NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – Governors now say stripping them the right to fly the national flag will create divisions in the country.
Speaking during a meeting with editors on Thursday, Council Chairman Isaac Ruto indicated that the national flag is a symbol of unity across the country which will be threatened if Governors start flying 47 different flags.
Ruto pointed out that the flag and national anthem carry similar values in unifying the people of Kenya.
“What would happen several years down the line if Mandera starts flying a different flag; Bomet a different one, Mombasa a different one, Kwale and Machakos different ones? We teach our children in nursery and primary schools different things and we still call ourselves one country. We will be sowing seeds of division,” he explained.
On Wednesday, the National Assembly was to begin debate on the National Flag, Emblems and Names Amendment Bill which if passed into law will prevent Governors from flying the national flag and using the title ‘his Excellency’ but the matter was shelved.
“If you say Governors should not have the flag how about the national anthem? Do I create a new tune for Bomet because it is also part of the national emblem? Are these gentlemen pushing this idea serious about the need to maintain a united country?” the Bomet Governor asked.
“Suppose somebody in Mandera designs a flag similar to the ones in Puntland… and they speak the same language. What happens 50 years down the line?” he stated implying it was an avenue for possible cessation.
The Governors’ Council is in the meantime set to meet with Senators next week on Tuesday in a bid to iron out differences that have been simmering over their failure to honour summons.
While stating that supremacy wars were just sideshows, Ruto explained that each institution must focus on its mandate as outlined in the Constitution and avoid petty issues.
He emphasised the need for a joint effort to protect devolution as Kenyans are the ones who suffer when leaders fight.
“We will continue to consult with the Senate and remember that the Council of Governors is actually meant to facilitate the intergovernmental relations irrespective of who is asking for the consultations. We have consulted and discussed with the Senate leadership and agreed to meet on Tuesday on a number of issues that we need to clear up but that does not have anything to do with the summons. We are not aware of any summons and we will continue to obey the law,” he revealed.
His sentiments were echoed by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua who indicated that any attempt to fight devolution will be retrogressive and urged President Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign any law against devolution.
Mutua stressed that any attempt by the Senate to slash funds to the County Governments will negatively impact the lives of Kenyans.
The Machakos Governor further urged President Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign into law any bill that reduces their funding.
Parliament has also begun debating the County Governments’ Amendment Bill which among other things seeks to reduce the budget allocation to counties.
“Kenyans are very poor and they want poverty to end. They do not just want power to be centralized the way it used to be but devolution to happen. We know that his Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared he supports devolution. We urge him to also ensure that he does not support any law that is unconstitutional,” Mutua stated.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero weighed in on the debate stressing that leaders need to put their differences aside and work together.
“Anybody who tries to tamper with a county budget is really fighting the Kenyan people because devolution was meant to bring services closer and anybody who tries to tamper with that is actually negating the gains of the Kenyan people,” he said.