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It’s in the interest of governors to seek help

By - | Sep 10th 2013 | 2 min read

The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) should be commended for stating that county governments have the capacity to carry out the devolved functions as outlined in the Constitution.

The CRA commissioner in charge of North Rift region Ms Amina Ahmed said counties had qualified staff to undertake all functions that have been devolved.

However, the commissioner added a rider that some governors might not want to acknowledge, in their spirited attempts to demonstrate their independence from the central government, and that is their need for help. Were governors to accept that they need support - albeit of different kind - they would be able to improve the quality of service delivery.

Some of the areas where counties need support include revenue collection, preparation of budgets, human resource recruitment, deployment and supervision. Revenue collection poses special challenges because many of the defunct local authorities, including Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, lost the battle to criminal elements operating from within and relied on bank overdrafts to keep the limited number of services they were still offered running.

The national disgrace is that these miscreants were still earning a salary paid from money borrowed from the bank even as they lined their pockets at the public expense. This is one area where the governors can get maximum public support as they deal with these internal saboteurs. If this requires mass sacking of these individuals and hauling to court those against whom adequate evidence has been gathered, so be it. Let the chips fall wherever they may.

Many a governor is also likely to discover that it pays to get professionally trained staff to man the finance department as opposed to the current tendency where some are rooting for the employment of local people. That is, of course, if the governor is truly interested in the welfare of his people. But even for those who may be tempted to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, the writing is on the wall. There are more than even chances that such governors would end up in court - or jail.

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