Governors set terms to drop referendum push
Mr Ruto said the Council of Governors would draft a Bill to be ratified by all county assemblies and send to Parliament for enactment into law.
The Bomet governor said if such a Bill were drafted at the national level, it would not capture the aspirations of the county leaders.
“We cannot allow Nairobi to make that Bill for funds, we know they will cook the same to suit their whims. What we want is a homegrown Bill from the Council of Governors and approved by all (county) assemblies to be taken to Parliament and later assented to by the President guaranteeing more funds will be allocated to county governments as a matter of course not at the whims of an individual,” he said.
Speaking at Njoro’s Mauche area, Mr Ruto said the push for more funds was geared towards better services for all Kenyans and had no link with Cord’s referendum agenda.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said the Pesa Mashinani campaign was not about parties but a plea to compel the government to abide by the decision of the Commission on Revenue Allocation that recommended Sh274 billion for counties only for the government to release Sh226 billion.
“As chairman of the CoG, Ruto should not be crucified as an individual because he is representing a resolution made by 47 governors. He is suffering for all the 47 and he has no other agenda. All counties have similar problems — that is shortage of funds. If this money is given, then we will stop the referendum push. Our push is not about individuals but funds. It is different from Cord’s,” he said.
And speaking later in Busia, the two governors criticised the formula used to allocate money to counties.
“We are not asking for any money from other departments but rather money that should serve devolved functions. There is Sh120 billion that is lying in other areas that we need them to allocate to us. Sh17 billion has been allocated to health for deworming children and we feel this is a lot of funds. Sh24.5 billion to build water reservoirs instead of providing piped water to residents,” Mr Ruto said.
“These monies are meant to serve the departments that the Constitution devolved to the counties. The 45 per cent we are asking for is from the 2013/2014 financial year and yet the 43 per cent allocation that they claim is from the 2008/2009 financial year. There is no need to increase taxes for them to increase funds. This is money that is readily available only that the national government has refused to give us,” he added.
Mr Oparanya said all governors were behind the campaign, though some had been forced to skip their meetings due to political pressure from party leaders.
They spoke as Cord leader Raila Odinga took his Okoa Kenya campaign to the Coast, pitching for more funds for counties but cancelled meetings scheduled for Lamu due to security concerns and an existing police curfew, the Sunday Nation learnt.
“They were concerned about the police curfew and the fear it could be misused if the rallies extended beyond the stipulated time. There were also fears the area is still volatile,” said Mr Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango. Mr Onyango said Cord will visit Lamu late in October when the area would be safer and the curfew lifted.
Addressing a rally at Hola stadium in Kwale, Mr Odinga accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto of misleading Kenyans on the formula for allocating money to counties.
“They are using accounts that are three years old, which shows county government as receiving 43 per cent, while its only disbursing 12 per cent to cover the numerous devolved activities in the counties,” said Mr Odinga.
As he spoke, President Kenyatta, who is on an official visit to the US, told Kenyans living in America that referendum was not a priority and would only disrupt growth.
“Leave our Constitution alone because it is the most progressive and let us implement it to benefit Kenyans,” the President said. “You don’t change what has not been implemented just the same way you don’t start building a good house and destroy it when it is midway to build a new one.”
In Tana River, Mr Odinga urged the public to support the drive to enhance equity in sharing national resources.
He challenged President Kenyatta and his deputy to declare the source of the money they were donating at harambees throughout the country.
“The President is travelling from one county to another contributing Sh1 million in every fund-raising yet his monthly salary is only Sh2 million, where does he get the other millions to donate in those harambees?” he asked.
Mr Odinga repeated his controversial claim that Sh15 billion was lost from the Office of the President around the date of last year’s General Election and must be accounted for.
STILL IN GOVERNMENT
The Jubilee administration has countered that the transactions were conducted before they assumed office and while Mr Odinga was still in government.
The Office of the President (OP) has been hard-pressed to explain the suspicious transfer of Sh8.3 billion into and out of the government’s secret security accounts.
Large transactions happened during the 2013 transition period, raising audit concerns. The Auditor-General’s report, released in July, flagged some of the cash movements.
“During the year under review, the ministry transferred a total amount of Sh8.3 billion to Kenya Police Service through contra-entries on cash book and Ministry headquarters recurrent bank account amounting to Sh1.4 billion and Sh6.9 billion respectively.
“On March 14, 2013 alone, Sh2 billion was transferred through account number 0-101-000-6530101 through voucher number 272 under the account name Police Commissioner, which was closed in December 2012.”
The Sh2 billion was withdrawn only four days after the declaration of official presidential results by IEBC.
Mr Odinga was accompanied by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, House Minority Chief Whip Thomas Mwadeghu and the Taita Taveta Women Rep Joyce Lay.
“They are opposed to referendum because they want to continue ruling in the basis of tribalism while the aim of referendum is to ensure top public appointments reflect the face of Kenya,” said Mr Khalwale.
He said top security jobs were occupied by people from two ethnic groups.
Tana River Governor Hussein Dado, County Assembly Speaker Dr Nuh Abdi, Women MP Halima Ware did not attend the meeting as they are in Mecca for Hajj.