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Governors happy with BBI proposals on devolution

Governors and other leaders during the BBI report hand over to President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi on 26, November 2019. /PSCU.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 27 – Governors who spoke during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report on Wednesday are impressed by its proposals on strengthening devolution in the country.

Chairman of the Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya said despite challenges facing devolution, the proposals made in the report are a major boost for devolved units.

Oparanya said as Governors, “we will look at the report and interrogate the proposals openly and without bias, so as to ensure devolved units are empowered.”

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae welcomed the proposals, particularly the allocation of 35 percent of Division of Revenue to the Counties, saying the move will ensure smooth operations in the counties.

“That proposal is one of the best I have seen so far and I am happy. I know we were pushing for over 40 percent but 35 is just as good,” said Ongwae.

Although Governor Sonko has been serving without a Deputy Governor for almost two years now since the resignation of Polycarp Igathe, he welcomed the proposal to appoint a deputy within 90 days in case a vacancy occurs, failure to which the speaker of the County will have powers to appoint one.

“I am glad that they touched (on) the issue of the Deputy Governor and I want to assure Nairobi residents that I am ready and I have a beautiful lady who is also ready to become my deputy,” Sonko said.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu said the report is “very crucial in changing what’s not right in the country.”

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, who has been a keen supporter of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga, lauded proposals on gender representation.

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“We have seen the issue of alternative gender addressed, for instance if a governor is male the deputy is female and vice versa, we would like to further ask that this is also replicated in all spheres of government,” said Waiguru.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said that the report “is a beginning of a meaningful national conversation, aimed at securing the future of the coming generation.”

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi “We initially wanted 45 percent as Governors and looking at the proposed 35 -50 percent is not a bad deal though we are still going to persuade for the 45 percent.”

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu also welcomed the report saying most of the proposals “are good for the country.”

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