Wednesday, 05 October 2022 08:49

NEW COUNTY BOSSES HOLD INAUGURAL MEETING TO BE INDUCTED ON KEY STRATEGIC ISSUES ON DEVOLUTION

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The Council of Governors facilitated the induction of the new team of Governors and Deputy Governors which was held between 14th – 18th September 2022. The induction whose theme was, ‘Towards Better Governance and Outcome-Driven Service Delivery in the Counties’ introduced the Governors and Deputy Governors to the following topics: the history of devolution in Kenya; legal and policy framework guiding the Counties; Intergovernmental relations; County planning, budgeting, and financing; County public service management; governance and leadership skills.
The three-day induction held at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa County brought together the 47 Governors and their deputies. The induction was also attended by top National Government Officials, development partners, the Commission on Administrative Justice, the Office of the Controller of Budget, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and the Auditor General among others.
Speaking during the official opening of the induction, Deputy President H.E. Rigathi Gachagua congratulated the newly elected Governors and their deputies for their victory in the 9th August 2022 polls, further reiterating that devolution remains one of the most transformative reforms of the Constitution.
“As the National Government, we will continue to support the County Governments to strengthen systems and processes that will ensure Devolution is deepened and Kenyans access better services at the grassroots level. The new Government is committed to addressing issues that may affect the implementation of devolution in the next five years,” noted the Deputy President. In addition, he emphasized his intention to ensure that the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) meetings are constituted as envisaged in the law and they remain consultative to resolve the contentious issues affecting County Governments, especially on budgets.
While making her opening remarks Council of Governors CEO, Ms. Mary Mwiti, expressed confidence that the new leadership will effectively discharge their mandate, the challenges notwithstanding.
“We make a clarion call to all Excellency Governors and their deputies to stand united to safeguard the principles of devolution and ring-fence the gains made thus far. May you be remembered as having contributed to the strengthening of devolution in Kenya,” she added.
Giving his remarks Mr. Gerald Macharia, Regional Director for Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), commended the 7 newly elected female Governors on their win in the August General Elections while urging all the leaders to remain dedicated to the service of the citizens.
“We need to be alive to the high expectations of the Kenyan people considering the new order of Government. Let us listen to the voices of all citizens, including the entire electorate and the millions of Kenyans across all the 47 Counties who consider this country their home,” he noted.
While appraising members on the history of devolution in Kenya, H.E. Dr. Julius Malombe of Kitui County raised alarm over the inadequate allocation of funds to County Governments despite the assignment of functions as stipulated under the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution.
“There is a need to critically analyze all County functions, unbundle them and ensure that resources follow these functions. We, therefore, urge the National Treasury to ensure timely disbursement of funds to County Governments to enable them effectively serve all Kenyans,” he noted.
Similarly, County Governments were advised to maximize their own source revenue potential by reforming existing revenue sources and seeking out new avenues to finance their budgets in addition to the Counties’ equitable share.
Governors flagged a myriad of problems affecting service delivery in devolved units, including irregular employment, bloated workforce, pending bills, and intrusion of the provincial administration, among others.
Chair of the devolution donor working group, H.E Amb. Ole Thonke highlighted key aspects to consider going forward into the third generation of County Governments. These include public participation; financial accountability; and collaboration with the National Government, civil society, and the private sector.
“As the International community, we remain committed to supporting County Governments in the implementation of devolution in Kenya. Additionally, we call upon the Senate and the National assembly to fast-track enactment of the County Government Additional Allocation Bill to allow transfer of funds to Counties,” he said.
The task awaiting the newly elected County leadership requires them to be determined, willful, and committed to delivering on the promise of devolution. Through the concerted efforts of both levels of Government and other devolution stakeholders, we will overcome the challenges that continue to claw back on devolution and steer the devolution agenda in Kenya to greater heights.
Governors have pledged to work with all stakeholders to strengthen devolution for effective service delivery to all Kenyans.

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