NGOs and donor partners should fund counties directly — Ongwae

Kisii governor blames funding through the national government for bureaucratic leakages and theft

In Summary

• Currently, donor funds have to go pass through the national government.

• Ongwae says the current system causes unnecessary delays and wastage.

Kisii governor James Ongwae
Kisii governor James Ongwae
Image: FILE

Kisii Governor James Ongwae wants donor agencies to be allowed direct engagement with the counties on funding.

Direct funding, he said, will stem bureaucratic leakages and theft. Ongwae said the current system of funding where cash from donor agencies have to pass through the national government is causing unnecessary delays and wastage.

"My opinion is that it will be prudent if these funds were channelled directly to the ultimate user. By doing this, we could not be having so many stalled projects," he said.

The county chief said many had been the instances where funds get stolen midway before they arrive at the intended counties.

Direct donor funding was outlawed by former Treasury CS Henry Rotich on account that the counties are not countries. Rotich argued that donors prefer dealing with states to devolved units. The counties were also barred from getting direct funding for the war on HIV-Aids.

But speaking in his office when he met USAID officials, Ongwae said late funding hampers growth and causes proliferation of stalled projects.

Agency officials Mark Meassick and legal Officer Kelly Mark, said devolution, though a good concept, was being marred by piecemeal funding from the national government.

At the function were executives John Momanyi (Lands), Skitter Ocharo (Water), Duke Mainga (Culture) and Bichanga Okibo (Administration).

Messick said mobilising resources and utilising them well for their intended projects are crucial to development.

“We want to mobilise capital to be invested in the county to ensure it is sustainably developed and accord players equal opportunities for economic development,” he said.

He said the USAID will help form business associations and link up community-based organisations to work closely with the county and foster development.

More needs to be devolved from the national government and more funds be received to sustain the pace of development needed in the counties, he said. 

Ongwae lauded the USAID for supporting the youth to start a Sacco. The USAID officials were in the county to seek partnership on youth and women empowerment programmes.

Elsewhere, Governor Ongwae reiterated his call to remove eucalyptus from riparian land to safeguard water towers. He called for stakeholder partnership to ensure tree owners are given an option.

"The county is exploring how the residents can get other options as they cut down the bluegums," he said.

(Edited by F'Orieny)