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July 15, 2018

Governors tell Treasury to release cash for marginalised

Mandera governor Ali Roba./FILE
Mandera governor Ali Roba./FILE

Eight counties yesterday urged Treasury to release Sh14 billion equalisation fund.

Through their economic bloc, the Frontier Counties Development Council, they said they need the cash to implement development projects.

The bloc consists of Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River, Wajir and new entrant West Pokot. The county chiefs spoke in Naivasha, where West Pokot was admitted to the alliance.

Chairperson Ali Roba (Mandera) said the northern Kenya counties have lagged behind in infrastructure development. He said they are keen to improve the living standards of pastoral communities.

Mohamed Ali of Marsabit, Mohammed Abdi of Wajir, Ali Korane of Garissa and West Pokot’s John Lonyangapuo were present.

“We are sensing danger through policy reforms using tyranny of numbers that target the National Assembly to change what is constitutionally due to the marginalised counties by changing the law,” Roba said after a workshop that discussed the bloc’s development plan.

"I challenge my brothers and sisters who are opposed to the Equalisation Fund to assess how much national investment has occurred in favoured counties like Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Embu, Meru and Kakamega, yet our people do not complain. Give us what is due to us."

Lonyangapuo said the marginalised have suffered since independence and every attempt to make the whole country prosperous has ignored the potential of the northern counties.

“We saw hope during the launch of the Constitution in 2010, but the Equalisation Fund remains inaccessible for communities that deserve it. They largely remain illiterate and are plagued by underdevelopment,” he said.

Abdi said poor infrastructure had condemned the people of northern Kenya to economic “sabotage”.

The leaders claimed lack of proper roads, clean water, airports and electricity had made it difficult to transform residents’ lives.

Ali said it was unfair to keep condemning the marginalised communities in violation of the law.

The bloc’s master plan seeks to create opportunities for investment and life changing interventions.

Facilitators at the forum included two former Economic Planning PSs — Dr Edward Sambili and Dr Mohamed Isahakia.

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