Governors to use forum to push for more funds

Saturday March 19 2016

Council of Governors Chairperson and Meru County Governor Peter Munya at a past press conference.  PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Council of Governors Chairperson and Meru County Governor Peter Munya at a past press conference. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Governors have indicated that they will use the upcoming third annual devolution conference to press ahead with the push for more resources.
Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya and his deputy Salim Mvurya on Friday said some functions supposed to be discharged by the county governments had not been devolved together with adequate funds, which has threatened operations at the county level.

Mr Munya, who is also the Meru governor, lamented that counties are still underfunded to enable them deliver more and better services.

“We still have many challenges, the largest being underfunding. We have many functions but no allocations to run them.
“For instance, in the current budget that is before Parliament, we have been allocated an additional 41,000 kilometres of roads that counties are supposed to manage but there is no allocation even of a single cent. Is that fair? That is one way of ensuring that we fail,” lamented Mr Munya.
The county boss asked the public to support them in the fight for resources saying it was for their betterment and interest.
“We will not hesitate in calling for more resources. If you devolve the functions, devolve the funds as well. It is not about governors, it is having county governments properly resourced to give the services required at the grassroots level,” he added.

Mr Mvurya who is the Kwale Governor said counties have established many development projects with the small allocations given to them by the national government.
He said county bosses would not be cowed and would carry on with the campaign for increased funding.
“Devolved governments now have more functions but it is very unfortunate that resources have not been commensurate with the transfer of functions.
“This is something that as a council we will keep on pushing because we know when we have more resources on the ground, we have the opportunity to deliver services in a more efficient way,” he said.
“We recently had a long discussion in Sagana, but it looks like the national government was using that forum to rubberstamp what they had already decided. The National Treasury still presented same figures and therefore we will continue to push for more resources,” he said.
The chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Devolution, Wilfred Lesan, said senators would continue to play their oversight role to ensure that public funds are well utilised.

Mr Lesan, who is the Bomet senator, faulted his colleagues for planning to boycott the conference saying they should work together for devolution to succeed.

“We want to work with the governors in this national conference to look on the progress we have made, learn of mistakes we have made and how to rectify them. We want to ensure that devolution will never disappear from this country,” Mr Lesan said.
The third annual devolution conference to be held from April 19-26 is expected to draw more than 6,000 delegates.
Hotels in the county are hoping to cash in on the conference. The organisers have already given a list of the hotels.

Due to the limited number of hotels in Meru, Mr Munya said, some participants will have to seek accommodation in the neighbouring counties.