NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Over 6,000 local and international participants are expected to attend the 4th Annual Devolution Conference to be held in Nakuru on Monday.
The four-day conference, which will be the final as the country gears towards the August elections, will be attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The President will head to Nakuru County to preside over the annual devolution conference and this is always an opportunity to take stock and review progress thus far in implementing devolution,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu told journalists in Nyeri Sunday.
A programme released by the Council of Governors shows that President Kenyatta will officiate the opening on Tuesday, even though it will start on Monday.
The theme of the meeting will be “Devolution – Transforming Lives: Tell your story”.
According to Esipisu, leaders will use the occasion to reflect on the achievements gained through devolution.
“Of course this administration is totally committed to the devolution project and has shown this in terms of how it has supported devolution, devolving functions well on schedule,” he said.
“Discussions will be around the strides that have been made since 2013 when devolution was implemented and devolution is indeed working in this country,” he stated.
The conference is organized by the Council of Governors which is chaired by Meru Governor Peter Munya.
“We must sustain continuous consultation and collaboration between the two levels of government. Devolution is not just a process but a noble initiative that requires unwavering commitment from all Kenyans. As pioneers of Devolution we will use the 4th Annual Devolution Conference to undertake self-assessment and reflection while resolving to improve on the gains realised to date,” Munya said in a statement.
Counties have often accused the central government of failing to adequately support the devolved units as outlined in the constitution.
“For those who doubt, just check the amount of money counties are receiving and look at some of the transformative things that some counties have been able to do as a result of devolution. Here in Nyeri County for example, Sh13 billion has been received since 2013 from the national government,” Esipisu said, defending the central government.
The conference will bring together 47 governors, senators, members of Parliament, Members of County Assemblies (MCAs), investors and other business people, both local and international.
Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro said he is “confident, that working in mutual collaboration and cooperation with all devolution stakeholders and particularly the county governments, the next Senate will work to consolidate and secure the gains made thus far. As the country moves ever closer to the coming general elections, I wish to urge the government, civil society and all Kenyans of goodwill to remain vigilant in ensuring a peaceful and democratic outcome of the polls.”
The first conference was held in Kwale in 2014 with the 2015 one being held in Kisumu.
Last year, Meru County hosted the third conference.