The Azimio la Umoja Coalition has called on President William Ruto to respect devolution and stop meddling in the affairs of County Governments.
The coalition leaders led by Raila Odinga spoke in Mombasa after meeting governors elected on the coalition's ticket from 17 counties; four sent their apologies.
“The objective of the meeting is to ensure that county governments under Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition work effectively to the satisfaction of the people,” reads a statement issued after the meeting.
According to the statement, the meeting examined the success and challenges facing devolution one year after the 2022 election, which included financial challenges.
“The biggest problem in the country today is the high cost of living, over taxation, increase in fuel prices and unemployment,” the statement says.
According to Azimio, financial problems in the country have led to the stagnation of projects in counties due to delayed disbursement of money by the national government.
They alleged that the President Ruto-led administration is attempting to take up some of the functions that were devolved.
“Whereas County Governors are trying hard to discharge their duties as prescribed in the 2010 constitution, the national government is on the other hand, trying much harder to pull down their legs and suppress them,” reads the stamen while calling for the strengthening of devolution.
They are now calling on the national government to respect counties and desist from interfering with their mandates like the distribution of fertilizer and opening markets and also want funds disbursed on time.
They also want the County Governments Act amended for fast and easier disbursement of their budgetary allocation while calling for the increment of the allocation from the current 15 per cent to 35 per cent.
The coalition says that they support the ongoing National Dialogue and want the county funds allocation increment presented to the committee.
Azimio criticized the intended privatization of the Port of Mombasa which they said is happening without public participation and involvement of the Mombasa County Government, saying they are opposed to the move.
“One would ask, why is the process shrouded in secrecy? What is the economic value of the privatization to Kenyans, the people of Mombasa County and the Coast region as a whole?”