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October 17, 2018

State hobbles counties to undermine devolution

City hall./MONICAH MWANGI
City hall./MONICAH MWANGI

Seven years since the advent of devolution, counties continue to face myriad challenges undermining operations. We should be doing better.

Some of the challenges have piled up to delay services to Mwananchi.

Particularly, the national government has deliberately delayed release of counties' rightful share of revenue collected nationally, thus paralysing some operations.

Counties' biggest chunk of revenue comes from the Treasury.

While we have maintained that resources are inadequate, their mode of disbursement is worrying and has everything to do with delaying services.

Governors cannot be blamed entirely for the inability of counties to meet expectations.

Counties do not work in isolation. They rely on the national government and its goodwill to allow the steady supply of funds to enable operations at the heart of devolution.

It is clear the national government continues to cling to functions devolved under the Constitution, together with their resources, while sometimes it has failed to release resources meant for specific devolved functions.

The net effect has been that counties cannot operate at optimum levels within budget to deliver services to the grassroots.

Governors are committed to deliver on our mandate.

However, we implore on the state to do its part and ensure resources due to counties are released in full and on time.

Another potent threat to devolution is the inability of and lack of goodwill by the national government to let go of regional authorities performing devolved functions.

Some of these corporations perform cross-cutting functions at odds with counties’ integrated development plans.

This violates the spirit of the Constitution, as counties should assume their full mandate without interference from some agencies.

Another big challenge is the bloated workforce counties inherited from the old local authorities. Some staff lacked required skills but were employed nonetheless. Counties have been forced to carry this burden because firing the employees would lead to many costly court battles. Aligning their skills with work demands is difficult.

In summary, counties are determined to drive social and economic transformation at the grassroots if the state avails necessary infrastructure and adequate resources as provided for by the Constitution.

The Governor of Kakamega county spoke to the Star

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