Opposition leader Raila Odinga says that counties should be allocated 47 per cent of the national revenue, up from the 32 per cent that the Jubilee administration allocates.
In a speech to governors at the close of the Fourth Annual Devolution Conference in Naivasha Thursday evening, Mr Odinga the National Super Alliance (Nasa) is rooting for counties to be allocated 47 per cent of national revenue so that they are able to serve the people and give them services and to ensure they realise the fruits of devolution.
In the speech read on his behalf by Kisumu Senator Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o and which generally focused on the next five years of devolution, the former Prime Minister said decentralisation has empowered communities, enhanced their participation in national development and must be supported to take root.
“Devolution remains by far the most popular constitutional option [that] Kenya has embarked on since independence, more than fifty years ago,” he told governors.
“We have seen good investment especially in infrastructure, healthcare, water services, sanitation, electrification and early childhood education across all counties,” he added.
Mr Odinga said Nasa would also press for more functions to be devolved to the counties.
The ODM leader, who is in South Africa to visit his daughter Rosemary who is recuperating in hospital, praised devolution as a huge success, saying its story has put to shame prophets of doom and its critics.
“The lesson that we have learnt is that as a nation, we must never fear change.
“We must always be ready to embrace and experiment with new ideas if we are to move forward,” Mr Odinga said adding that embracing devolution has signalled Kenyans refusal “to be held hostage” by the past.
Individuals who continue to sabotage devolution and whom he did not name, “are certain to miss the future”, he added.
He praised governors for standing firm against “monumental” challenges, and teething problems as the pioneer county chiefs, saying they have planted the seeds of devolution in Kenya.
“For the sake of our country and our people, we must make the next five years of devolution different and deeply rewarding,” Mr Odinga said.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, who presided over the closing ceremony, called on counties and the national government to work together for the sake of devolution and the country’s progress.
He described the conference as a success, saying he was happy that both governments agreed on issues raised.
He thanked governors for supporting him, even as they work through challenges, to make devolution a success.
Mr Kiunjuri also read Deputy President William Ruto’s speech.
©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation