The Member Counties of the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) are meeting in Lodwar to review a Bill which once passed by respective County Assemblies will make the regional bloc a legal entity.
The FCDC Chairman and Mandera Governor, Ali Roba who opened the sensitisation workshop of Speakers, Members of County Assemblies, Executive and other stakeholders on the proposed law, said the Bill will anchor the bloc in law to guide its operations.
“The FCDC is the only remaining forum where the affairs of counties in the ASALs are addressed and our aim is to have an Act that will protect and anchor the entity in law even after the exit of pioneer governors and the current crop of leaders,” he said adding that there was a lot of interest from the donor community to support the council on development.
Governor Roba said due to the economic potential of ASALs counties because of its vast lands and abundance of minerals and other natural resources, Frontier counties had to strategically position themselves to ensure proceeds of investments in oil, renewable energy and other minerals benefited the region.
On his part, the host Governor, Josphat Nanok urged County Assemblies to prioritise the passage of the Bill before the end of this calendar year to ensure the formation of FCDC is entrenched in law.
He underlined the importance of County Assemblies in the running of the Council and encouraged better relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms to support development. He assured that he will ensure Turkana leads by example and highlighted how disagreements over budgetary allocations were resolved through consensus.
Governor Nanok called on the Assemblies to develop legislation which will protect communities’ right to land and other natural resources, which he insisted will ensure counties in the ASALs were not overlooked in exploitation of resources found on their land. He said the priority should be a law on Community Land that will protect ownership of land utilised in the extractives sector.
The workshop held at the Camp Cradle brings together Speakers, majority and minority leaders of the County Assemblies as well as representatives from the Executive wings of member counties.
The plenary sessions were led by the Speaker of Turkana County Assembly Erastus Lokaale.
Senior County Government officers in attendance included County Attorney, Erastus Ethekon, the CEC for Public Service and Disaster Management, Esther Lokwei, the Chief of Staff, Ekuwom Nakiporo and Legal Advisor, Nobert Okumu among others.
By Peter Gitonga