Thursday, November 21, 2013

Waiguru raises red flag over devolution

Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning Ann Waiguru addresses the media at the Safari Park Hotel after a meeting of Ministries department and government agencies on 7th October 2013.

Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning Ann Waiguru addresses the media at the Safari Park Hotel after a meeting of Ministries department and government agencies on 7th October 2013.  Photo/ANN KAMONI

By OUMA WANZALA
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The local elite could grab county resources and powers to selfishly benefit themselves, a Cabinet Secretary has warned.

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru said yesterday that safeguards must be put in place to ensure county leaders and their cronies do not sideline the minorities.

“We need a clear understanding on risks and how to safeguard against them,” she said while presenting a report on status of devolution at a forum in Nairobi.

She said more attention should be paid to oversight and accountability by putting in place laws that would strengthen county assemblies and boost public participation.

Ms Waiguru noted that different counties had varying natural resources and economic potential and some were likely to generate more revenue than others.

“The loss of central command on posting of staff means that in our case, county-based market for skills has been created and the counties that offer better opportunities for people with these skills will benefit at the expense of others,” she said.

Full realisation of devolution, she said, was expected to take several years, but added that tremendous progress has already been made.

“Mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that the two levels of government work in harmony and in the true spirit of consultation and co-operation as envisaged in the Constitution,” she said.

The minister said talks were going on between the national and county governments on the establishment of the intergovernmental relations technical committee.

Ms Waiguru added that the national government would provide continuous training to ensure effective implementation of policies and realisation of development in all the 47 devolved units.