Governors clash with DP Rigathi Gachagua on El Nino response funds

Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru

Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru at the council’s offices in Nairobi on Wednesday, November 22.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Governors on Wednesday, November 22 rejected Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s declaration that counties will not get funding to tackle El Nino-related challenges, and further accused the National Treasury of behind on monthly disbursements.

This on a day Mr Gachagua doubled down on his comments, telling diplomats based in Kenya that counties had an obligation to budget for emergency response. He said counties in North Eastern and Western had already made good plans to help their people.

But in a statement, Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru said the counties were still waiting for the funds promised to them, and comments that they had received any or did not deserve the support, were unwarranted.

“To date, we wish to state that the county governments have not received any allocation from the national government to go towards mitigation measures. As a matter of fact, counties are owed a total of Sh62.58 billion from the equitable share that is yet to be disbursed,” said Ms Waiguru.

Ms Waiguru noted that 13 counties are owed Sh10.17 billion for the month of September, 27 counties are owed Sh19.64 billion for October, and all counties are owed, Sh32.76 billion for November.

“We note with concern public utterances that suggest that county governments have received funds from the national government to support the mitigation of the devastating impact of the El Nino Rains. We take the position that such utterances are against the spirit of cooperative and collaborative governments ...” Ms Waiguru said.

She added: “In such times we call upon the two levels of government to come together in order to intensify response strategies to mitigate against the complex risks arising from the heavy rains and flooding in addition to the existing humanitarian challenges.”

But Mr Gachagua, speaking in his Karen office, reiterated that the county governments are expected to use their emergency allocations and reallocate funds within their budgets “to intervene for the people they govern”.

“We are therefore a little bit shocked when we see governors complaining that they are yet to receive money from the national government. Such money is not forthcoming,” he said, asking other counties to borrow a leaf from Wajir, Mandera, Kwale, Garissa, and Busia where the governors have set aside funds to complement those from the national government.

“As the national government last week, we released Sh2.4 billion as the initial injection into the effort and we will continue to inject more,” he said.

Later in a meeting with diplomats, Mr Gachagua reiterated his “no money from the national government” message to Ms Waiguru, who joined the meeting afterward.

In September, during a meeting that brought together stakeholders to compare notes for better response and mitigation, the DP, urged counties to “come up with realistic budgets”. This was after the counties estimated that they would need an emergency budget of Sh15 billion.

“As much as you are asking for support, tell us what you are bringing to the table,” he said.