'UGATUZI INITIATIVE'

Governors to launch push for referendum, says Oparanya

But governors are ready to engage other groups on a common push for a referendum.

In Summary

• The CoG will on September 18 give a date for the launch the bid named Ugatuzi Initiative.   

• Oparanya says constitutional changes need to be discussed widely and various groups coming up with different proposals were right to do so. 

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya with University of Eldoret VC Teresia Akenga on September 12.
NEW BID: Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya with University of Eldoret VC Teresia Akenga on September 12.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

The Council of Governors will next week announce a new constitutional change initiative which will focus on strengthening devolution.

Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said the CoG will on September 18 give a date for the launch of the bid named Ugatuzi Initiative.   

However, Oparanya said governors are ready to engage other groups on a common push for a referendum to amend the Constitution but with a key focus on devolution.

“We are not opposed to any other suggestions to amend the Constitution but our focus will be those that make devolution stronger,” Oparanya said.

He spoke in Eldoret where he was the chief guest during a trade fair at the University of Eldoret. Vice chancellor Teresia Akenga was the host. 

The Kakamega governor said the CoG had reached an agreement on issues to be pushed through the Ugatuzi Initiative and details will be unveiled next week at a meeting in Nairobi.

He said issues to do with constitutional changes need to be discussed widely and various groups coming up with different proposals were right to do so.

The CoG chief said their proposals were based on the challenges governors have faced since devolution started. 

“For example, we do not want a repeat of the situation where we had no funding for the last three months. We need better legislation to deal with such issues,” he said.

Oparanya said governors had welcomed the decision by the Senate to accept the Division of Revenue Bill.

Counties will receive Sh316 billion as a share of revenue this financial year based on the agreement.

He said county operations had stalled in the period of the stalemate and all activities were about to shut down by the end of this month.

Oparanya said they will still push for additional funding through a supplementary budget so that the counties can receive the Sh335 billion recommended by the Commission on Revenue Authority.

“We think the national government should see the need for increased funding to counties as recommended by the CRA because we deal with critical issues like healthcare which require adequate funding,” Oparanya said.

Partnerships between educational institutions and counties in research would also help improve performance in the agriculture sector that was also devolved to counties, he said. 

He said universities had the capacity to help modernise farming and also deal with challenges which farmers go through that cause a decline in production.

(edited by O. Owino)