, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – The Council of Governors says its push for a referendum is not based on personal gain but on ensuring that devolution succeeds.
Speaking during a meeting with deputy governors and members of County Assemblies (MCAs) to build consensus on the plebiscite, Chairman Isaac Ruto said the Senate should be strengthened by making it an upper House with concurrent legislative powers with the National Assembly and ensure that Members of the County Assemblies enjoy similar privileges as Members of Parliament in a proportionate manner.
Ruto also downplayed talk by Deputy President William Ruto that governors were pushing for a referendum as a political game.
“Sometimes when I pray, I would rather Jesus came back to explain and remind these people that you should first remove the log in your eye, before you start looking at the other speck in your brother’s eye. I am sure if Mohamed was around also, he would have a lesson for these people. Us we are forced not to respond because we do not want to get into murky waters,” he said.
He stressed that if devolution was not safeguarded, it would take the country backwards. Ruto pointed out the need for there to be a clear distinction of laws governing the national government and the county governments.
“We want equitable sharing of national and local resources throughout Kenya. For 50 years, our mothers and children continue to die at child birth. The maternal and child mortality rate in Kenya are worse that those in Ethiopia, yet we are a better economy,” he stated.
The meeting came in the wake of complaints from some MCAs who are not satisfied with the way the county executives are handling the issue. The MCAs stated that they have not been consulted despite the fact that they will be an integral part once the referendum bill is tabled in the county assemblies.
One of the proposals of governors is that MCAs should be given perks and benefits similar to those of MPs who have access to car loans, mortgagees, and other allowances.
The governors vowed to soldier on with their push for a referendum and accused the Executive and Parliament of frustrating their quest to have a national vote to amend the Constitution.
Ruto stated that the decision for the plebiscite is an initiative of the Council of Governors (CoG) in its capacity to confront challenges affecting devolution, since efforts to initiate dialogue, pleading and attempts to consult had proved futile.
The governors scoffed at claims by Jubilee leaders, led by Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki, his National Assembly counterpart Aden Duale, Senate Majority Chief Whip Beatrice Elachi and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen that they had joined CORD’s process in the disguise of pushing a parallel national vote.
Ruto, who is also the Bomet Governor, urged the leaders to stop peddling lies.