, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15 – “We have no intentions of merging with anyone” – this is the response by Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto to calls by the CORD coalition for a possible merger in a referendum which both groups are agitating for.
The Bomet County Governor said the two groups were driven by different motives and thus the reason why they did not want to join CORD, but reiterated they were not in a contest with the coalition over constitutional changes.
In an interview with Capital FM News, Ruto said; “we are not in competition with anyone over this; political parties are also free to push their issues in the market place, because this is just a market. CORD is a political party… it may be seen and it will be seen in that manner; that it is under political influence, For us we are moving as a bi-partisan group simply defending devolution.”
Ruto said the Governors’ steering committee was holding consultative meetings to draft the Bill which outlines the issues of concern and also framing of the referendum question.
The Governors have outlined 10 issues of concern including security where they want Governors to be in charge of county security as opposed to County Commissioners; the need to strengthen the Senate to protect devolution, the need to increase revenue allocation to counties from 15 percent to 45 percent among others.
According to Ruto, despite the fact that the number of issues they have outlined are quite many, they can still be accommodated in the referendum question.
He says: “There could be 10 questions emanating from different people, we as Council of Governors are producing a Bill, in that Bill we will be having everything in there so that you vote for what you know this is what the council of Governors are saying to protect devolution. CORD will have their issues, and any other group can have its issues.”
The Bomet county Governor has already initiated the process of lobbying for signatures in his home turf.
The Governor also lashed out at Senators whom they said we overstretching their mandate by summoning Governors to their committees over accountability issues.
Ruto and two other Governors have been sanctioned by the Senate which has asked the Controller of Budget to suspend withdrawal of any county funds by the counties after they refused to appear before the Sessional County Public Accounts and Investments committee.
The counties facing a funds ban are Bomet, Kisumu and Kiambu.
Murang’a County which had been included was on Thursday pulled out of the list after its Governor, Mwangi wa Iria appeared before the committee.