Raila warns of late release of development cash to counties

ODM leader Raila Odinga at Awendo bus park addressed members of the public on December 15, 2023, during his Migori visit. [Caleb Kingwara Standard]

The opposition has warned the Kenya Kwanza government against killing the devolution dream.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga said devolution was the biggest gain in the 2010 Constitution.

Speaking on Thursday when he launched projects in Ugunja and Gem sub-counties, Raila said his party, the Orange Democratic Movement, was 'birthed' courtesy of the new Constitution.

The projects include road upgrades in Yala and Ugunja at a cost of Sh27m and Sh47m, respectively. A maternity theater complex will also be constructed at Yala Hospital for Sh25 million.


Raila, who was accompanied by Siaya Governor James Orengo, Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga, MPs Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) and Samuel Atandi (Alego-Usonga), said funds should flow to the grassroots.

"Unlike in the past when everything was being controlled by the defunct provincial administration, devolution ensured that services are taken to the people together with funds.

"The little money they have been releasing to counties is only enough to pay salaries and not for development. This is what they are doing to undermine devolution and we shall not accept," the ODM leader said.

Mr Wandayi said that county governments were yearning to undertake development projects, but the Treasury had failed them by not disbursing funds promptly.

Political parties

"These monies belong to the people and not Ruto and his cronies. So they must disburse for it to be used by counties," he said.

Wandayi, who is the National Assembly Minority Leader, claimed that President William Ruto had declared war on political parties hence why funding had dried up.

"We are warning him to restore all monies that were budgeted to the political parties," he said.

Mr Atandi said the Constitution did not foresee a situation where the national government would be holding resources.

"I condemn the delay," said Mr Atandi, adding that Ruto had failed to lead the country.

Mr Orengo said Kenyans were not feeling the presence of national government projects, because there were none.

"We, the people of Kenya, fought for independence. In Nyanza and Siaya there are patriots who fought for that. The government must respect our people for this," said Orengo, who urged the government to lower the cost of living.

Siaya County Assembly Speaker George Okode accused the Controller of Budget and the National Government of lying to Kenyans.

"You should stop deceiving Kenyans that some counties are not absorbing development funds yet it was evident that there are works going on in the counties but monies are not disbursed," said Mr Okode.

Mr Oburu residents to embrace all the projects initiated by the national and county governments.

"We are all aware that Ruto has no idea how to run this country, and I don't think he will help this country," said Oburu. He challenged the President to expand the revenue base instead of increasing taxes.