The Devolution and ASAL Cabinet Secretary (CS), Eugene Wamalwa has called on counties to come together to address the issues of coronavirus Pandemic.
The CS specifically urged Members of County assemblies to stop their passion with impeachment motions for now until the Covid-19 menace that has affect the country stabilizes.
“Where our country stands today, we need all hands on the deck, all leaders to work together and l am appealing that during this corona pandemic season let us not turn it into a season of impeachments but we keep inter-governmental relations at best in order to confront the health and economic crisis facing our country,” he pleaded.
Wamalwa who was speaking when he inaugurated new members of the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) noted there are a few counties facing issues of impeachment.
The IGRTC body was formed by an Act of Parliament to establish a framework for consultation and co-operation between the National and County Governments.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony at his office on Monday, Wamalwa noted that the team will play a big role in improving inter-governmental relations and ensuring devolved functions are unbundled and both levels of government working smoothly.
The CS noted that the exercise of coming up with the board started seven months ago with around 171 applicants and after a competitive process eight members were picked.
“This board has been given a lot of responsibility by the president especially at this time when the country is faced by challenges such as Covid-19, financial and economic crisis as well as a health crisis that is confronting all the 47 counties thus the need for intergovernmental relations at its best,” he said.
Wamalwa called upon the board to ensure both levels of government are working together, saying there is a lot that still remains to be done in the areas of assets and liabilities and also unbundling of functions.
Currently, the CS said that they are undertaking legislative interventions that proposed amendments on intergovernmental relations Act in order for it to effectively work together.
“We want to strengthen IGRTC and amendments are already in parliament to enhance its effectiveness. We will soon be converting it into a commission, now with a full six year term and promoting it from technical committee to a full commission.”
The Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman, Wycliffe Oparanya reiterated the CS Devolution remarks by also appealing to the counties to stop for a while the impeachments and first deal with the Covid 19 situation in the country.
“I want to urge County Assembly Members to restrain themselves at this time of Covid and use the little resources they are channeling on impeachment to fight Covid-19. Kenyans must come together to flatten the curve so that normal lives continue. We want to open the economy and schools but we can only do it by working together,” he said.
Governor Oparanya said that although a lot has been done in the area of devolution, there is still more to be done since devolution in Kenya is unique.
“We learn every day and currently we are in eighth year of implementing devolution but despite the achievements, County Governments especially have had a lot of challenges that can be resolved by the IGTRC committee being inaugurated today,” he added.
He noted some of the functions that are yet to be unbundled especially in the area of the museum , disaster management , sports, fishing and fisheries and some sections of water which he said have never received any resources from the exchequer as they are yet to be transferred to counties.
“We are appealing to you to expedite the process to allow the above functions to be financed and implemented”, he said.
Governor Oparanya noted that 37 out of 47 counties have boundary disputes and hoped that the committee during their time of tenure will manage to find solutions to these disputes which have historical roots and should be resolved.
The members of the IGRTC that were gazetted on the 19th of June 2020 are Angeline Awino Hongo, Perminus Ndimitu, Linet Mosa Mavu, Alfred Khangati, John Njuguna Burugu, alice Kemunto Mayaka, Saadia Abdi Kontoma and Wilson ole Pere who will serve for a period of 6 year period with effect from the gazettement date.
By Wangari Ndirangu