Kenya: Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has accused President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Government of plotting to frustrate devolution.
CORD principals Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka lashed out at the Jubilee Government accusing it of trying to stifle devolution through the creation of the Devolution Ministry and allocating it a whopping Sh84 billion.
The two, who chaired separate parliamentary group meetings for the different parties namely ODM and Wiper respectively, faulted creation of the ministry.
They argued that the funds allocated to the ministry should have instead been channeled to the 47 counties to facilitate devolution. ODM warned that devolution was under threat from the Jubilee government.
“ODM takes great exception with the creation of the Ministry of Devolution and the huge allocation of monies to the office,” resolved the parliamentary group consisting of 70 Members of Parliament drawn from both the Senate and National Assembly in a statement read by National Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo.
“We are aware of the fact that devolution, which is a key pillar of the Constitution, must be fully implemented,” he stressed, adding that devolution is supposed to be executed at the grassroots level rather than at national level.
Midiwo said ODM and Wiper would work together in the Senate and National Assembly to protect and defend devolution, which is at the heart of every Kenyan. “We will not sit down and watch the Government tries to kill devolution by way of meager allocation of funds,” he added.
ODM urged Parliament to slash the money and redirect the same to the County governments.
Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka also held a separate PG meeting that too restated their resolve to fight for devolution. Kalonzo and Wiper chairman David Musila said the party fully commits itself to achieving the CORD manifesto through the counties.
“I am fully committed to work with the party in the realisation of the Cord manifesto in supporting full implementation of the constitution and devolution specifically,” he said at the party’s headquarters in Nairobi.
The resolutions come at a time when Governors have been at the forefront in pushing for increased funding to the counties.
The President early this month challenged them to concentrate their energies on serving their people instead of pushing for more money.
The counties, however, got support from the Senate where the senators are debating the Division of Revenue 2013 Bill, with a majority of them stressing the need to amend it to increase the allocation.
ODM at the same time, challenged the Government to inculcate prudent usage of public resources and cautioned it against reckless spending, citing Deputy President William Ruto’s recent tour of four African countries.
“We want the Government to put public funds to proper usage,” said Midiwo.
The party was making reference to public outcry following Ruto’s trip a that has elicited sharp reaction from Kenyans.
During the meeting held at Orange House, the legislators also distanced themselves from attempts by Government to try and gag the media.
“We are unhappy with the remarks by the Jubilee Government in and outside Parliament, which were levelled at the media, bringing to the fore fears that press freedom is under threat,” he noted.
Midiwo said the party wants an official statement from the Government clarifying the remarks.
ODM also took issue with escalating insecurity in many parts of the country, expressing concern at the slow pace at which the Government is addressing the matter.
“We are dismayed that many people have lost their lives, others maimed and property destroyed as a result of insecurity in the country,” he said, adding that residents of Bungoma, Busia, Mandera, Garissa, Tana River and Nyatike among other areas continue to live in fear.
He noted the Government’s assurance that it will act had not yielded fruit and asked it to stop procrastinating on the matter and urgently bring the culprits to book.
“The Government must also compensate the victims of these brutal attacks who remain unknown,” Midiwo added.
ODM further faulted the Government’s move to deploy the military in Mandera without Parliament’s approval, noting that it was in breach of the law. “We take great exception to the purported deployment of KDF to Mandera to bring calm, which is in contravention of the Article 241 (3c) of the Constitution,” stated Midiwo.
“The law provides that KDF may be deployed to restore peace in any part of Kenya affected by unrest or instability only with the approval of the national assembly,” he noted.
By ROSELYNE OBALA and GEOFFREY MOSOKU, The Standard