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State-county rows have slowed down devolution, says Eugene

'Let us talk to one another and not at each other'

In Summary

• CS says poor communication hinders the counties from fully exploiting their potential and delivering dividends of devolution. 

• Ministry in the process of developing a legal framework for the two levels of government to interact.  

Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Hussein Dado at the third Agriculture Inter-Governmental Forum in Mombasa on Wednesday
'NORMAL, SOLUBLE DISPUTES': Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Hussein Dado at the third Agriculture Inter-Governmental Forum in Mombasa on Wednesday
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Poor communication mechanisms between the national and county governments are undermining devolution, CS Eugene Wamalwa has said.

Wamalwa said in a speech read on his behalf by Chief Administrative Secretary Hussein Dado that disputes should not be allowed to escalate into conflicts.

Some counties have suffered underdevelopment or slow development because of the wrangles, with some ending up in court.

However, the CS noted, differences of opinion are healthy and should be approached positively.

The ministry has developed the Alternative Dispute Resolution to encourage the two levels of government to work together in resolving disputes without litigation.

“Using ADR goes a long way to not only save costs related to litigation but critically in portraying a positive image to the people of Kenya about the relationship between the two levels of government."

This gives them confidence in the pragmatic use of public resources, the CS said.

“Let us talk to one another and not at each other. We are here for you."

“These obstacles that have been encountered slow down the ability of both the national and the county governments’ ability to fully exploit their potential and deliver the dividends of devolution,” he told the two-day third Agriculture Inter-Governmental Forum in Mombasa. The forum started on Wednesday.

The ministry is in the process of developing Intergovernmental Sector Forum Regulations that will provide a legal framework for the two levels of government to interact and cooperate in the discharge of their functions.

Wamalwa said the forum has been key in shepherding Kenya towards food security.

To complement the efforts of the agriculture sector, the devolution ministry is involved in Instruments of Advice and Support (Ideas) Programme, a bilateral arrangement of the government and the European Union.

Its main objective is to contribute to the implementation of the devolution by strengthening national and county institutional capacities. Ideas was started in 2014.

“Fifteen counties have been identified and are benefitting from the programme by getting funds to finance local economic projects,” the CS said.

Most of the projects are in the agricultural sector and include markets for agricultural products, abattoirs and fruit processing plants.

Wamalwa said the ministry has developed resilience models in agriculture and livestock production to help farmers in drought-prone areas like Turkana.

Turkana, West Pokot, Isiolo, Marsabit, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and Samburu counties will benefit from these models once upscaled.

He said the National Drought Management Authority, currently operational in 23 counties, will ensure that droughts do not become famine and will mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Edited by R.Wamochie