BBI team proposes scrapping of 14 counties, pushes for 14 regional units

By Seth Onyango On Sun, 20 Oct, 2019 15:24 | 2 mins read
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The Building Bridges Initiative team has recommended the scrapping of the 47 counties and replacement with 14 regional governments. PHOTO | FILE

The handshake team wants county governments scrapped and replaced with 14 regional governments.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) draft report seen by K24 Digital proposes the drastic changes in a bid to make the devolved units more responsive to the needs of Kenyans.

The BBI team recommends the repeal of the County Governments Act 2012 and replace it with regional governments as was envisioned in the Bomas Draft.

The move, the team proposes, should pave the way for introduction of a regional premier, deputy regional premier or their equivalent to oversee the new system.

Earlier this year, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for the creation of a three-tier system of governance, with the introduction of regional governments.

He described some counties under the current devolution system as uncompetitive because of their small population and other related factors.

“One of the facts we’re dealing with but hardly acknowledge is that a number of our counties as they are today are too tiny to compete and to marshal internal and external resources for development,” he said.

The BBI draft report also proposes the setting up of Regional Public Service Boards (RBSB) as the panacea for skewed appointments in counties, that have been marred by claims of nepotism, tribalism and cronyism.

The task force exudes confidence the proposed boards will “reduce corruption and nepotism in employment in county public service by abolishing County Public Service Boards and creating Regional Public Service Boards.”

Further, the BBI team recommends the creation of the position of County Police Chief, who will be elected within the framework of counties.

And in what could be a big win for devolution, the team proposes that nearly 50 per cent of national revenue be allocated to devolved units.

“Allocate 45 per cent of the national revenue to devolved governments (13.5 per cent to regional governments and 26.5 per cent to county governments),” draft report reads in part.

Last month, the Council of Governors (CoG) proposed that the equitable share of the revenue raised nationally for county governments not be less than 45 per cent of the previous year’s revenue collected by the national government and calculated on the basis of declared exchequer accounts.

It further proposed that each county provide a minimum of 1.5 per cent of its development budget to the economic blocs and 0.5 per cent to the Council of Governors.

The BBI task force regretted that devolution of various functions was not matched with commensurate resources.