Kilifi governor Amason Kingi has opposed a government decision to increase marginalised counties from 14 to 34.
The governor said the original Arid and Semi-Arid Lands counties “will never score a goal because goal posts keep on changing.”
“In 2010, the Constitution brought equalisation funds that was meant to help those counties which were marginalised. That concept is being watered down. Today equalisation funds will be taken across the country,’’ he said.
He was referring to the move by the Commission for Revenue Allocation to increase the number of Asal counties from 14 to 34, a move that is facing opposition from the original Asal counties.
Kingi said equalisation funds were meant to offer basic support to the 14 marginalised counties but it was now becoming a kitty for all counties.
He spoke yesterday at the ongoing Arid and Semi-Arid Lands in Malindi, organised by the Council of Governors.
The conference was opened by Deputy President William Ruto and attended by several governors and US Ambassador Bob Godec.
Kingi also blamed the British colonialists for the continued marginalisation of Kenya’s arid areas.
He said the colonialists identified the ‘high yield’ areas and adopted a system of distributing more national resources to those areas, a practice that has been perpetuated by subsequent governments.
Kingi narrated how the Sessional Paper Number 10 of 1965 officially adopted the colonial policy in independent Kenya.
“Today is a historic day, it’s the first time a government has decided to put in resources together bringing in stakeholders to discuss issues that affect Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. For the past 50 years no such a thing has ever been done,’’ he said.
Kingi said the Northern Kenya region has been sidelined since independence until devolution was introduced in 2013.
He said blamed the armed resistance like the Shifta war and the subsequent Wagalla massacre on marginalisation.