Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said there is need to bite the bullet and revisit the structure of devolution in the country.
Delivering a keynote address on Day three of the 5th Annual Devolution Conference at Kakamega High School on Wednesday, Raila called for the introduction of a three-tier system.’
“We should retain the current counties, create 14 regional or potential governments and retain the National Government which should come up with a formula on revenue sharing.The creation of 14 regions comprising several districts was meant to make it economically viable to manage the affairs of such regions,” he said.
Raila lauded the creation of economic blocs like Coast and North Eastern and appealed to County Assemblies to expedite the passing of legislations to authenticate the regional blocs.
The former PM said threats to devolution were real.
” Governors are unfairly being accused of self-enrichment. Governors and CECs are viewed with suspicion. MCAs and speakers are accused of conflict of interest by engaging in contracts.Some Governors pay for their cabinets to be approved by County Assemblies besides facilitating their trips to benchmark. This has heightened corruption which must stop or devolution will head to its deathbed,” he said.
Auditor General Edward Ouko called for an end to the victimization of MCAs when they raise potential issues with the Governors, adding that this is political and not financial to warrant his intervention.
Over 40 senators and Governors who are attending the conference said the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila should be embraced by all leaders. Former Coast regional police boss Nelson Marwa, now the PS for Devolution shook hands with his nemesis Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho before Raila.
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong was among participants who endorsed the handshake which they described as golden. Judy Ojaamong said the conference helps to bring people from different cultures together. She appealed to the Council of Governors to involve students in future conferences to enable them to learn more about devolution.