Devolution has become a nuisance as it has turned governors into new colonial bosses, Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said yesterday.
He said devolution has failed and made life unbearable, adding that it is a conduit through which governors enrich themselves, yet it is meant to better lives. He blamed this for the suffering of citizens.
Omar is in the race for Mombasa governor on a Wiper ticket.
He said for governors, devolution has created a bigger CDF. Omar spoke in Mombasa during the ongoing Second Annual Legislative Summit.
“It is shameful that we have demonstrated our failures 50 years on after independence. We are still launching toilets, yet sanitation has not been improved,” he said.
Omar wants all governors audited.
His strong criticism comes at a time when governors have been taken to task to explain the whereabouts of millions of shillings the Auditor General said have been misappropriated.
Omar accused governor of launching minor projects. “They go around with whole gangs of busybodies to officiate projects,” he said.
The Wiper secretary general said there has not been equity and social justice in resource use, adding these were the sole reason devolution was introduced. He said Article 174 of the Constitution has been trashed by county bosses who have filled all levels of county governance with their cronies.
“Devolution can never be about exclusion and creating feudal chiefs, but a promise to a better Kenya,” Omar said, adding that this is not the time to experiment with taxpayers’ money.
The senator said county assemblies and the Senate play vital role in checking self-seeking governors and said the law must be respected.
“Those who are worse must be better off before those who are better off become well off,” he said.
As he issued his strongly worded statement, Omar was booed by a section of the crowd. Others later lauded his eloquence. Omar wants the Senate given more powers to oversight the counties, adding that MCAs should not be made inconsequential but be encouraged to interrogate issues about devolution.
“You make MCAs look overpaid, implying they are underperforming,” he said.
A number of senators have declared their interests in running for governor. They say they want to save their counties from unending financial impropriety.