Senators have been urged to protect the interest of county government in order to ensure devolution succeeds.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko says without support from the Senate, County Governments cannot succeed to fully Implement their development agenda.
Speaking on Thursday, after the Senate Delegated Legislation Committee paid him a courtesy call at City Hall, Sonko said county governments need the support of the Senate in order to safeguard the interest of the devolved units.
“I’m happy your team has promised to protect the interest of counties, since without your support, counties are at risk of losing a lot including funds and political support from other arms of the government,” said Sonko.
In reference to his recent appearance before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee, the Governor urged the Samuel Poghisio-led Delegated Legislation Committee to relook into issues raised by county chiefs during their appearance before Senate committees.
“When you go back please look into serious issues raised by Governors concerning counties especially issues pertaining Auditor General’s reports. I remember during my appearance before the Senate, I raised very serious issues on how officers from the Auditor General’s office attempted to extort money from me in order to come up with a favorable audit report of the Nairobi City County Government,” said Sonko.
Sonko stated that apart from the role of oversighting counties, the Senate should also step up its mandate of protecting the interest of counties as enshrined in the constitution.
“Your role as the oversight body is well stipulated in our constitution, but you are also required to act as protectors of counties to ensure the devolved units are well funded to guarantee Kenyans development across the country,” he added.
On his part, Poghisio assured Governor Sonko that his committee will ensure all laws are applied to safeguard the interest of counties.
“You have raised important issues, let’s discuss more when we have another detailed meeting,” Poghisio said.
Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga also echoed Poghisio’s sentiments and called on County Assemblies to play their roles effectively to support Senate’s role of oversighting counties.
“Although most county assemblies have no capacity to deal with oversight roles, we need them to take the center stage to look into reports like audit queries instead of summoning Governors to the Senate over minor issues. It’s only MCAs who know better on the use of funds and development projects by Governors in the counties,” she said.
Mombasa Senator Mohammed Faki on his part guaranteed Sonko that the Senate will continue to fight for the rights of county governments to ensure they get their rightful share of revenue.
“At the moment we are fighting for more funds for county governments to ensure devolution succeeds. You know the National Assembly wants counties to be allocated Sh310 billion in the 2019/20 financial year, but the Senate wants the counties to be allocated Sh335 billion in the Division of Revenue Bill. We are seriously fighting for your rights so don’t be worried because that’s our mandate,” the Senator stated.
The meeting was also attended by Nairobi County Government Executive members, County Secretary Pauline Kahiga, Nairobi Deputy County Secretary Leboo Morintat, Chief of Staff Brian Mugo among others.
Speaking during the meeting Leboo urged Senators to make it a routine and visit development projects by county governments in order to get clarification of use of funds by the devolved units.