Joho and Kingi make their cases for three-tier government

Wednesday December 5 2018

Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho

Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho during a meeting with the Building Bridges Initiative Advisory Taskforce at the Kenya School of Government in the county, December 5, 2018. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) want a government that will address the coastal region's challenges, which include landlessness, the squatter problem and historical injustices.

Governor Joho on Wednesday proposed a three-tier government while Mr Kingi on Monday proposed a fully-fledged federal system that will address issues such as marginalisation, historical land injustices and secession.


Governor Joho called for an executive with a president, a deputy, a prime minister and two deputy prime ministers, saying this helped end the violence that followed the 2007 general election.

Political analyst Halimu Shauri explained that the three-tier system consists of a president as the head of State overseeing foreign relations and a prime minister as the head of government functions.

“The eight regions(formerly provinces) will be renamed regional governments, with each having a governor. The counties will have chief executive officers who will be answerable to the regional governor,” said Prof Shauri.

Mr Joho further noted the need for a powerful Senate to make final decisions on the state of Kenya's affairs.

Currently, the National Assembly is the one which vets ministers and ambassadors, oversees most government initiatives and make final decisions on various matters.

“I would also like to propose a parliamentary system of government where cabinet secretaries are directly appointed from parliament. That system worked before and many Kenyans saw its importance. A minister who was a legislator was conversant with Kenyans' issues," he said

"Today, you have Cabinet ministers who do not know priority areas and Kenyans' challenges. They are not representing anyone. We need to return to that style because it worked."


Mr Joho emphasised that this type of government is the only way to realise more development and create opportunities for Kenyans to benefit from all their resources.

While noting that the coastal region has many resources that it has not reaped from, Mr Joho added that counties should receive their shares of revenue depending on their production capacities.

“We have been lamenting for long about the percentage that is shared by the 47 counties while the national government remains with the largest share of 85 percent," he said during a meeting of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Advisory Taskforce at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa.

"I propose that we have another tier government with 12 units, give this government 30 percent, let the counties retain the 15 percent and the national government 55 percent of the allocations. This is in line with the Bomas draft but with the county government retained."


The county chief called for more collaboration between counties and the government before major projects are undertaken.

“A good example is the standard gauge railway. Although this is a noble project, and I do not oppose its implementation, the truth of the matter is that it has affected our resources and the empowerment of our people," he said.

"Had there been consultation between the devolved government and the national government, this situation would have been avoided."


Mr Kingi said the majimbo system will also help eradicate regional disparities such as inequitable distribution of national resources to counties.

Speaking during the presentation of a memorandum on issues affecting coast residents to the BBI team at Pumwani University on Monday, he said the Constitution has failed to address issues on governance and management of resources.

“It led to despair, disillusionment and calls for secession due to marginalisation," he said.

In November last year, Mr Kingi, Mr Joho and a group of about 12 MPs and four senators called for secession, in protest against President Kenyatta's re-election and in a push for development.

The region overwhelmingly voted for Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.

But the call for secession came before last year's election with the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a separatist group led by Omar Mwamnuadzi, hence the slogan ‘Pwani si Kenya.’

The group came to light in 2008 when it said Mombasa should separate from Kenya and become an independent state.


In his proposal, Mr Kingi said the federal system should include eight regions with regional assemblies and a police service.

“We propose that the national government’s main function be restricted to foreign affairs and the defence of our borders including policy matters. Eighty percent of the national revenue shall be released to the regional governments while 20 percent will remain at the national level.”

Mr Kingi explained that the concentration of power and resources at the centre is responsible for the violence witnessed after every presidential election since voting is based on tribes.

“Kenyans are convinced that if one of their own becomes president, they will have the upper hand in access to and utilisation of national resources,” he said. "They therefore do whatever it takes, including engaging in bloodshed, to defend their own.”


To address the issue of historical land injustices, the Kilifi governor proposed the abolition of the National Land Commission and the establishment of eight regional land boards.

“The boards will have the powers and functions of those being enjoyed by the NLC, particularly powers to investigate title deeds and the injustices,” he said.

Mr Kingi also proposed the full implementation of the report of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission and amendment of the Constitution to declare as public land, all title deeds issued in the coastal region before independence.

“Ten thousand families living on Mazrui land, which is their ancestral land, are on the verge of being evicted. To address this challenge, we recommend that the Constitution be amended and a clause inserted, declaring that all Mazrui land is for settling locals.”

The governor said that this way, the family will have no opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of settling locals on the land as was the case when the government repealed a law in 1989.

“In 1989, the government repealed the Mazrui Land Act for purposes of settling squatters. However, in 1991, the heirs of Mazrui went to court to challenge the government's decision and after a 23-year court battle, a judgment was delivered in their favour," he said.