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the 1Our Chief Guest, Hon. Ekwee Ethuro, Speaker of the Senate
The Chief Justice, Hon. Willy Mutunga
My colleague Governors present
Representatives from National Government
Chairpersons of Constitutional Commissions and Independent Offices
Development Partners present
Members from the Private Sector
Representatives from Civil Society Organizations

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It has now been three years since the introduction of the devolved system of Governance in Kenya and it gives me great pleasure to stand here and celebrate the gains and successes of devolution

While the start of devolution was challenging, the devolved governments have taken off in earnest and each County has a story of growth and change that needs to be told

One of the most critical triggers for the push for Devolution in the Constitution of Kenya (2010) was to bring service delivery closer to the people. This was the promise of devolution and we can attest to the fact that water, health services, ECDE among other are now closer to the people than they were 50 years ago. Before 2010 our view of devolution was theoretical, we have however, now been living it for 3 years and the Devolution Conference offers a forum for a critical reality check into the gains. At the same time it allows time to reflect on the challenges and determine not to repeat the errors of our forefathers

This is an important year for devolution as the end of the transition period is fast approaching. We are looking at ways to strengthen devolution after the transition period ends on 4th March 2016 and to develop a roadmap into the future. Our priority right now is, as a Council, to ensure that all functions as stipulated in the Constitution, are successfully transferred to County Governments with the corresponding resources since resources follow functions.

The full actualization of devolution is a continuous process that will take several years for frameworks to be fully functional. Nevertheless, tremendous progress has been made albeit with inevitable challenges. The Council of Governors has been able to define & deliver a collective voice for Counties and provide a platform for engagement with the National Government.

At this year’s Annual Devolution Conference we examine how well we have performed during transition and interrogate how to safeguard devolution. Last year we held a successful conference in Kisumu that brought together National Government and County Governments to dialogue, engage and learn and we aim to maintain the same level of engagement this year.

At this conference we will examine the laws governing the transition period while identifying what has been done and suggest a way forward for on what needs to be done to make devolution post transition a success. The conference will also celebrate achievements by both National and County Governments; examine approaches that were used to empower citizens and share experiences, challenges and opportunities by different counties; Identify lessons and constraints in the empowerment continuum and the application of government system to each individual citizen; and opportunities for technical cooperation in strengthening institutional capacity for devolution to achieve the critical goal of empowerment through shared intergovernmental systems and responsibilities."

As you all know, this year’s conference is being held in Meru County. Meru County is a united prosperous green model county with numerous opportunities for trade, investment and tourism. The Meru people are hospitable and am sure that they will be excited to welcome you all

I am aware that the Multi-Agency Devolution Steering Committee have been meeting every week to plan for the Conference and I would like to request development partners, private sector, civil society and all like-minded people to support the conference in whichever way possible. I am happy to launch today, the online registration platform to ease the process of registration for our participants.

I want to invite all our development partners, constitutional commissions, independent Offices, members from the private sector, civil societies and friends to join us in this journey and offer their support, as they have been done before to enable us have a successful conference. We now have 65 days left to the conference and I believe there is an opportunity for all of us to be part of this exciting journey and conference.

I would now like to invite the Speaker of the Senate to give his remarks, be the first guest to register for the 3rd Annual Devolution Conference 2016 and to officially kick off the registration process for the Conference

I welcome you all to Meru County

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