Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has defended President William Ruto’s move to scrap the devolution ministry which has been a link between the national government and the devolved units. Senator Cherargei has supported the decision to do away with the docket, saying it was not necessary even in the former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.
“I don’t think that the ministry needs to exist even from the word go. You have heard it from former chairs of the Council of Governors, specifically Isaac Ruto. I have heard the former governor of Kakamega Wycliffe Oparanya say that the docket was a link, but you have intergovernmental relations that already exist,” Cherargei said.
According to Mr. Cherargei, the ministry, which was until recently led by Charles Keter, did not have distinct functions as purported but instead there are existing linkages through the intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council that can be handled by the deputy president Rigathi Gachagua. he argued that donors can use the council to raise their issues regarding devolution.
“If there are donors that need to fund the devolved programs who want to participate in devolution, there is already a linkage that donors can participate,” the senator said.
The senator instead called for efficient disbursement of funds to counties as well as better working relations between the national and the county governments. He noted that the devolution’s major challenge is the failure to fully devolve functions and allocate funds according to the devolved functions.
“The biggest challenge is not having the ministry of devolution, but for the National government to fully devolve those functions and ensure those functions follow with the costing and funding of those functions. The mutual agreement between the National and county governments is what matters,” he said.
Former Kakamega county governor Wycliffe Oparanya however, differed with the senator, arguing that devolution was a key linkage between the devolved units and the donors who had interests in the devolved functions.
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o also faulted the president, saying that the docket deserves a State department on its own.
“Having seen appointments to the Cabinet, equity and regional balance, two components of national unity, are prominent by their absence. What is even more striking is that devolution is not given the prominence it deserves as a state department on its own as is currently the case,” Nyongo said.
President Ruto made public some of the roles to be undertaken by his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua.
Dp Gachagua would be undertaking the roles previously performed by devolution ministry. Gachagua would coordinate Intergovernmental relations between the national and the county governments, including charing the Intergovernmental budget and Economic Council (IBEC).