BOMET, KENYA: As the country celebrated the 50th Mashujaa day anniversary on Sunday, two parallel celebrations were held in Bomet county.
One organized by the National government was held at Bomet green stadium with the County Commissioner Pauline Dola leading DCs , DCOs ,a handful of chiefs and residents in marking the day.
Meanwhile County celebrations were underway in Silibwet green stadium with the Governor Isaac Ruto leading members of county executive, members of county assembly (MCA), local heroes and hundreds of residents in the celebrations.
Though the two leaders (the governor and the county Commissioner) declined to directly comment on the issue, their speeches hinted the veiled tug of war between the two levels of government especially on devolution matters.
Dola read the Presidential speech before emphasizing on the Provincial administration’s readiness to work with the county governments in dealing with security matters and in elimination of the illicit brews.
She said that in the wake of Westgate terror attacks, there was need for every Kenyan to be vigilant, saying her officers we ready to implement the ‘Nyumba Kumi’ security policy.
Bomet Women Representative Cecilia Ngetich andBomet Central MP Ronald Tonui, who seemed spoilt of choice, hopped between the two functions.
Governor Ruto emphasized on the same themes but in his speech he recognized local heroes who said were not captured in the history books but had contributed to the country’s liberation in their own small ways.
Ruto who doubles as Governors council chairman divulged on problems bedevilling the devolved governments saying that with limited funding from the National government, several development projects would stall.
He said that despite the country celebrating 50 years of independence, challenges of poverty, disease and ignorance that the first President Jomo Kenyatta vowed to fight were still a reality for many Kenyans.
He said that devolution would end the challenges but regretted that continued reluctance by the National government to implement it coupled with side shows from MPs was likely to scuttle the process.
He pointed out at road construction function which he said the national government had declined to devolve.He said the sector was key in helping farmers who formed a large part of the country’s populace, in assessing markets.
The governor once again hit out at the attempts by the senate to amend the devolution bill to allow all elected leaders to participate in county governance.
Ruto said the controversial bill was upfront on the devolution process and would make governors answerable to senators, a scenario he said would create confusion.
He said the Constitution clearly stated the roles of every elected leader and making the senators head County Development boards would demean the roles of the county governments and the county assemblies.
He said that governors across the 47 counties best understood the challenges within their regions and had long developed plans to counter them.
“As governors we welcome input from every leader, but making us the secretaries to county development boards is outright immoral and unconstitutional,” he said.
He added, “Senators and Mps should instead exploit other methods of engaging the county leadership and the citizenry instead of forcing their way in.”
He said that parliament should not erect roadblocks in the quest by Kenyans of all walks of life to achieve devolution as provided for in the letter and spirit of devolution.
“Parliament should not engage in reverse gear but follow a leaf from former Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende,make sacrifices whenever the need arises and be proactive in pushing forward devolution,” said Ruto.
He added,”devolution is good for Kenya as it will ensure lasting peace and development.It is therefore imperative that we all support the push to hasten the process of devolving functions from national to county governments.”-standardmedia.co.ke