Governors now want protection from ‘malicious’ ward reps

Council of Governors chair Anne Waiguru

Council of Governors chair Anne Waiguru addresses journalists at the council’s Delta Corner headquarters in Westlands, Nairobi, early last month. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Governors want Parliament to expedite passage of the Impeachment Procedure Bill,2018, arguing that the absence of legal provisions to shield them from political witch-hunts is hampering the delivery of services to citizens.

The Bill seeks to provide guidelines for the impeachment of governors and their deputies.

Their demands come after Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza survived a second ouster bid at the Senate last Wednesday.

Council of Governors (CoG) chair Anne Waiguru termed Governor Kawira’s victory as a win for devolution.

“We appreciate the Senate for the sober manner with which it handled the impeachment motion against Kawira Mwangaza,” the Kirinyaga governor said.

Governors have also accused the National Assembly of rolling back gains made in devolution since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

It has also emerged that, with amendments made to the Public Finance Management Act, 29 counties are finding it difficult to access Sh250 million in conditional grants from the national government, which they want provided under the Supplementary Budget.

The governors, who spoke on the sidelines of a retreat in Narok County, claimed MPs had failed to implement resolutions agreed on during a meeting with President William Ruto.

“During the summit held in February and chaired by the President, it was resolved that the Roads Maintenance Levy Fund would be reverted to counties,” Ms Waiguru said, while calling for the resolution to be implemented, “failure to which we will ... seek legal redress.”

The governors have asked legislators in the National Assembly to urgently repeal the law and allow a two year waiver on access to the conditional grants.

With health being a devolved function, the governors said the Social Health Insurance Act will favour private facilities at the expense of public ones. The CoG has also protested against the reallocation of resources meant for the Management Equipment Scheme to other components of the health sector without the knowledge of the governors.

“This [reallocation] is contrary to Intergovernmental Participatory Agreements signed between the county governments and the Ministry of Health,” Ms Waiguru stated.

The CoG also wants the National Treasury to fast-track the signing of financing agreements for negotiated programmes such as the Kenya Urban Support Programme II to facilitate their inclusion in the Additional Allocation Bill 2023/2024.

The CoG also wants the national government to hasten the process of handing over devolved functions and financial resources attached to them to county governments.

“The council received a report by the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee on the unbundling of devolved functions that are still outstanding. It was brought to our attention that, approximately, for every shilling allocated for devolved functions, 70 cents is retained by various ministries, departments and agencies,” Ms Waiguru stated.

“We remain committed to the devolution journey [and] look forward to better engagements ... between the two levels of Governments and the Senate,” Ms Waiguru stated.

At the same time, the CoG has requested for the reconvening of the El Nino Response and Mitigation Committee to supplement efforts being made by counties to tackle the unfolding disaster.

The governors have also pledged to ramp up environmental conservation efforts and promote sustainable management of natural resources.

The governors have also thrown their weight behind the programme initiated by the President to plant 15 billion trees, with Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki having gazetted today as a national holiday in which Kenyans will be expected to engage in tree-planting exercises countrywide.