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Devolved units and the National Government must work together

By The Standard | Published Fri, September 1st 2017 at 00:00, Updated August 31st 2017 at 21:00 GMT +3
CoG Chairman, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok

SUMMARY

  • There’s prospect of a renewed confrontation between the Council of Governors and the National Government
  • The CoG wants at least a 45 per cent of the revenue allocated to the counties
  • Devolution was touted as a cure to the skewed allocation of resources

The prospect of a renewed confrontation between the Council of Governors (CoG) and the National Government became apparent on Thursday after Jubilee Party, backed by its "tyranny of numbers", unilaterally announced it will be fronting Salim Mvurya, the Kwale Governor, to be the next chairman of the CoG. The current chairman is Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok who was elected in May to replace Peter Munya who took over from Isaac Ruto.

His tenure is running, but given its numbers, Jubilee will have its way and dislodge him.

ALSO READ: The pitfalls new governors must avoid to escape voters’ wrath

CoG was established under the Intergovernmental Relations Act 2012. The council provides a mechanism for consultation among county governments and facilitates the interaction between the national and county governments.

Perhaps Jubilee would want to start things on a better footing this time round.

Mr Ruto and Mr Munya were no pushovers. They stood their ground, some think, even when co-operation with the National Government was the wise thing to do for example during the commissioning of the Sh38 billion hospital equipment that was meant to afford specialised treatment at the county level. Their bone of contention was revenue allocation and the devolved functions, including health and security.

Ideally, it is in the interest of the country that the two levels of government work together. But that doesn't mean that the CoG becomes subservient to the National Government. Nor should the National Government see itself as a prefect breathing down the necks of governors.

The CoG wants at least a 45 per cent of the revenue allocated to the counties. With nearly Sh1 trillion sunk into the 47 counties since 2013, there is evidence of progress.

For 50 long years, Kenyans were accustomed to a system of government that was far away in the capital. In Nairobi, policy wonks drew up policy papers for places they had not the least idea of their position on the map, leading to misalignment of resources with the resultant consequence that certain areas became more developed than others.

Devolution was touted as a cure to the skewed allocation of resources. By many accounts, it has achieved a lot. Most importantly, it has increased the participation of the people in governance. But it has come at a cost. Allegations of corruption and an unsustainable wage bill have followed it.

This needs to be addressed. CoG should also encourage its members to device means that will create wealth generation in the counties for the many jobless youth roaming the villages rather than being dependent on the Exchequer.

ALSO READ: County bosses on edge as reality on promises sets in


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