Devolution key to transforming Kenya – UNDP official

April 3, 2014 12:43 pm
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Speaking during a devolution conference in Kwale on Thursday, Bekele-Thomas stated that devolution holds the key to transforming the lives of Kenyans and any acrimony between the two levels of government should be dealt with as fast as possible/FILE
Speaking during a devolution conference in Kwale on Thursday, Bekele-Thomas stated that devolution holds the key to transforming the lives of Kenyans and any acrimony between the two levels of government should be dealt with as fast as possible/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Kenya Nardos Bekele-Thomas has emphasised the need for a collaborative effort from both the National and County governments to ensure that devolution works.

Speaking during a devolution conference in Kwale on Thursday, Bekele-Thomas stated that devolution holds the key to transforming the lives of Kenyans and any acrimony between the two levels of government should be dealt with as fast as possible.

She further emphasised the need for inclusion of Kenyans in the process to cement its success.

“For devolution to succeed in Kenya there should be a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all State and non-State actors and an appreciation of the complementarity of these roles. There needs to be a collaborative and harmonious approach in dealing with political, economic and social issues,” she said.

During the meeting, she challenged leaders to reflect and work towards how they can meet the expectations of Kenyans.

“We the people of Kenya are committed to nurturing and protecting the well being of the individual, the family, communities and the nation, recognising the aspirations of all Kenyans for a government based on the essential values of human rights, equality and freedom,” she stated.

The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution Chairman Charles Nyachae pointed out that calls for a referendum by county chiefs to increase revenue to the counties was untimely and instead called on Governors to use the available resources prudently. READ Governance row threatens devolution in Kenya

Nyachae stated that a referendum was subject to manipulation and will thus reduce the gains made in devolution.

He maintained that it is still too early to amend the Constitution and argued that devolution requires times before its gains are realised.

“Occasionally you talk about a referendum and my position remains the same; that it is still too early to amend it. At the end of the day if we are to go into a referendum, it is going to be swayed by politicians. We do not want a scenario where the country is making important decisions on its future depending on which politician is able to sway the crowd at a particular moment,” he said.

The Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto however maintained that a referendum would ensure that adequate resources trickle down to the counties.

“On the whole, there is growing recognition of the importance of the National Government to increase the allocations of revenue to counties. Sustainable funding of devolution will definitely enable counties to make prudent development choices. To do so, we may be required to amend the constitution to guarantee national revenue flow to the counties,” he stated.

“We must also be aware that boosting productivity requires more fertilizer and seeds, stronger research and development and a more coordinated and responsive extension system stirred by experts.”

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