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August 20, 2018

Lobby seeks to amend Constitution to raise county funding

Delegates at the 5th Annual Devolution Conference in Kakamega listen to President Uhuru Kenyatta's video link address from State House in Nairobi, April 24, 2018. /PSCU
Delegates at the 5th Annual Devolution Conference in Kakamega listen to President Uhuru Kenyatta's video link address from State House in Nairobi, April 24, 2018. /PSCU

A lobby group has drafted a bill on amending the Constitution to take devolution to the grassroots and increase financial allocations to counties.

Better Kenya Team wants the revenue allocation to increase from 15 to 40 percent.

Chairman Peter Mugo says that from the revenue collected by counties, another 40 percent share should be assigned to the development of wards.

This will see wards get at least Sh150 million every year.

"Devolution has only reached county level. It's time it reached villages. We want these amendments effected because mwananchi should be heard," he said on Tuesday.

In the bill, every county will establish a ward budgeting and development committee as the lowest decentralised unit.

The committee will have an MCA as an ex-officio member representing the county government, chairperson and deputy, secretary and deputy, two male and female youth, an older member of the society of either gender, a representative of minority and marginalised groups and a representative of persons with disabilities of either gender.

"The benefits of these amendments are overwhelming," Mugo said.

"There shall be more money for county governments to fulfil the needs of wards. Ward needs such as water, electricity, security, good roads and a clean environment will be met."

He added: "Ward communities shall no longer experience hunger, poverty, corruption, marginalisation, discrimination and social economic conflicts, and millions of jobs shall be created."

Mugo noted that their push is not related in any way to the handshake and the many constitutional amendment debates by politicians.

"It has taken us two years to identify areas in the Constitution that need amendments," he said, adding they were collecting signatures in support of their bill from registered voters across the country.

The handshake was between Opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Ruto dismissed the three-tier system of governance that Raila proposed during the Devolution Conference in Kakamega.

He emphasised that devolution should trickle further down to the people

"We cannot take devolution upwards. [It should be taken] downwards. That is where devolution has to go and we don't have to change the Constitution for that," he said on April 26.

Raila said Kenya should retain the current counties but establish 14 regional or provincial blocks as units of disbursement of resources and the national government.

More on this: Ruto trashes Raila's proposal for three-tier governance

Also read: Why Ruto is opposing Constitutional changes

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