Capital FM (Nairobi)

9 August 2014

Kenya: Governors Launch 10-Point Referendum Push

Nairobi — The Council of Governors has now formed a 15-member steering committee to kick-start the process of pushing for a referendum.

The committee will in consultation with a technical committee lead consultation meetings across the country on a 10-point agenda that they say will boost devolution.

In a statement presented by Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua on Friday, the council said their quest for a referendum was meant to strengthen devolution, refuting claims that it was politically motivated.

"The call for a constitutional amendment by the Council of Governors did not start last week. It dates to April 2013 immediately the county governments took over office," he stated.

"The Governors recognised that the resources provided to deliver services were not adequate; the place of the Senate appeared not strong enough to support the county governments and the County Assemblies Members were poorly remunerated."

Consultation meetings will kick off at the ward level next week.

Among the issues they want addressed include increase of county funds to 45 percent of latest Exchequer accounts, empowerment of the Senate and amendment of 23 laws they say negatively affect devolution.

They want to strengthen the Senate by making it an Upper House "with concurrent legislative powers with the National Assembly, but with a final say over matters touching on counties, while creating a consultative mechanism to give effect to Article 96 (1) of the constitution on the role of the Senate on representation."

They also want Members of County Assemblies to enjoy similar privileges as Members of Parliament "in a proportionate manner."

Gachagua also said that they want separate gazettement of laws between the national and county governments.

On security they want "while maintaining national command structure, to create a role for counties in security matters at the county level."

They also demand a law that will provide for the formation of a loans and grants council to "guarantee equity between the two levels of government and between the current and future generations."

Also in the list is to "make the Equalisation Fund a County Government Fund to be administered by Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) on the basis of a scientific framework."

Among the Governors in the steering committee include the council's chairman Isaac Ruto, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Kiambu Governor William Kabogo.

Others are Peter Munya of Meru, Kivutha Kibwana of Makueni, Nyeri's Gachagua, Ahmed Abdullahi of Wajir, Jack Ranguma of Kisumu, Salim Mvurya of Kwale and Wycliffe Oparanya of Kakamega County.

They also include David Nkedianye of Kajiado, Kenneth Lusaka of Bungoma, Ali Roba of Mandera, Cleophas Lagat of Nandi and Ukur Yattani of Marsabit County.

On his part, Ruto noted that, "there is an onslaught on devolution and county governments resources meant for service delivery at the counties have been withheld by the national government."

"Though we have operated on good faith, this does not seem to yield too much. As a council we are awake to the fact that we must now untie our hands and engage to ensure there is enough for services in the counties."

"Indeed we want to respect and we respected the mutual agreement to call off the referendum plans in the counties. However our engagements have not borne much fruit."

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