President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration that the National government would not increase funding to counties is welcome.
While dismissing the Council of Governors’ demands, Uhuru said counties should demonstrate why they need more funds when they have not properly accounted for what they received in the past seven years.
Uhuru correctly said unless wastage and corruption are tamed in the counties, there is no need to allocate more resources that end up in the pockets of a few corrupt individuals.
The President’s message could not have come at a better time. Counties have become centres of corruption where a class of overnight millionaires sprung up soon after devolution became a reality.
The opulence in counties, where governors drive in convoys of fuel-guzzling vehicles, is not only obscene but disgusting. This culture must be stopped before it destroys Kenya.
The resources used to make governors live like kings and queens should be used to provide clean water, make medicine available in hospitals and build schools.
To achieve proper accountability is not adding more money into the hands of the avaricious governors.
It’s high time Kenyans challenged governors to show what they have done with previous allocations before demanding more.
Evidence shows that large amounts of money devolved to counties are either stolen by networks of corrupt officials, spent on salaries and other recurrent expenditure.
Uhuru has called on counties to scale down recurrent expenditure and redirect more resources to productive investment in order to pull more Kenyans out of poverty.
Devolution is one of the tools the 2010 Constitution guaranteed Kenyans to achieve equitable distribution of resources. But the reality has been disastrous.
While almost all counties are riddled with graft and wastage, a rare success story has been demonstrated in Makueni county.
Governor Kivuta Kibwana has shown us that with proper management and focuses on the development, counties can turn rural Kenya into satellites of mega-development.
Kibwana has proved that through devolution, Vision 2030 is attainable if every county put the interests of the people first.
Kenyans across their political divide agree that the biggest problem of devolution is that the governors were given a carte blanche.
For instance, the national government should have the latitude to sanction any counties whose books of account do not reflect accountable expenditures of the money allocated from Treasury.
Additionally, counties should not be considered employment bureaus but units of development through strategic initiatives that spur growth.
During a recent visit to Kenya, a banker narrated to me how Sh10 million was withdrawn from a county account ostensibly to buy blankets for a governor’s residence!
Should the President be the one to be accused of starving counties of funds or should Kenyans be outraged by uncontrolled pillaging of their money? —[email protected]