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The Council of Governors held a consultative meeting with Cabinet Secretaries in Nairobi to discuss the Big 4 agenda and the National Government projects in the counties. The meeting which was chaired by Interior CS Fred Matiang'i brought together Excellency Governors led by the Chairman of the Council, H.E Wycliffe Oparanya.

While addressing the press after the meeting, Council of Governors chairman expressed the need to coordinate all projects in the Counties to ensure delivery in all projects. "We have agreed that we need to engage each other more regularly to realize meaningful development.” said H.E Wycliffe Oparanya. Poor coordination has so far stalled close to 200 projects in counties thus it's very important that both the County and National Governments work together to ensure their completion. “Projects have stalled and the progress has been affected by matters yet to be ironed out between National and County Governments,” said CS Matiang’i.
The Big 4 agenda as endorsed by the president of Kenya and well supported by the Council of Governors is a remarkable concept to ensure sustainable development in four key sectors in Kenya. It will ensure that Kenyans get employment which will in turn improve the dignity of the people. The National Government supported by the 47 County Governments has decdicated time, energy and resources towards the achievement of the five year blueprint.  Constant reporting is a key ingredient to the success of any project. The collaboration between the National and County Governments will see all projects come to completion. To enhance this reporting and coordination structure, the National and County Governments will henceforth meet on a monthly basis to discuss the status of the projects, issues arising and iron out any challenges.
One of the key resolutions from the meeting was that both the National and County Governments will hold monthly consultative meetings as that held today.

Thursday, 06 June 2019 10:19

DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS STAKEHOLDERS MEETING

The Council of Governors Chairman, H.E. Hon Wycliffe Oparanya and a delegation of other Governors met with Development partners. The meeting focused on the status of existing projects supported by Developments partners, the challenges faced in implementation and ways to counter the challenges to ensure the objectives of the various projects are realized.

Devolution has now taken root in Kenya. The Development partners and the Council of Governors agree that even with the challenges experienced by County Governments and Development partners, devolution is indeed working in Kenya and all stakeholders should continue working together to ensure that it’s a success.

A great impediment to the progress of devolution has been the inadequate resources to counties to implement critical devolved functions. Most of the resources meant for devolved functions are withheld by the National Government. The delay in release funds by the National Treasury has affected service delivery. Furthermore, resources allocated by development partners have also fallen subject to these delays. As a resolution to this, County Governments and Development Partners have to work on costing of all devolved functions to ensure actual and adequate resourcing of County Governments.

The Council of Governors already formed a committee that is looking into the looming constitutional review before the year 2022. The task of the committee is to ensure that the reforms focus on devolution and is devolution friends. The Council of Governors was therefore tasked to utilize the proposed referendum window to factor a reasonable percentage increase on the vertical share of revenue from the current 15%. In addition, the Council was asked to undertake a clear mapping of Development Partners’ projects in Counties support through other agencies / non-state actors should be done to clearly show what each of partners is investing and through who.

As a mitigation measure to avoid duplication of projects and funds by the various partners, Development partners were tasked to collate all their projects being coordinated at the Counties in order to have a structured engagement towards their implementation. Some of these projects were pointed to being implemented by NGOs without the knowledge of County Governments. However, a structured engagement will ensure concerted efforts for better results.

The team purposed to hold a quarterly status review meeting between the Governors and the Development Partners. In addition the Council Secretariat was tasked to call for a meeting with National Treasury, Governors and Development Partners to discuss the challenge of delayed release of funds and its implication to the success of devolution.

Also present at the meeting was Council of Governors Vice Chair H.E Mwangi Wa Iria, H.E. Prof Paul Chapkwony, H.E. Lee Kinyanjui, H.E. Martin Wambora, H.E. Kiraitu Murungi, and H.E. Wycliffe Wangamati.

