Talk on devolution dominates burial of the late Wamalwa’s son

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Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa (left) and Jabali Wamalwa during the funeral
Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa (left) and Jabali Wamalwa (centre) during the funeral

Family and leaders came together on Saturday to pay their last respects to the late William Wamalwa, the son of the late Vice President Kijana Wamalwa, who passed away earlier in the week in Trans Nzoia. Leaders led by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya highlighted the challenges faced by devolution including the Counties pending bills conundrum. The Council of Governors chairman urged the national government to stop frustrating devolution by micromanaging Governors who have been handed a direct mandate by the electorate.

Governor Oparanya said Governors are facing frustrations when it comes to discharging their duties, owing to the little allocation of funds, yet the pressure to deliver on development goals weighs on them. He said each County has its own share of problems and it was unwise for the Treasury to keep on terrorizing Governors.

He said some of the people who are putting pressure on them don’t reside in the grassroots, or rather in the Counties, but operate from offices in Nairobi. “Each County has unique challenges which require unique ways of addressing them,” he said during the funeral which was held in Kitale.

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba said Governors are in a tight
corner where they have to contend with limited funding, pending bills,
worries over the fight against corruption and high expectations by the
electorate.

He blamed the government for the subsequent decision by the Council of Governors to go to Court over funding, “Why should we go to Court yet we have our leaders to discuss the issues affecting us?” he posed, “It’s because one side is adamant to listen. But all is not lost and we need a round table discussion with the government.”

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka (right) affirmed that leaders want devolution to succeed
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka (right) affirmed that leaders want devolution to succeed

He said for devolution to thrive every politician and the national government must support it, adding that it’s time for the Senate to also offer its support. “Devolution is still young and thus it requires mentorship and support from our big brothers in the national government instead of instilling fear on us by bashing us from all quarters,” said Governor Khaemba.

However, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Devolution principal secretary Charles Sunkuli challenged Governors to pay all
pending bills, saying delay in payment is hurting the country’s economy. “Let us prioritize the payment of pending bills to suppliers at the
County level to stimulate growth at the grassroots level. We need to
cultivate a spirit of making payments in time,” said CS Wamalwa.

On his part, Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka called on Governors to observe the law when discharging their duties to avoid legal implications that have
seen some of their colleagues charged, adding that they all want devolution to succeed. “We can avoid the scenario being witnessed at the County government of Nairobi City if Governors observe the law. We all wish to see
devolution succeeding for the benefit of development,” said
Lusaka. He further appealed to Governor to pay pending bills to avoid unnecessary squabbles being witnessed in their Counties.