Mt Kenya East leaders want the constitutional amendment through the Building Bridges Initiative to entrench the appointment of a Cabinet Secretary or a Principal Secretary from each of the 47 counties.
Governors Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Martin Wambora (Embu) and Muthomi Njuki (Tharakanithi), Senators and MPs from the region came to the agreement during a meeting at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
Meru Governor Kiraitu said their proposal for the appointment of the senior state officers seeks to ensure the inclusivity of all communities in the government.
“We are fronting for a system that everybody can have a sense of ownership of the government. We don’t any county left without representation at the high levels of government,” he said.
Kiraitu said they also supported expanded executive with the president, deputy, Prime Minister, and two deputy Prime Ministers so that there can be more inclusivity also at the top.
The Meru Governor said they plan to make a clarion call on their proposal during a BBI rally planned for Kinoru Stadium in Meru County on Saturday. He revealed that they resolved to all attend and be united in the demand.
He said on Thursday prior to the BBI rally, they will have a huge seminar in Meru with the leadership of 11 counties in Eastern region to harmonize their positions, which they will present in the big rally at Kinoru Stadium.
“The meeting was purely to consult on BBI and that it was also attended by Embu senator Njeru Ndwiga and his Meru counterpart Mithika Linturi and MPs from the three counties and other leaders,” he said.
Kiraitu said they also agreed to support the Ward Development Fund, or devolvement of funds all the way to the wards to be enshrined in the constitution. He said their meeting also talked about agriculture where they would like more resources allocated since it’s critical to the region. Kiraitu is opposed to the creation of regional governments as proposed in one of the BBI rallies in Mombasa recently.
Meanwhile, the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) is pushing for the entrenchment of the Ward Development Fund (WDF) into law to guarantee a certain amount of county finances is set aside for the implementation of projects in every ward.
MCAs from eight counties from the Eastern Kenya region, through CAF Chairman Ndegwa Wahome, pledged to support the drive for constitutional change but resolved to submit a memorandum to the BBI secretariat pushing for addressing of the problems Kenyans at the grassroots level face.
The reps want the Ward elective units recognised as the basic unit of development and the complete financial autonomy of devolved legislatures under the Building Bridges Initiative. They said the move would guarantee development in every part of the 47 counties, in consultation with the local populace.
The MCA stated they would petition for the fast-tracking of the Ward Development Fund Bill at the Senate, as well as anchoring of CAF in law; under the Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2012, with express representations in the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) to enable the forum effectively agitate for strengthening of County Assemblies and actual devolution of resources.
Wahome who is also the Speaker for Nyandarua County Assembly proposed that the minimum of shareable revenue to County Assemblies be put at 45 percent of the national audited accounts. “This would safeguard the developmental interests of the Kenyan citizenry at the ward level.
This increase in allocation should be accompanied by empowerment, facilitation and capacity building of MCAs to ensure that the billions of shillings that go to County Governments are well spent for the purposes that they are intended to avoid wastage or pilferage,” he said at the forum attended by MCAs from Makueni, Machakos Kitui, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Isiolo, and Marsabit.