President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday silenced his critics, saying the government has been committed to the success of devolution.
He rubbished claims that the devolved units are under-funded to deliberately frustrate their operations. He said massive resources had been directed there since devolution started in 2013.
“The total allocation to counties by the end of the 2016/17 financial year will be Sh1 trillion,” the President said in a speech read on his behalf by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri at the second annual legislative summit at Pride Inn Hotel, Mombasa.
This, he said, is besides conditional grants for specific functions in the devolved units and the equalisation funds that cater for marginalised counties.
He said that over the years the devolved funds have exceeded the 15 per cent constitutional threshold and the national government has been working with counties to improve services.
“The devolved system of government is on course and is working,” President Kenyatta said in the hard-hitting message.
By March last year, all significant functions assigned to counties by the Constitution had been transferred and county staff trained to enhance a smooth transition to the two-tier system of governance, said the President.
However, he pointed out, differences over sharing of resources had slowed down services and challenged leaders at both levels and government agencies to value negotiations and co-operation.
MISMANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES
“Reports of county finances have raised concerns on mismanagement of devolved resources,” the Head of State said.
He added that the Senate and County Assemblies are key to the success of devolution and must live to their constitutional mandate.
Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro said lack of trust among institutions charged with safeguarding devolution was to blame for the challenges bedevilling counties.
He said the Senate has been instrumental in pushing for more funds to go to counties in line with the constitutional requirement that adequate funds must follow the devolved functions.
“Every year, we have been requesting for more funds to go to counties,” said Mr Ethuro. “But there are challenges of oversight and monitoring of development projects,” he said.