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TOM MALITI: Time we got the Christmas Tree Fund audit

A s the holiday season ends, and the reality of January sinks in, it is a good time to reflect on a decades-old Nairobi tradition — the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, now called the Governor’s Christmas Tree Fund.

Every year, a tree is lit with fanfare at County Hall or across the road at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

The occasion is presided over by the county’s top official or the deputy who urges residents to contribute to charity during the season of merrymaking.

Over the decades, many residents have contributed to this fund.

I vaguely remember County Hall stating some weeks after each holiday how much money had been collected.

That is usually the end of the matter until the next Christmas season.

The governor should change this. I am tempted to begin with the idea of a Christmas tree in Nairobi, but will skip that. He can start by giving Nairobians an accounting of the fund.

The first accounting would be to inform Nairobians whether this fund is provided for in the city’s laws and if so, which ones in particular.

The second should be a balance sheet of assets and liabilities. After all, this fund has existed for decades and there should be assets and liabilities that have been carried over from previous years.

The third should be an income and expenditure statement for 2013.

Public awareness

This just covers the money part of the Christmas Tree Fund.

There is the charity part. The governor should give us a statement of the charities that benefit from the fund and how they were chosen as beneficiaries.

If the governor does this, he will raise more public awareness about the Christmas Tree Fund and the feedback he will get can only improve the next one.

tom. [email protected]