By Geoffrey Isaya
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday called on the National Assembly and the Senate to end the stalemate over the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 to allow the release of funds to counties.
He said Members of Parliament should act quickly to ensure that counties get their share of the available funds because any further delay will deny Kenyans the services they need.
The President, however, reminded MPs that the Government does not have unlimited resources and should bear in mind that what the National Government has been allocating to counties is much higher than the threshold set by the Constitution.
“The Constitution says we give a minimum of 15 per cent to counties. Within one year I took it to over 30 per cent,” said the President as he called on modesty and honesty in demands for more allocations for counties.
“Why can you not pass the Bill so that people can get services. Reach an agreement so that we can release funds to counties,” said the President.
The President said the country does not have unlimited resources and leaders should not act as if money flows freely and that Kenya’s “resources are unlimited.”
The Head of State said leaders also need to change their attitudes and understanding of devolution because the system of governance does not stand for competition between different levels of government.
“It is two systems of Government complementing each other to deliver services for the people,” said the President.
He said devolution as a system of government is working for Kenyans and what is needed is for leaders to change their approach to leadership.
“I want to acknowledge my belief that devolution is working. What we need now is to focus on the agenda of delivering for the people who put us in leadership,” said the President.
The Head of State spoke after he officially opened the Ugatuzi Plaza that houses the Nakuru County Assembly Chamber.
He said elected leaders owe a debt to the electorate and the only way to repay them is to deliver services to them.
The President said he was impressed by the refurbishment and expansion of the Ugatuzi Plaza while also commending Nakuru MCAs for putting the interests of the people before theirs after revelations that the grassroots leaders had resolved not to use county funds on foreign travel.
President Kenyatta at the same time called on elected leaders to go slow on politics and concentrate on service delivery.
He said peace and unity are very important for the progress of the country because investors will put their money where there is safety.
“Help me to bring Kenyans together. In me you have a partner in development,” said the President who addressed MCAs during a session inside the County Assembly chamber.
The session was also addressed by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Senator Susan Kihika and ex-Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama among other leaders.