Thursday, 07 September 2023 07:48


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The Council of Governors (CoG) held the much anticipated Devolution Conference 2023 from 15th – 19th August 2023, at Eldoret Sports Club, Uasin Gishu County. The Conference which marked a decade since the coming into force of sub-national governments was themed: 10 Years of Devolution: The Present and the Future and Sub-theme: Driving Transformation from the local level: County Governments as the Centre of economic development.
The Biennial conference marshaled by the Governors’ Council in collaboration with key partners spanning the many sectors was officially opened by President William Ruto. It brought together various stakeholders including National and Sub-National Governments, private sector, academia, civil societies, development partners, devolution enthusiasts and over 10,000 local and international delegates. The forum provided a platform to candidly evaluate the hits and misses since the introduction of the devolved system of governance in Kenya and offer responsive and concrete solutions, including policy, legislation and administrative action that will strengthen devolution for the next decade.
While making his remarks, the President lauded County Governments for their contributions towards driving the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) witnessed across various sectors particularly health, agriculture, trade, manufacturing and urban development. He further noted that the devolved functions still being discharged by the National Government will be transferred to Counties by mid-October.
“I gave a commitment to ensure that Counties shareable revenue is disbursed to Counties in a timely and predictable manner and within the confines of the law to enable them execute their functions and empower them as stewards of socio-economic development at the grass root level. Although devolution is a two tier government affair, it should in practice reach the lowest and smallest possible units,” President Ruto added.
CoG Chairperson Anne Waiguru took to the podium to highlight the key achievements County Governments have made since 2013. She listed misalignment of policies and laws, slow implementation of intergovernmental decisions and ineffective management of human capital as some of the factors undermining devolution.
“As a good student of the Bible I want to thank you [President Ruto] immensely on behalf of my colleague governors for the end-of-year disbursements, which were on time. Counties have also received their dues for the month of July. This is the first time, in the history of devolution, that disbursements have been made on time,” the Council Chairperson said terming the timely disbursements as a testament to the commitment of the National Government to support devolution.
The Devolution Conference featured rich discussions on topical issues including effective service delivery; digitalization; innovation and performance management; affirmative action; good governance and accountability; housing and urban development; health service delivery; positioning Counties as trade and investments destinations and; exploring the untapped potential in the blue economy sector.
During the Conference, the President, flanked by Governors and other dignitaries, also launched two publications: the Devolution Book highlighting the journey of devolution in Kenya and; the County Bankable Investment handbook which outlines the immense trade and investment opportunities across the Counties.
In addition, the Conference offered a platform for the local business community to showcase the rich culture and diversity of products Uasin Gishu and neighboring Counties have to offer. It also provided an opportunity for over 500 Exhibitors and youth to showcase their products and innovations. Nakuru County won the best exhibition award with Kiambu County and Kitui County coming in the 2nd and 1st position respectively.
While welcoming delegates to Uasin Gishu, Governor Jonathan Bii enumerated the strides the County has made in improving the lives of its citizens and enhancing service delivery, adding that Eldoret town had received a major infrastructural upgrade in preparation for the Conference.
“As we engage, let us continue to foster the spirit of devolution to realize our forefathers' dreams and aspirations and secure a brighter future for generations to come,” said Governor Bii.
Ten years on, the journey of devolution in Kenya is indeed one fraught with highs and lows which have been surmounted through dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders. Kenya has proven to be a resilient economy despite the disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in weather patterns and prolonged drought. Similarly, Counties have made remarkable strides in improving service delivery in the devolved sectors and promoting the adoption of climate-smart technologies and solutions that can create sustainable and resilient communities.
“Today’s seeds are tomorrow’s fruits. Look back on where you are coming from as you plan the future,” CoG Vice Chairperson Ahmed Abdullahi noted, adding significant progress had been made in implementing resolutions arising from previous Conferences. Notably, various interventions have been undertaken in the areas of environment and climate change, agriculture, trade, innovation, blue economy and disaster risk management.
CoG appreciates the Devolution Conference Steering Committee Co-Chaired by the Vice-Chair of the Council, H.E Ahmed Abdulahi and the Speaker of the Senate; the State Department of Devolution; County Assemblies Forum, all partners and stakeholders who attended the Conference and the secretariat led by the CEO Mary Mwiti for their support and dedication towards ensuring the fruition of the Conference.
Asanteni sana!

Read 576 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 September 2023 08:28