Devolution review meeting kicks off amid campaigns

The second annual Legislative Summit to assess failures and success of devolution begins this morning in Mombasa.

The forum comes at a time when elected leaders at national and county governments are busy defending their score cards, as majority seek to defend their positions in the August 8, polls.

It is jointly organised by the Senate, County Assemblies Forum (CAF) and other players involved in implementation of devolution, under the theme, ‘Effective Legislatures for Sustainable Grassroots Development’.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro said despite cases of wastage of some of the devolved funds, there is a lot to show in terms of development projects in the 47 counties that would have remained a mirage were it not for devolution.

“Devolution has helped transform our country in four years of its existence,” Mr Ethuro said Sunday.

“Going forward, we need to zealously manage transition to ensure that devolution takes development to higher levels of prosperity,” he said.

The Senate, as custodian of county interests, he said, has continually acted as an arbiter in resolution of disputes between counties and the national government, to improve service delivery.

The county assemblies have called for budget caps imposed by the Controller of Budget and Commission on Revenue Allocation removed, saying the same doesn’t apply for the national government.

CAF chairperson Johnson Osoi said the annual event is important in taking stock of the progress made in coming up with laws that are pro-devolution besides assessing their implementation.

Mombasa County assembly speaker Thaddeus Rajwayi said senators and more than 2, 500 MCAs will get an opportunity to take stock of what they have been doing.

Speaking during a pre-summit meeting at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa ahead of the main summit, Mr Rajwayi said as the country approaches the August polls several issues will be discussed by the leaders.

Meanwhile, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has said the Senate should be given more powers than the National Assembly, whose number of lawmakers should be reduced.

READ: Reduce number of MPs and MCAs, audit team says

Mr Kiunjuri, who is advocating for a referendum to be held after the August elections to amend the Constitution, said the number of nominated senators should also be reduced.

The CS said this is one of the agendas to be discussed during the second Annual Legislative Summit.

Mr Kiunjuri’s sentiments were supported by Kirinyaga Senator Daniel Karaba who criticised the Parliamentary Committee on Budget for proposing the scrapping of Senate to reduce the country’s high wage bill.

Reporting by Dennis Odunga, Mohamed Ahmed and Boniface Mwangi

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