NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – A recent survey conducted by Infotrak in 10 counties reveals that 71 percent of Kenyans believe that devolution has made a big difference in their lives.
According to the report done in partnership with the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), those interviewed also indicated that the counties need to do more in the management of funds.
Speaking during the presentation on Friday, Infotrak Chief Executive Officer Angela Ambitho emphasised the need for all effort to be made to ensure that devolution succeeds.
“When it comes to the management of public finances, what the people are generally saying is that we expect more, we expect better, we expect more accountability and transparency in the way our finances are being managed by the county government,” she stated.
The study also ranked public participation as the lowest with 82.9 feeling that they were not involved adequately in county affairs.
“What was even more interesting is that when we looked at public participation, then the scores of the people who had said that they had actually been included or contacted to participate in any fora that discussed county issues was extremely low. When we actually look at the percentage of people who had been involved in public participation activities, Kwale had the highest incidents,” she said.
CMD Chairman Omingo Magara also voiced the need for Parliament to pass the Division of Revenue Bill 2015 to allow for adequate financial support to county governments.
“As is evident, Kenyans in all the counties are of the view that devolution has made or can make a difference, so all efforts must be made to ensure that it succeeds. It is in that spirit that we urge parliament to quickly pass the Division of Revenue Bill 2015 to distribute funds between the national and county governments. Any further delays can only result in harm to national and devolved governance,” he said.
He stressed that both the National Assembly and the Senate should resolve their differences amicably to ensure that Kenyans benefit from the fruits of devolution.
“We urge the National Assembly and the Senate to display a give and take approach and avoid turf wars on this crucial issue. When they come back to look at the Bill on Wednesday the 3rd of June 2015, they should do their work diligently. It is encouraging that there is a version of the bill that has been agreed on by mediation and which gives the counties sh287billion in the 2015/2016 financial year,” he stated.
Magara however mentioned that the public needs to be involved more in the issue of public participation so that their living standards may be improved.
“We can all see that the issue of public participation remains an area of great concern. Despite Kenyans feeling that devolution can make a difference,, we see that in large numbers, they feel that their county governments are yet to substantively involve them in decision making about county affairs. We must live up to the spirit of Article 10 of the constitution which has public participation as a national principal and value as well as to similar provisions in the County Government Act 2012,” he said.