President Uhuru Kenyatta today said the institutions of devolution stand firm and the system of administration is here to stay.
The President said the Jubilee Administration has diligently fulfilled the privilege bestowed on them by Kenyans to implement the fundamental changes in governance.
President Kenyatta, who spoke at the 4th Annual Devolution Conference in Naivasha, said the aspirations of Kenyans to be at the center of Government is now a reality.
“Four years ago, the Kenyan people handed me the privilege to implement this fundamental change. I am pleased to see that the institutions we set up to support the aspirations of Kenyans stand firm. Devolution is here to stay,” said the President.
He said leaders who have been in positions of powers should now ask themselves if they have met the expectations of Kenyans.
“For my part, I am privileged to have overseen the establishment of devolution. I am proud that we — always working together with other parts of government, and lifted by the goodwill and participation of ordinary Kenyans right across the country — have been able to change so much so quickly,” said the President said.
The Head of State said devolution remains as a top priority for the Jubilee Government because the new system of the governance promises a future of shared prosperity for every Kenyan.
“Our deeds match our words. By the time the next budget is read, we will have transferred more than a trillion shillings to the 47 county governments — at least double the constitutional minimum of 15 per cent of shareable revenue to the counties,” said President Kenyatta.
The President pointed out that the Jubilee Government has ensured that systems and persons running county governments remain accountable and transparent. He said this has been achieved through the oversight functions of the National Treasury, the Senate, the Controller of Budget and the Auditor General.
President Kenyatta observed that some leaders have been left unhappy by the recent findings by the oversight bodies of mismanagement of county funds.
“That is how we keep leaders honest and accountable. That is how we serve the Kenyans who sent us here. And that is how we make a success of devolution,” said the President.
He said his Administration has had a very warm working relationship with county governments despite all the challenges posed by the fact that devolution was being implemented for the first time.
“It would be idle to pretend that all this has been smooth sailing: we have had our disagreements; we have had our differences. But that is life in a democracy. And, truth be told, working relations between my Government and the counties have been warm,” said the President.
He said the partnership between the National Government and Counties have been improving for the benefit of Kenyans.
“The Medical Equipment Scheme, in which nearly every county has played a part, has given Kenyans access to life-saving screenings for cancer and other diseases,” said the President.
The President called on Governors to support the National Government’s efforts to promote unity and ensure that the upcoming polls are free from intimidation and violence.
“It is our duty, as leaders, to bring Kenyans together, not to divide them. It is our duty to build our communities, and our nation, not to tear it apart,” said the President.
Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya said President Kenyatta deserves praise for his commitment to the success of devolution.
The conference was also attended by foreign diplomats and a delegation from India.