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September 18, 2018

Asal counties risk losing donors over new list

Arid and Semi Arid Lands Principal Secretary Micah Powon, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi after the end of the First Inaugural ASALs conference at Ocean beach resort Malindi on September 7./ALPHONCE GARI
Arid and Semi Arid Lands Principal Secretary Micah Powon, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi after the end of the First Inaugural ASALs conference at Ocean beach resort Malindi on September 7./ALPHONCE GARI

Arid and semi-arid counties risk losing donor funding following the inclusion of ‘rich’ counties in the list of marginalised zones.

The Commission on Revenue Allocation increased the number of counties from 14 to 34. The matter created a conflict among the genuine Asal counties, who say it is wrong to include counties which are not supposed to benefit. During the four-day asal conference that started on Wednesday, National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale said pastoralist communities will move to court to seek interpretation of Asal. Some of the speakers questioned how villages or slums influenced the choice of a county as an Asal region, which receives Equalisation funds.

National Gender Commission acting CEO Sora Katelo said there are unique historic challenges that need to be addressed. “Residents in Asal areas live in harsh conditions. When the ministry was created, there was support from donors such as the UNDP. If we lose the concept of Asals we shall lose the donors.”

MCA Phillip Nzangi from Embu said Ndeiya in Kiambu should not be listed as an Asal. “Ndeiya, the dry part of Kiambu, is an area the size of this hotel. We can’t have Wajir and Ndeiya sharing equal revenue,’’ he said.

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa urged CRA and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation to explain how more counties were added. The meeting revived conflict on the need to reduce Asal counties and the criteria used to disburse the Equalisation fund.

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