SECTIONS

State urged to release county government funds

By Ally Jamah

Civil society leaders have warned against a plan by Cabinet to withhold huge resources meant for county governments, saying it would challenge such a move in court.

Speaking Sunday in Nairobi, the leaders said they were deeply concerned by news that the State will only release salaries for officials of county governments after the March 2013 elections.

“We warn that it will be against the Constitution and we shall resort to court action to assert the rights of counties. The Cabinet must quickly rethink about that misguided position,” said National Civil Society Congress official Morris Odhiambo.

The leaders said ahead of the formation of the senate, which is the institution meant to defend the interests of county governments, the civil society would play its part to ensure devolution is not shortchanged.

“We call on Kenyans to be alert and monitor the implementation of devolution so that they are not shortchanged. Devolution is the most important shift in governance in the country. Indeed, 2013 is the year of devolution,” said Prof Kavetsa Adagala.

They called on the Transitional Authority to move with speed and advise the Cabinet on the matter to avoid a scenario where the devolved government would have no resources to kickstart their development agenda.

Mr Odhiambo praised MPs for renewing their attention on relevant county Bills to put in place systems for the implementation of devolution.

They cited the County Government Public Finance Management Transition Bill through which the 47 counties will be receiving devolved funds, which MPs will debate before next year.

The leaders also warned that some local authorities were through irregular deals hurriedly disposing off their assets ahead of the transition to counties to line pockets of a few leaders. They asked Kenyans to report such matters to the Transitional Authority  to save assets meant for devolution.