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DEVOLUTION UNDER THREAT?

Protect the interests of the counties, senators told

Sonko tells them that apart from their oversight role, they should be their voice to ensure projects are done

In Summary

• Sonko says counties are at risk of losing funds and political support from other arms of government. 

• Poghisio calls on counties to support their oversight role. 

West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko lead the Senate Delegated Legislation Committee to the Nairobi County Assembly on June 13
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION: West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko lead the Senate Delegated Legislation Committee to the Nairobi County Assembly on June 13
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Senators have been urged to protect the interests of the counties to ensure devolution works effectively

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said that besides oversight, they should be the voice of the counties to ensure the devolved units fully implement their development agenda.

"As county governments, we need the support of the Senate to safeguard the interest of the devolved units. You should be talking for us," Sonko said on Thursday.

The Senate Delegated Legislation Committee led by its chairman, West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio, had paid a courtesy call on Sonko in his office on before meeting the county assembly committee on delegated county legislation.

Sonko said counties are at risk of losing funds and political support from other arms of the government.

He urged the Senate to step up its mandate of protecting the interest of counties as enshrined in the Constitution.

“Your role as the oversight body is well stipulated in our Constitution, but you are also required to act as protectors of counties to ensure the devolved units are well funded to guarantee Kenyans development across the country,” the governor said.

Poghisio called on county assemblies to play their roles effectively to support the Senate’s role of overseeing counties.

Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga backed Poghisio’s remarks, saying, however, that the Senate had a problem with the counties because the legislative arm is one with the executive, "while MCAs have forgotten their role of oversight".

"Although most county assemblies have no capacity to deal with oversight roles, we need them to take the centre stage to look into reports like audit queries instead of summoning governors to the Senate over minor issues. Only MCAs know better on the use of funds and development projects by governors,” she said.

 

Omanga also said in terms of lawmaking, a lot of work needs to be done because some laws which are in place were put by colonialists despite having the legislative arm of the government.

In addition, Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki guaranteed that the Senate will continue to fight for the rights of county governments to ensure they get their rightful share of revenue.

“At the moment, we are fighting for more funds for county governments to ensure devolution succeeds, Faki said.

The National Assembly wants counties to be allocated Sh310 billion in 2019-20, but the Senate wants them allocated Sh335 billion in the Division of Revenue Bill. 

The meeting was also attended by Sonko's 10 man Cabinet, acting county secretary Pauline Kahiga, her deputy Leboo Morintat and Chief of Staff Brian Mugo.

Leboo urged Senators to make it a routine and visit development projects by county governments in order to get clarification of the use of funds. 

Edited by R.Wamochie