NAIROBI, Kenya May 24 – Secretary to the Cabinet nominee Francis Kimemia on Friday dismissed allegations that the national government planned to use county commissioners and the new Ministry of Devolution and Planning to sabotage devolution.
This comes a day after Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) principals Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka lashed out at the Jubilee government accusing it of trying to stifle devolution through the creation of the Devolution Ministry and allocating it Sh84 billion.
They argued that the funds allocated to the ministry should have instead been channelled to the 47 counties to facilitate devolution.
However, Kimemia during his parliamentary approval hearing said that currently, governors are the senior most political leaders in county governments while the county commissioners represent the national government.
“Majority of the functions of the government are now with the governors, while the county commissioner is only a bureaucrat appointed by the president,” Kimemia explained.
He pointed out that the government if fully committed to promote devolution saying that it is the only way to empower citizens at the grassroots.
“Devolution is not an option. It has to happen. County commissioners should not frustrate those efforts,” he stated.
Kimemia who headed the civil service said his new role is tasked with resolving the row between county commissioners and governors and whether the Jubilee government was sabotaging devolution.
“My duty will be taking charge of the Cabinet Office, preparing the agenda and discussing the agenda with the president. My duty will be to ensure the Bills taken to the Cabinet are within the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” Kimemia stated.
“There have been too many ideas, but those ideas have not been implemented. We need to ensure they become tangible.”
“I think this will be one of the major challenges to the new office, to ensure that this shelving of good laws, policies, sessional papers… tracking them down to ensure that there is feedback to Cabinet,” he added.
He told the committee that President Uhuru Kenyatta will have to decide who will be the Head of the Civil Service and what role the holder of the office will play in coordinating government operations.
He noted the national government will also prioritize facilitating the police with advanced equipment to help counter crime in the country.
“We must equip the police due to insecurity. We need to stamp out the gun-culture in this country. There are too many firearms in this country in wrong hands.”
He also told the Asman Kamama-led committee that that his office is working with the relevant ministry to enforce the famous Michuki laws to ensure sanity on the roads after a rise in fatal accidents.