The Government of Uganda officials working in the Ministries of Water, Environment, Finance, Planning and Economic Development as well as representatives from GIZ led by Ms. Maris Wanyera-Director Debt and Cash Policy and Mr. Chebet Maikut-Commissioner, Climate change Department held a meeting on 16th May, 2019 with the Council of Governors Tourism and Natural Resource Management Committee where Climate change is domiciled to learn the work that the Council and Counties have done in regards to climate change mainstreaming and budgeting.
The team was in Kenya for a study mission to benchmark on the work that the Government of Kenya has done in climate finance tagging, budgeting and tracking as part of the South-South experience sharing to inform the climate budgeting work currently at the initial phases in Uganda. Speaking in the meeting, Natural Resource Management Programme Officer, Ann Tek noted, “We are glad to have guests from our neighboring Country coming to learn from us. The Council of Governors is a centre of excellence and a home of best practices. We endeavor to serve the public and Nation at large with dedication and precision.” The Council’s Secretariat staff were also able to furnish the team with the roles and mandates of the Council as well as share experiences in coordinating the climate change work in the Counties as well as what County Governments have achieved so far and the linkages in place with the National Government Ministries to ensure effective collaboration in the arena.
In turn the delegation shared their experiences in terms of what they are doing in the districts in Uganda such as having allocation formulae’s for the different sectors in the districts. The team was keen on learning how the Governors embrace issues of climate change in their Counties, the structure of the climate change units and the extent to which Counties support the units, the financing arrangement in terms of how money trickles down to the Counties and the private sector engagement with the Counties.
Adding to the conversation, the head of the Ugandan Delegation noted, “We appreciate what we have witnessed and heard from all of you. We carry home with us a lot of lessons that we will domesticate so that we improve issues of climate change in our Country.” After the meeting, it was agreed that the delegation would come up with a road map of the next steps after they had completed their study mission and would invite the Council and representatives from the Counties to Kampala for any further deliberations on how they can replicate some of the work the Counties are doing in their districts.

The Council of Governors in partnership with  ADA Consortium held a two day capacity building workshop on 29th-30th May, 2019 with County Directors of Communication on developing Communication Strategies and Policies in Naivasha. The workshop comes in the wake of a recent assessment done in the Communication Offices within the Counties revealing that only 4 Counties had put in place a Communication Strategy. The Counties that include; Mombasa, Nyeri, Kajiado and Machakos seemingly enjoyed consistent, effective and proactive communication, visible through the information channeled to the public through their events and activities, social media platforms among other communication channels.
According to the Chair of the Directors Caucus and DC Machakos County, Mr. David Mwanzia, the workshop was a unique opportunity to ensure that counties have effective Communication Strategies meant to get desirable results and just not for show. “Targeted messaging will therefore become much easier since copying and pasting strategies can never produce effective results, and that’s what we as Machakos County did”. Said Mwanzia. In her opening remarks, CoG Ag. Director of Communication Ms. Ruth Chitwa, HSC, welcomed the Directors and reminded them of the importance of the workshop with regards to their various Communication strategies in their various Counties. “Your County communication strategies will guide you in the coordination of communication internally and externally as well as engagements of the County Communication with the Media and other stakeholders”, she said.
The development of communication strategies, done with the requisite research will ensure that Counties map and prioritize their internal and external stakeholders. The workshop was meant to address the following objectives: - Be equipped with the requisite skills to aid in the development of County Communication Strategies; gain practical experience arising from the workshop and address the Communication gaps highlighted after the Sectoral meeting.

The Council of Governors and the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries & Irrigation held a consultative meeting on 8th May 2019 on Agriculture Regulations, Subsidy program and Food & Nutrition Security pillar of the Big 4 Agenda. Others in attendance included Executive Committee Members in charge of Agriculture, MCAs from County assembly Agriculture committees, Food and Agriculture Organization Kenya, University of Nairobi, World Renew and the Joint Agriculture Secretariat.

The main objective of the meeting was to discuss the finalisation of sector regulation, implementation and financing of the Food Security agenda, restructuring the Agriculture Subsidy program and the Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS).

The Chairman, Council of Governors, H.E Wycliffe Oparanya pointed out on the encroachment of devolved functions by ministry officials. “Out of the Three hundred and two billion Kenya Shillings, the Ministry got 46.9 billion, while total for the forty seven counties under agriculture amounts to twenty four billion Kenya shillings only. This makes it difficult for County Governments to undertake devolved agricultural functions with efficiency. Recommendation is for funds transfer from Kilimo to counties especially for implementing the Big 4 agenda on Food and Nutrition Security,” said HE Oparanya.

While focusing on the ongoing Agriculture projects by National Government and development partners in counties, the Governors stated that they is need for an agriculture sector Development Partners Protocol to lay out a code of conduct for development partners as it will guide their activities in the Counties and ease monitoring and evaluation of agriculture projects. This comes at a time when coordination of projects by these agencies has become complex with some of them implementing projects without the knowledge of Count executive or consultation. The Governors also needed to be upraised on all donor-funded programs running in all counties.

