As the weeklong 5th annual devolution conference kicks off, many Governors will be hoping the platform will provide more than an opportunity to showcase the gains and milestones of devolution in the nation. The fact that the conference is being held in Kakamega County presents a golden opportunity for the Western region Counties, under the Lake Region Economic Bloc to take full advantage of the platform and get something in return to advance development in the region.
The main focus of the devolution conference will be the Big Four Agenda as envisaged by President Uhuru Kenyatta, which includes Affordable Housing, Manufacturing, Universal Healthcare and Food Security. Many Kenyans definitely see this as a chance for President Kenyatta to cement his legacy and leave a mark that will set apart his presidency when compared to his predecessors, and he definitely had to get his plan to accurately cover all areas of concern for Kenyans. The Big Four Agenda, if well implemented, will cover many areas of concern for Kenyans, and he duly needs the support from the County governments. The Governors must be on board with each and every tenet of the plan to ensure its totally effective and every Kenyan can feel it’s undeniable impact at the grassroots level.
Thus, going back to the issue of relevancy with the Counties in Western Kenya, the Counties in the former Western province and larger Lake Region Economic should be quick out of the blocks in showing the willingness to navigate the Big Four Agenda in their wider and most valued plans. The Governors should show the enthusiasm during the conference and even after the conference, to seamlessly integrate it as quickly as possible. The chance to host the conference is not only meant to provide a platform for Kakamega, but its neighbouring Counties, and as its commonly known, opportunities to shine come with responsibility.
The Counties in the Economic Bloc had already unveiled a joint Economic Plan meant to catalyze the region’s economic development through chosen collective investments. The cooperation, however, may face certain hurdles like amassing the required financial stability to adequately act as A launch pad for the partnership, but the future bodes well for the economic bloc. The Counties involved are Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Bomet, Nyamira, Siaya, Kisii, Kericho, and Nandi.
County funds problem should be solved
Governors have complained about the disbursement of funds to the County governments by the national government, and this issue should be discussed extensively during the conference. President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and other government officials will be present and the County heads will have a great opportunity to iron out their differences. In order for the Big Four Agenda to be achieved, and the fruits of devolution to be enjoyed, then adequate funds need to be availed.
Some leaders had raised concerns during the electioneering period that funds were being withheld due to fears they would be used in campaigns, but now that the dust has settled, albeit not totally as some ancient but timeless books on constitutional amendments are now being dusted, Kenyans should be able to chew the raw benefits of devolution before it’s too late. It’s not strange to find some Kenyans who can’t explain the operations and intrigues of devolution, reason being, they haven’t seen its benefits at all. The residents point to the County government, and the County government points to the national government, and many hope this ladder of blame will be finally extinguished.