, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has described devolution as a success despite the many challenges encountered over the past four years.
Speaking during the 2nd annual Legislative Conference Tuesday, Kiunjuri stressed that devolution has brought services closer to Kenyans and emphasised the central role played by the Senate and County Assemblies.
He however cited the recent doctors’ strike and the constant wrangles between the various arms of government as some of the challenges encountered.
“We have witnessed differences between the National Government, County Governments; between the Senate and the National Assembly, between County Assemblies and County Executives and between County Governments and the Senate,” he stated.
“These past few months, also saw strikes by the health personnel also impacting service provision,” he added.
He further observed the concerns raised over the alleged mismanagement of funds reported in various counties which undermine devolution.
“The Auditor General and Controller of Budget reports of county finances have raised concern on cases of mismanagement and violation of regulations,” he enumerated.
“These challenges demand patience. This is a huge transition. We need to patiently work together to overcome our challenges and realise the dream of devolution.”
He stated that the main cause of the disputes arising seem to be as a result of functions, mandates and even distribution of resources.
“The implementation of the devolution process has not been without challenges. To begin with, despite constitutional clarity of most issues, institutional stakeholders of devolution have been at odds with one another these past for years,” he stated.
During the meeting Speaker Ekwee Ethuro reiterated that the scrapping of the Senate will undermine and eventually kill devolution in the country.
Ethuro stated that the proposal by MPs for the Senate to be scrapped to reduce the growing wage bill is unrealistic and should be shunned.
He indicated that with institutions like County Governments and Senate, the future of Kenya is bright.
“Anybody thinking that you can kill the Senate and still have devolution is not being truthful. We are not fools, it is written and documented and for it to be repeated in the 21st Century, we must condemn it in the strongest term possible,” he said.
He said that the Senate has made a difference in entrenching devolution and stated that leaders should zealously discharge their mandate.
“I am happy for the four years I have been in the Senate, we have done our bit. We are happy we have stabilised some of the relationships among other players,” he explained.
Ethuro said the future of Kenya lies with the Senate and if it will be dissolved, the country will be doomed.
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu in the meantime has urged leaders to avoid breaking the law and conduct themselves with decorum during the August polls.
Speaking during the Summit in Mombasa, Mwilu stated that the judiciary is ready for any leader who will step out of line during this period.
“Only last Friday, the Chief Justice gazetted 92 special magistrates who are going to be dealing with election offences that arise from this process,” she said. “What that means is that you are going to have to conduct yourself within the law because one step outside, we are ready and we are waiting for you.”
She urged all leaders to familiarize themselves with the Elections Act which will guide them during their campaigns.
“There is something called the Election Offenses Act. I urge us to make ourselves familiar with its contents because we are ready for you.”