, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Governors on Tuesday demanded involvement in external borrowing in order to tame what they termed as, “wild borrowing,” by the national government.
This borrowing, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto argued, impacted directly on county budgets and thereby earned them the right to have a say.
“Last year we borrowed for the Standard Gauge Railway, we are also in the process of borrowing massively for 10,000kms and therefore eventually there may be hardly any money to share,” he said.
The governors also demanded that the funds allocated to the Kenya Rural Roads Authority, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority and all regional development authorities be diverted to the counties as they were infringing on the county government functions.
“The CoG (Council of Governors) undertook a review of the 2013/14 financial budget and established that the national government had allocated over Sh100 billion on budgetary items that are fully devolved to the county governments. There is money in the country but in the wrong pots,” Ruto stated.
But regardless of the failure by the national government to make all these funds available to them, Ruto said the county governments had made immense progress over the last one and a half years and would only stand to do better with more money.
“There has been great improvement in health, road infrastructure, agriculture, water delivery and in construction of Early Childhood Development Centres and polytechnics in all 47 counties,” Ruto explained.
The governors’ demands for more money however came as Deputy President William Ruto challenged them to, “think out of the box,” and quit depending on the national government to fund their efforts.
“Governors must wake up to the reality that they are leaders. They must stop being cry babies. They must stop saying that we need money from the central government. Leadership demands that you look for solutions,” the Deputy President advised as be appeared on the ‘Capital In The Morning’ radio show.
But the governors maintained that they would push forward with their demands for more money from central government through their Pesa Mashinani referendum drive.
“As some of the matters that have been raised touch on Article 255 (1) of the Constitution, the Bill will invariably have to go the people for a referendum, once Parliament fails to pass it,” Ruto stated.