CoG not at war with national government, Waiguru says

Earlier in the week, the council slamed the national treasury for delaying to disburse the October, November and December funds despite numerous interventions.

While calling on President Ruto to intervene, CoG Finance chair Fernandes Barasa said it has become difficult for the counties to operate.

Speaking at the three-day retreat for Cabinet Secretaries, PSs and other state officials at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nyeri, Waiguru said calling on the national government to release the funds should not be misconstrued to mean the two are at war.

President William Ruto who is presiding over the retreat had earlier on told the participants to observe austerity measures.

Ruto, who arrived at the high-end facility popular with tourists at 4pm, is said to have been infuriated by the high number of aides who accompanied the CSs and PSs.

Ruto reportedly told the government officials that he did not condone wastage and wondered why CSs and PSs had come with personal assistants and other staff when they were not going to participate in the meeting.

"Why do you have to be accompanied by your PAs and other staff in this meeting? Why not even drive yourselves here," Ruto is reported to have asked.

He asked the top officials not to have the Big Man Syndrome because his government did not have space for that and called for servant leadership.

Waiguru said the council had made a commitment to ensure all the 47 county chiefs support the government of the day irrespective of their political leaning.

"On behalf of the council Mr President, I want to assure you of our full support to your government to achieve and deliver as one going forward," she said.

Waiguru's sentiments further come amid reports that the council has been at loggerheads with the MPs over an amendment the county bosses say is clawing back on progress made in the laws guiding distribution of funds to the devolved units.

Last week the Council asked the National Assembly to withdraw the Equalisation Fund Bill, 2022, terming it unconstitutional.

"The Council of Governors objects to the Bill in its entirety for reasons that it is fundamentally flawed as it fails to conform to the High Court Judgment, the devolved structure of governance and the Equalisation Fund Regulations, 2021," said COG Deputy Chairperson and Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi.

The Constitution states that the national government shall use the Equalisation Fund only to provide basic services including water, roads, health facilities and electricity to marginalised areas to the extent necessary to bring the quality of those services in those areas to the level generally enjoyed by the rest of the nation.

For the past nine years, more than Sh18 billion meant for the provision of such services under the equalisation fund has been lying idle at Treasury due to legislative hurdles.