, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Three Governors including Bomet leader Isaac Ruto have maintained that they will continue with the push for a referendum on devolution while emphasising that it is not a CORD-driven idea.
Leading a forum with the Civil Society which Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok and his Mandera counterpart Ali Roba also attended, Ruto stressed that the issue is a matter that affects all Kenyans and should not be politicized.
He lashed out at his Jubilee colleagues for distancing themselves from the referendum due to their political affiliation.
“If every time you have an idea and your opponent agrees with you must you run away from it? Must you run away from this idea because CORD has supported it? In fact, you should be saying thank you very much, you mean we can agree on this point and then we move on and say let’s proceed,” he said.
“If every time they agree you run away, when will CORD get out of this country, because they will be here this year, next year and even when we go for the elections in 2017.”
Nanok accused the national government of trying to hijack the devolution process saying that this will limit their capacity.
“The more I listen to our top political leaders, the more I am convinced we must go for the referendum. The more they try to convince us against it, the more we are convinced we must do it,” he stated.
He explained that many leaders were more focused on political affiliations rather than service delivery to Kenyans.
“The reason is that even at this age, we are still appealing to tribal affiliation. We can still say the government is ours. Devolution is the answer for under development in Kenya,” he said.
Roba on the other hand observed that the promise by Deputy President William Ruto to increase the allocation to county governments to 40 percent was not realistic unless it was anchored into the law.
“The Deputy President said that we might give you 40 percent next year or the following year. Is that a promise or what is it? I do not understand it. I am telling you that it is not just one thing that we want. We also want the Senate to be given more powers. The other issue is that the resources should be predictable,” he said.
He stated that the allocation to county governments should be 40 percent of the latest audited accounts.
“When we say 45 percent, it is not out of the blues. We are saying we want to amend Article 203 to say not less that 45 percent of the last audited accounts. What it says no is not less than 15 percent of the last audited accounts as approved by parliament,” he said.
“I do not trust that this Parliament will approve any other audited accounts. The last one they did was 2010/2011 accounts so we are dealing with a historical figure of three years ago and they will not approve any other so that next year they will give us 40 percent of 2010/2011 and this is less than what we are getting now.”
Their sentiments were echoed by Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar Hassan who pointed out that there were various issues to be addressed in the referendum being pushed for.
“It is a referendum on the original ideas. You if you want a referendum for another thing, you can wait for us to finish this one,” he said.