Isaac Rutto: Governors to rally Cord senators in referendum push

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Governors have vowed to work closely with the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy senators to push for a referendum that will see counties allocated almost half of the nation’s revenue.

Led by the chairman of the governor’s council Isaac Rutto they said they will oppose moves to scuttle their mission.

Jubilee senators pulled out of the push for the vote on Tuesday after meeting Deputy President William Ruto at his home in Karen. They said they will explore other ways to realise higher allocation of funds to the devolved units.

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However, Mr Rutto, also Bomet Governor, said they will work with the Cord senators and others willing to support empowerment of the 47 counties.

He accused senators allied to the ruling alliance of backing out because their Cord counterparts had come on board.

“If every other time you have an idea and your opponent agrees with it you leave it will you ever implement anything? In fact you should be happy because you have at least agreed on one thing. We are going to go ahead with this idea. We will not run away from it because Cord agrees with us,” he said Friday during a meeting organised for governors by the Katiba Institute, Centre for Law and Research International and Constitution and Reform Education Consortium at the Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi.

SPIRITED CALLS

The national government this week sought to cool down the spirited calls by the governors and Cord after successfully lobbying Jubilee senators to back out of the pro-referendum group.

But a defiant Mr Rutto urged the civil society groups to come out and support them saying they would not be convinced by anyone to shelve their objectives.

“The more they try to convince us, they more they plead with us to abandon this call, the more I’m convinced that we should hold the referendum. It is not meant to benefit individuals or parties but the people of Kenya,” said Mr Rutto.

Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok said devolution meant empowering county governments with finances so that they were strong enough to serve the people well.

“Soon we will be asking how our people will benefit from some of the national resources in our counties. Local people have to also benefit from these resources like oil and others like those in Kwale,” he said.

EXTRA MONEY

Mandera Governor Ali Roba said fears that counties will misuse the extra money were misplaced.

“The spending we have seen is as a result of offices coming into being. It might look extravagant but it is not. The county governments are just coming into place,” he said.

The DP promised to ensure that the government raises the allocation to 40 per cent in the next two years but that promise has not satisfied the group which wants a constitutional change to push the share to 45 per cent.

Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said the 47 governors have the requisite capacity to handle the money that could rise from the present Sh210 billion to over Sh300 billion if a majority of Kenyans voted for it.

“All the governors are degree holders in addition to many years of experience in the civil or private sector service. The issue of capacity should not be sued to deny them more money,” the senator said.-nation.co.ke

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