Not a coin more for devolved units, Uhuru maintains
President Uhuru Kenyatta has maintained counties will not get a shilling more than the Sh316 billion allocated by the National Assembly in the contested Division of Revenue Bill, 2019.
The Head of State yesterday told off governors, especially those pushing for more funds, saying they should first show Kenyans what they have done with what they have so far received.
“The Constitution says we should give a minimum of 15 per cent to the devolved governments. Within one year after taking office in 2013, I moved that figure up to about 30 per cent but it seems I made a mistake because they’re now taking it for granted,” he said when addressing Nakuru County Assembly when he officially opened the new building hosting the Assembly.
The President steered clear of the referendum debate but instead chose to focus on the division of revenue bill stalemate, saying the warring parties— governors, MPs and senators— must learn to work with limited resources. He said the government cannot afford to give counties the Sh335 billion they are asking for.
“It has been taken for granted that it (the money) is there but it is not. We give what we can because we want to ensure people get services,” he said.
Uhuru urged the National Assembly and Senate to put aside their superiority battles, saying they are subjecting Kenyans to unnecessary drama.
“Devolution is not a competition between two levels of governments, it is different levels of government complementing each other to ensure people get services,” he said.
The Head of State praised Nakuru MCAs for doing away with local and foreign travel to save funds, and instead use the money for development, saying the move was worth being emulated by other assemblies.
“We need to utilise limited resources in the best manner possible and what you have done exemplifies true and mature leadership,” he said.
His address to ward representative at the newly-refurbished chamber was a first for a sitting president under the devolved system of governance.
Uhuru opened the Sh230 million Utaguzi Plaza at the Assembly more than 51 years after his father founding president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, inaugurated the Central Rift County Council chambers and an office complex.
Uhuru was accompanied by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, among other leaders.
He, however, spent the better part of the day at State House, Nakuru, where he hosted the Kenya Music Festival Winners’ Gala.