Isaac Ruto and Joho among16 governors who skipped Uhuru’s meeting


GovernorsThe absence of 16 governors at a meeting chaired by the President raises more questions than answers.

A statement by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit on Wednesday said Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya led 31 governors to the talks and explained that the 16 were absent with apology.

It has, however, emerged that some of these governors snubbed the meeting.

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The National and County Government Co-ordinating Summit is a high-profile forum where crucial matters such as funding to counties are discussed. It was therefore curious to see the business that some of the absentees chose over the talks at the Sagana State Lodge.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto openly admitted he snubbed the meeting, saying he opted to campaign for the Mashinani Development Party candidate in Nyangores Ward, Bomet County ahead of today’s by-election.

Mr Ruto cheekily retorted that the Jubilee coalition had called for the dissolution of the affiliate parties and therefore he was busy popularising his outfit.

“Jubilee is not serious in ensuring devolution succeeds. The leaders are trying to shortchange the entire process through unconstitutional means. It is busy trying to extend the term of the Transition Authority to continue holding on to devolved functions,” he said.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho also did not attend but accompanied ODM party leader Raila Odinga to a public forum that discussed the Eurobond saga in Nairobi.

Mr Joho had expressed displeasure about the President’s recent trip to Mombasa saying he had been sidelined. Afterwards, two firms at the Mombasa port linked to his family had their operations shut down.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana was in Kithyululu in Makueni opening a maternity ward at Kithyulu dispensary.

Contacted to explain his absence, Migori’s Okoth Obado said he had no comment. His Nyamira counterpart John Nyagarama said he had asked Mr Munya to send his apologies explaining he had pending business he needed to address at the county assembly and he was also receiving a delegation of US investors.

Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua, who was the host, is out of the country for what the county officials explained was a medical review and President Kenyatta yesterday publicly acknowledged his apologies.

chairman added.

Earlier plans to hold the meeting on 4th of last month aborted after Munya put in a request for more time to allow for consultations with colleagues. The meeting had been postponed earlier.

“The Government is bent on taking back the gains accrued over the years. It is opposed to adequately resourced counties and opposed to CRA (Commission on Revenue Allocation) proposals. There is a clear agenda to deny Kenyans what they overwhelmingly voted for,” he claimed.

Ruto took issue with regular raids targeting governors by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers.

He claimed that the Government was harassing them through the Senate and the National Intelligence Service (NIS). “These harassments and threats should stop. Constant demands by the investigating agencies looking into governors’ bank accounts and transactions are not right. It has become difficult to engage with this Government,” said the governor.

The Standard learnt that behind closed doors, the governors complained about attempts to undermine their authority through persistent raids by EACC and criminal investigations detectives at their offices and residence.

There was the dispute over revenue sharing between the national and county governments. But the meeting agreed counties will receive Sh294 billion.

Earlier a governor, who is an official of the Council of Governors, had said: “The issue of shareable revenue is non-negotiable. In our commendations to the President, we stick with the CRA figure of Sh377 million, up from Sh276 million in the current budget.”

“We have ceded ground on our proposal of Sh468 billion but we are not ready to go beyond the 31 per cent proposed by CRA. The National Treasury recommendation for 31 per cent is unrealistic.”

The summit, chaired by Uhuru, seeks to review achievements made under the devolved system of governance with special focus on various reports by the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council, the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee and reports on Public Finance Management.

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