Kenya: Strengthen Devolution to Lift Lives - President Kenyatta Urges Governors

press release

Diani — President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Governors to strengthen and deepen devolution in ways that make a real difference in the lives of Kenyans.

The President said he was prepared to discuss with governors the specific needs and legitimate concerns but will never take part in rhetoric.

"I am ready to discuss the legitimate concerns of the people with Governors Oparanya (Kakamega), Nanok (Turkana) and others but I am not prepared to engage in empty politics," the President said, emphasizing that he was not ready to go to Bomas to discuss the same.

President Kenyatta said he was not open to "never-ending dialogue" about politics, which he termed selfish and empty.

The President spoke on Thursday when he opened the induction meeting for governors and deputy governors at Diani in Kwale County, where he warned that actions or utterances that threaten Kenya's territorial integrity will not be tolerated.

The Head of State called for enhanced collaboration between the two levels of government, saying counties will benefit more if they supported the big four pillars of his development priorities that he intends to implement in the next five years to transform the lives of Kenyans.

President Kenyatta's big four pillars of development priorities for his second term in office are pegged on improving the quality of life through the provision of universal health care, increasing access to affordable housing and ensuring food and nutritional security. They also include enhancing job creation and opportunities for young people by focusing on the expansion of the manufacturing sector while at the same time strengthening unity of people at all levels.

"Let me, therefore, remind you that, as today's leadership in our counties and national government, our people look up to us to liberate them from economic bondage. The journey to prosperity is long, but we must not grow weary, and we cannot leave anyone behind," the President told the governors.

Hinged on the big four pillars, President Kenyatta proposed four "Devolution Deals", which he said would accelerate the country's transformation agenda. These include establishment of decentralization units, further fiscal decentralization, private sector involvement and transformation of the public service.

Under the "Devolution deals", President Kenyatta said decentralization units would trigger economic activity that can transform villages by engaging the youth in gainful employment through micro, small and medium enterprises sector which employs 14.9 million Kenyans.

President Kenyatta also rooted for increased private sector involvement in development.

"The private sector, as we all know, is the engine for economic growth. Both at the national and county levels, we need to reach out and engage more with this sector with a view to getting them to invest more," President Kenyatta said.

The Head of State also emphasized the need to transform the public service so as to provide Kenyans with the highest quality of service in every sphere.

"I, therefore, ask you to join me in putting the public service on notice. Let us not allow faceless bureaucrats and functionaries to deny the public the quality of service they deserve," President Kenyatta said.

He added: "I expect to see greater partnership between county governments and the national government, in the expansion and integration of services through expanded and improved Huduma Centres."

Other speakers at the opening ceremony included former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya among others.

President Kenyatta later met the technical committee on intergovernmental relations which briefed him on the progress of the audit and verification of the assets and liabilities of defunct local authorities.

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