NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – Transitional Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi is urging county leaders to avoid squabbles and include the people they serve in their decision making process.
Speaking to Capital FM News, the TA chairman emphasised that this is the only way to make devolution a success and to deal with challenges facing devolution.
“It is not healthy for Kenyans to see MPs leading demonstrations against the Governors and telling the citizens not to pay taxes and yet they are demanding services from the Governors. Where will the Governors get the money? But then setting up the fees, charges and taxes should be an inclusive process,” he said.
“Make sure that the citizens who are going to benefit in your administration are involved in decision making but it is also important that you involve all leaders in decision making in matters that involve the running of the county governments,” he insisted, citing recent demonstrations in various counties, including Kiambu and Mombasa.
“So if it is done well, people will agree to pay taxes and the Governors will provide the services, but leaders cannot be fighting their fellow leaders. If this country becomes one of rebellion, we are going to break it up and the question we need to ask ourselves is ‘what lessons are we teaching our children,” he posed.
Wamwangi explained that the devolution process was now complete and the only way to sustain it is to ensure there is enough public participation.
He said once this is done, the only thing remaining will be the delivery of services by the county authorities.
“It is like a marathon where some people break out, some are ahead by 3 kilometers, others are still behind but they are on track. So the race is on, systems are on, governments are on. It is now a question of efficiency and effectiveness,” he stated.
Wamwangi said that for counties to grow economically, they have to find their own means of getting revenue instead of depending on little funding allocated to them by the central government.
“It’s a must for county governments to get money from the people, the public wants the county government to construct roads and markets for them, where does this money come from,” he posed.
He is optimistic that governors will implement what they learnt from the recent forum in Naivasha where they were given an opportunity to learn from success stories of other countries.
“It (the summit) was of absolute benefit in resolving issues that arise,” said Kinuthia Wamwangi, who chairs the Transition Authority, a key department of government monitoring the implementation of devolution in the country.
Meru Governor Peter Munya feels that the summit, organized by Nation Media Group, has helped spell out key issues which were not well understood by the county government leaders, and would help end conflicts they have always experienced with Senators and the central government.
“Slowly everybody is settling down,” Munya said, “The problem is that we have a new system and there are people who are still operating under the mind-set of the old constitution and I think that is why the clashes are there.”