, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – Governors have converged in Kakamega for the annual devolution conference to take stock of their work in resource management and distribution.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was scheduled to officially open the conference but opted to address it from State House, Nairobi due to what sources attributed to bad weather that prevented him taking a helicopter to Kakamega.
Key speakers at the event include Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, Senators as well as other invited guests from other sectors – among them Chief Justice David Maraga.
Speaking earlier during the event, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Wamalwa stated that despite the challenges, a lot has been achieved through devolution.
“I think after five years, we are here to celebrate the progress we have made and in every corner of Kenya, we have seen progress and we must celebrate it. The fact that we could have done what we have done as a country is something that has never happened anywhere in the world even in advanced democracies, it took many years for them to achieve levels of decentralization that they do have now,” he stated.
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen emphasized the need for an independent audit to be undertaken on all county expenditures.
“We think we need to engage men and women in the academia who can do an independent audit and in the next one year, we should get a report to ask ourselves where we are on matters of devolution. Let us start a new chapter from today. Let us disperse the power of managing and allocation of resources,” he stated.
He urged Governors, to share the function of managing and allocating resources with the county assemblies and assured that the Bill on Ward Development Fund will be given utmost consideration.
“When we come to such a conference to audit our performance on matters devolution, we should not only focus on auditing how county governments have taken services to the village level. We must also ask the question, how has the national government taken its services closer to the people,” he said.
Siaya Senator James Orengo underscored the need for the national government not to engage in blame but to ensure resources get to the county on time to ensure efficient service delivery.
“Whenever I go back to Siaya, many times if there is anything wrong in the county, the blame game shifts from the National government to the county government. If there is a road that is impassable, the first reference is the county government or the Governor. If there is an infraction of insecurity, the first point would normally be the County Government,” he observed.