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County Assembly backs coast counties’ integration

POLITICS
By Patrick Beja | August 9th 2015
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho

A Motion to anchor an economic bloc being fronted by six governors at the coast has received overwhelming backing at the Mombasa County Assembly. But the implementation of the resolution creating the socio-economic integration of six coastal counties has been deferred until regulations are in place.

The Motion seeks to fully put into operation the Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) after governors Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Issa Timamy (Lamu), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Hussein Dado (Tana River) and John Mruttu (Taita Taveta) signed a co-operation agreement in June this year, marking its launch.

Speaker Thadius Rajwayi directed chairman of the Committee on Delegated Legislation and Junda Ward Representative Paul Oswago Onje to table the report in two weeks.

Kongowea Ward Rep Jabes Oduor said it was important to have regulations that provide for an exit clause in case the counties are separating.

Leader of Majority Abdallah Kasagamba tabled the Motion that was only opposed by Kadzandani Ward Representative Mohamed Ndanda.

Assemblies’ backing

All six coast county assemblies are expected to endorse JKP so as to fully formalise its status and ensure governors spend public funds on their activities, including opening of a commercial bank, research by local universities and a joint county tourist board. Kasagamba who is Likoni Ward rep urged the MCAs to endorse the that Motion all coastal counties had agreed to back legislation that would make JKP manage its operation and affairs. “I urge this house to adopt the cooperation agreement between the county governments of Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Tana River and Mombasa, for the formation of Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani,” the Motion said.

But Mr Ndanda opposed the Motion, arguing that coastal counties were still struggling to fix teething problems and should not rush to form a bigger integrated bloc as that amounted to a top-bottom approach to development programmes.

“Mombasa County Government has not realised any development. Roads are in pathetic state and there is none in my own ward. We cannot rush into forming an integration with other counties when some of the 30 wards in Mombasa have not experienced any development. We should first put our own house in order,” Ndanda said.

But Tononoka Ward Rep Saad Faraj claimed Mr Ndanda was double-faced since he allegedly led the crusade for JKP before he was sacked as chief whip.

“You have all along led the campaign for JKP among all of us when you served as chief whip. What has changed now?” Faraj asked.

Nominated MCA Mary Akinyi who seconded the Motion said JKP would be a vehicle for unity and economic development for the six counties and should therefore be endorsed without delay.

Quality services

“The six counties will form a bigger economic bloc and will benefit all residents of the coast region. Unity is strength and we cannot afford to let this opportunity go,” she said.

Deputy Speaker Mswabah Rashid said JKP would help the counties create a pool capital for joint investment and also create a bigger market. Minority Leader Ms Maimuna Mwawasi said Coast General Hospital would be among the joint projects that the six counties would fund. “The counties will contribute funds towards the running of the Coast General Hospital and this will ensure quality services to our people. The counties can also jointly build ports in the region,” she argued.

Mji wa Kale Kizingo Ward Rep Murfad Amur said MCAs from all six counties held their final meeting with the governors in Voi and endorsed establishment of the economic bloc.

“Let us look at the bigger picture. The aim of Jumuiya is for all six counties to operate on same standards of service delivery and invest jointly. This is going to attract investments to our region,” Mr Amur said.

Development blueprint

During the launch of JKP on June 13 this year at the Fort Jesus Museum in Mombasa, the governors announced plans to formulate an economic development blueprint for the coast region that would similar to the Vision 2030 national development strategic plan.

The JKP secretariat headed by Technical University of Mombasa don William Kingi is organising a regional economic conference this month that would discuss various development initiatives for the coast.

“We are planning a regional economic conference in August that will come up with a blueprint similar to the Vision 2030 that will guide initiatives for economic growth,” Dr Kingi said recently.

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