Lack of citizen participation blamed for devolution woes

March 23, 2014 2:15 pm
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County governments are obligated by the county government Act to conduct civic education on devolution but have failed to do so, claiming they don't have resources--Civil society.
County governments are obligated by the county government Act to conduct civic education on devolution but have failed to do so, claiming they don’t have resources–Civil society.
NAIROBI, Kenya, March 23 – Civil Society Organisations are now blaming Governors for not stamping their authority within County Governments while stating that they have allowed unscrupulous individuals to undermine devolution through unpopular bills.

Speaking during a press conference this morning, the National Civil Society Congress leader Morris Odhiambo says that Governors have failed to listen to the people’s needs and priorities by not allowing citizen participation.

“We must also blame the governors because so far they have failed to create avenues of participation for citizens at the county level,” Odhiambo said at a press conference on Sunday, adding “This means that they have allowed those with bad intentions to manipulate law making processes at the county levels to portray devolution in bad light.”

He also stated that county governments are obligated by the county government Act to conduct civic education on devolution but have failed to do so, claiming they don’t have resources.

“Indeed it is the leaders who are failing, it is not the system. We have a structure, if we have people who are willing to implement it, they will do so,” he said. “If we have people who see themselves just as beneficiaries of the devolved system, then they cannot implement it the way it was supposed to be implemented.”

Odhiambo also observed that the protracted rivalry between Senators and Governors was a major impediment to the implementation of devolution.
He stated that the continued struggle for control of resources had posed a major hindrance to devolution.

“The Senators have shown a desire to be part of the execution of development projects at the county level. This goes against the principle of separation of powers. Senators like Members of the National Assembly are officers of the national government even though their work is to protect the interests of counties,” he said.

He observed that the war between the Senators and Members of the National Assembly was not helping in the implementation of devolved government.

Odhiambo stated that the ballooning wage bill in the country is not caused by devolution but corruption which needs to be rooted out.

“Our view is that the financial problems facing Kenya are as a result of many years of corruption, contracted debts, wastage in government expenditure among others. It is the greed among leaders that has created the current mess,” he said, and urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to concentrate more in eliminating graft in all government departments—including counties.

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