimates from hotel and other service providers put the figure at about Sh30 million.
Lusaka and Vihiga senator George Khaniri defended the cost and value of the sittings for the first time outside Nairobi arguing that the benefits overweighed the costs.
Four top hotels in Eldoret were fully booked for the senators and staff of the Senate and the hotels took up about Sh15 million to host the teams for six days. The Uasin Gishu assembly underwent renovations that cost an estimated Sh10 million among other costs.
“What is important is that the sittings in Eldoret have been of far much greater value to Kenyans than the money cost,” Lusaka said in an interview before the senators left.
Khaniri said the Senate had proved that it was serving Kenyans and dismissed those calling for the scrapping of the Senate.
“The Senate is the pillar of devolution in this country and anyone talking about scrapping it has not read the Constitution. Counties and the Senate are here to stay,” he said.
To wind up the sittings, Lusaka led the Senators to tour projects implemented by the Uasin Gishu county government. Governor Jackson Mandago took the senators round some of the projects.
They first toured the Doinyo-Sosiani Bridge which was developed to reduce traffic jams on the Eldoret-Kisumu road. The bridge links a bypass road from the town to Pioneer and Langas estates.
The senators were later taken to the Pearl River Africa Economic Zones in Plateau. The multibillion-shilling project is a privately-owned economic zone in Kenya. Over 40 factories will be established at the project expected to cost more than Sh200 billion. Lusaka then commissioned a county-established ICT centre at Waunifor, Ainabkoi subcounty.
“ICT centers are crucial for devolution because youth and farmers get access to the internet where they research for their farms and the young can earn a living,” he said. The senators also visisted the Tuiyoluk Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Tembelio, Moiben subcounty. Tuiyoluk secured a loan from the county government of Uasin Gishu for purchase of two milk coolers. The senators also visited Illual water project.