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September 26, 2018

Remove ‘rich’ counties from ASALs list, Duale asks state

Kilifi governor Amason Kingi, Kajiado governor Joseph Lenku, Deputy President William Ruto, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and other government officials during the start of the inaugural ASAL conference at Ocean Beach Resort yesterday /ALPHONCE GARI
Kilifi governor Amason Kingi, Kajiado governor Joseph Lenku, Deputy President William Ruto, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and other government officials during the start of the inaugural ASAL conference at Ocean Beach Resort yesterday /ALPHONCE GARI

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale yesterday threatened to mobilise devolved units to move to court to challenge the increment of marginalised counties from 14 to 34.
“I’m disappointed because I did not expect the number to rise from 14 to 34 counties,” Duale said.
Duale said as pastoralists, they will not take the matter lightly.
He said pastoralists shall seek redress from the Supreme Court.
But DP William Ruto urged Duale not to take the matter to court, saying it is an issue that can be discussed and resolved.
This is after a fresh debate emerged on the inclusion of more arid and semi-arid counties to share the Equalisation Fund.
MPs and leaders from the original ASAL counties want the ‘new’ counties removed, saying adding them would bring back marginalisation through the backdoor.

Read: 14 counties to get Sh12bn Equalization Fund
The debate emerged during the first annual ASAL conference that brought together 29 counties. The event is in Kilifi. It was opened by DP Ruto.
Fourteen counties regarded as marginalised got included in the Equalisation Fund so they could be at par with the rest of the country.  But the Commission on Revenue Allocation increased marginalised counties to 34 from 14 to benefit from state-funded multi-million projects to facilitate access to basic services.
Among the counties Duale raised concern about were Kiambu, Meru, Nyeri and Tharaka Nithi.
Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi dismissed calls by Duale that some counties, including his, were not part of ASAL.
He said 15 of the 45 wards in his county were ASAL. Ruto said the government is committed to allocate resources to the ASAL counties and announced that Sh12.4 billion Equalisation Fund had been disburssed.
Turkana governor Josphat Nanok said, “There is need to develop legislation or formation of an independent authority to implement the fund.”

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