Raila Odinga to attend Senators, MCAs summit

Opposition leader Raila Odinga is Thursday afternoon expected to close a legislative summit that has been going on, since Monday in Mombasa.

Mr Odinga who will be accompanied by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho will use the opportunity to interrogate the gains and failures of devolution since its inception in 2013.

The former prime minister is among leaders who have been pushing for full implementation of the constitutional requirement that adequate funds be allocated for devolved functions.

But, the forum would also degenerate into a political duel between the governor and Senator Hassan Omar who has vowed to unseat him in the August 8, General Election.

Mr Omar caused a stir on Tuesday when he said in a veiled attack on the governor that some county bosses were out of touch with what their jobs entail.

Mr Hassan Omar expressed concerns that some governors were using their positions to advance their interests at the expense of the electorates’ needs.

“Devolution was about how we divide the national cake and grow the national cake. But, governors treat devolution as big CDF (Constituency Development Fund),” Mr Omar who is the Secretary General for Wiper party, said.

He said some governors had sunk so low that they were launching important but, minor projects when they should be initiating development projects that can have an impact in the lives of their people.

“Governors move around with busy bodies and advisors to officiate over small functions,” the Senator, said prompting Mr Joho’s supporters to jeer him in an effort to disrupt his speech.

But, defiant Mr Omar went on as his supporters joined in to drown the protest, saying devolution is about equity, social justice and access to services and not creating new chieftain at the counties.

“We cant talk about devolution without talking of governors, Senators and MCAs. Devolution has become useless because we have translated our governors to become like colonial chiefs,” he said.

He challenged MCAs to resist temptations of being cheerleaders of the county bosses that they are expected to oversight if at all they are committed to make a difference and enhance service delivery at the counties.

“Those who were worse off must be better off. The Senate needs to have done more just as the county assemblies could have done more on oversight,” Mr Omar said.

He said county assemblies had MCAs who are more educated and knowledgeable that some MPs and there is nothing wrong in some legislators being interested in the county jobs.

“You make the position of the MCA to be so inconsequential. It is not criminal for the senator to seek the MCA position,” Mr Omar said.

County Assembly’s Forum (CAF) secretary general Albert Kochei said more than 20,000 aspirants for the position of MCAs, after Kenyans appreciated that the constitutional responsibilities of the position.

He said County Assemblies are not extensions of the councillors in the defunct local authorities and the MCAs had achieved a lot since 2013 when they assumed office.

CAF Chairman Johnson Osoi said it is improper to portray MCAs as failures yet county assemblies had passed more than 1400 bills in the 47 counties in the last four years.

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