WANT FUNDS DISBURSED TO COUNTIES

Governors drop lockdown demand ahead of Uhuru meeting

County chiefs will also be pushing for establishment of testing centres in every county

In Summary

•Meeting called to review impact of July 6 reopening of the country

County Governors led by CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya speak outside the Supreme Court after lodging a case seeking the apex court's intervention in unlocking the current impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 on July 15, 2019.
County Governors led by CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya speak outside the Supreme Court after lodging a case seeking the apex court's intervention in unlocking the current impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 on July 15, 2019.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Governors have ruled out lockdown among proposals they intend to present to President Uhuru Kenyatta during their meeting on how to contain the coronavirus spread on Monday.

The meeting which follows concerns of a surge in Covid-19 infections was due to be held last Friday but was pushed to this week.

 

The President and the 47 governors are expected to review the progress since the country was reopened on July 6.

The country has recorded 16,643 Covid-19 cases so far with Nairobi leading in the number of cases.

The governors were previously calling for a lockdown to arrest the rise in infections, a call that health experts dismissed, saying it was upon the county chiefs to manage cases as they arise.

County bosses have thus concluded there would be no need to restrict the movement of people, especially into and out of Nairobi.

Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya told the Star they want Nairobi left open "as it is the hub of Kenya’s economic activities."

He said they will implore upon the President on the need to increase testing centres across the country.

As such, the county chiefs seek to push for speedy disbursement of cash from the National Treasury. The devolved units are yet to receive about Sh68 billion of their allocation for the last financial year.

 

“Currently, no money is flowing to counties. How do they (National Treasury) expect counties to deal with these emergencies?”  “What is critical is that we must increase testing centres. We have very few of them yet every county should have a testing centre,” Oparanya said.

Governors hold that by establishing the centres, there will be an opportunity to create awareness among residents.

“Counties will now be best placed to come up with ways of containing the disease. If we can enhance testing, it will alert us on how to contain the disease,” Oparanya said.

Governors also intend to engage the President on concerns about laxity in the enforcement of protocols by the Ministry of Health.

Their concern is that the directives for social distancing, curfew, funeral attendance and other social gatherings are being abused.

They said people openly disregard the protocols as police look away.

Governors Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) have been pushing for tougher conditions.

Oparanya cited laxity in enforcing curfew and a trend where funerals – especially of those who don’t die of Covid-19 hence not under focus, are being attended by more than 15 people, contrary to Health ministry directives.