Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa tells Government to Respect Devolution

Kakamega County Governor Fernandes has asked the national government to stop interfering with devolved functions.

Speaking in Mombasa during the yearly meeting for accountants, Barasa urged national government officials to respect and support the independence of institutions tasked with promoting devolution

“There is a systematic attempt by the national government to claw back devolution, especially on matters to do with healthcare. Health is a devolved function and it should remain that way,” he said.

He added that the two levels of Government should not appear to be competing for donor support to counties.

“When we have development partners with conditional grants that are supposed to promote healthcare coming on board let those conditional grants go directly to counties.”

The Kakamega County Chief who also chairs CoG's Committee on Finance, Planning & Economic Affairs spoke days after President Ruto reiterated the resolve to claw back some health-related functions.

Already, the National Government has floated the establishment of the Health Risk Commission, an independent body that will oversee the management of human resources for health

But Barasa now says this planned takeover will undermine strides taken over the years in the implementation of devolution.

“As the 47 governors we want the government to expedite the unbundling, posting and transfer of functions and also resources because we need to have financial discipline where resources follow functions.”

He said this in reference to health and other sectors such as Agriculture, Water & Sanitation which are yet to be fully devolved or whose funding is still held at the National level.

Barasa also reminded the national treasury to fast-track the timely disbursement of funds by this Friday’s deadline as per their agreement with the CS Prof Njuguna Ndung'u.

“If you have delays on disbursement of the Equitable Share of Revenue, you cannot expect to deal with the challenge of pending bills,” he said.

To date, Treasury is yet to release funding to counties amounting to Sh94.1 billion for the three months period since March

The funding arrears include Sh29.4 billion for March, Sh33.3 billion for April and Sh31.45 billion for the month of May.

Earlier in February during the Intergovernmental Summit held in Naivasha, the President committed to timely disbursements, a directive that has not been fulfilled.