The following resolutions arose from the meeting;

i. The subsidies program must be restructured to comply with the constitution borrowing from successful models such as the Zambian model and further provide for participation of the private sector in procurement and distribution of inputs and related services-e-voucher, e-wallet.

ii. Review of various legislative frameworks in the agriculture sector among them NCPB, AFA, Crops and Kenya Dairy Board Acts.

iii. Both levels of government agree to undertake county agriculture enterprises sustainability mapping.

iv. Prioritization of micro irrigation at household level by both levels of government to move away from rain fed agriculture.

v. Jointly explore ways of managing externalities that affect agriculture effectiveness and efficiency such as cost of electricity.

vi. Intergovernmental Forum for Agriculture to be held for two days in the month of June.

vii. The technical committee to develop an implementation plan for the actions in the communique.e committee in partnership with National Project coordinators to organize for a two-day retreat to brief H.E Governors on all ongoing agriculture programmes by

development partners. The meetings may be convened as per the regional economic blocs with the agenda being to agree on how projects are being done. The aim is to appraise H.E on ongoing agriculture projects. Conflicting issues that might not be resolved will later be flagged out with the Cabinet Secretary.

The Council of Governors, with the support of USAID-AHADI (through USAID and UKaid) convened the very first Devolution Study Group (DSG) Series in April 2019. The objective was to discuss Effects of Corruption, Challenges and Energizing the Momentum in the Fight Against Corruption in Kenya. The forum served to support the anti-corruption agenda that is spearheaded by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, and to identify areas for collaboration between both levels of government in strengthening anti-corruption measures.

The Session was guided by the Chatham House Rules that provide safe space for open but candid dialogue and confidentiality. At the end of the Session, stakeholders strongly recommended to convene a high-level dialogue session between Excellency Governors, National government institutions, Private Sector and Civil Society and have candid dialogue on challenges as well as collaborative actions for corruption prevention.
Highlights of challenges, proposed actions and recommendations:
1.Effects of Corruption on devolution and Service Delivery
Devolution was meant to give more and better services to the people. However, corruption denies citizens quality services now, and compromises delivery of such services in future as well.

2.Challenges of fight against corruption include (but are not limited to): Capacity challenges including through change of Officers after elections, causing lack of continuity and loopholes for corruption; Impunity, where the corrupt commit crimes without any sanctions; Inadequate implementation of Audit Recommendations; Inadequate intergovernmental collaboration to seal loopholes for corruption and minimize wastage; Inadequate information to the public and lastly; Counties spreading themselves too thinly, implementing numerous projects with little impact.

3.Some Actions for Energizing the momentum for fighting corruption include: Imposing sanctions to individuals and institutions found to be propagating corruption; Strengthening public procurement processes; focusing on and investing in proactive corruption prevention; Strengthening public participation mechanisms, including approval of projects by Community Committees; Building capacity of County structures including Internal Audit Departments, Internal Audit Committees, Budget and Economic Forums, County Budget Committees and Capacity for Corruption Risk Assessment and Corruption Root-Cause Analysis; Automating systems, processes and services; Investing in transforming the culture that promotes corruption; Collaboration between Office of Auditor General, Community Committees (Project Management Committees) and Civil Society; Critically examining and enhancing role of Professional bodies in the fight against corruption and; Protecting Whistle Blowers innovatively.

4.Next Steps and Recommendations agreed by stakeholders include:
i)Convene a high-level dialogue session between Excellency Governors, National government institutions, Private Sector and Civil Society and have candid dialogue on challenges as well as collaborative actions for corruption prevention.
ii)Consider convening a similar dialogue session for half-a day, since it is an issue of national importance.
iii)Examine hoe intergovernmental collaboration can minimize corruption and wastage of public resources.
iv)Convene sessions dedicated to learning from and tapping services of anti-corruption institutions (and stakeholders).
v)Policy action to ensure continuity of County Services during and beyond political transitions, especially general elections.

The Council of Governors Committee on Agriculture on 8th April met with the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri to discuss pertinent issues in the Agriculture sector from Agriculture regulations, Input subsidies and the implementation of the Big Four Agenda on Food and Nutrition security.
During his opening statement H.E Muthomi Njuki raised concerns on the development of regulation without involvement of the County Governments. “Our concern is on regulation, most of these regulations are developed without the input of the County Governments,” said H.E. Muthomi Njuki.
It was noted that the Ministry of Agriculture had finalised several regulations which are due for gazettement. They include regulations on coffee, tea, dairy, sugar, pyrethrum, nuts and oil, horticulture, fibre crops and food crops However, the regulation centralised the manufacturing and warehouse licensing which are devolved functions. However, the Council of Governors was not involved in the process of formulation. The Council Committee on Agriculture therefore recommended a participatory process between the two levels of government.
Both came to the understanding that a joint technical committee will be constituted to deal with all issues touching on regulations in the Agriculture sector by 10th April, 2019. The Committee will comprise of officers from the five departments under the Ministry and representatives of the County Governments and the Council of Governors.
Currently, there are many regulations that have been pending since 2013. This means that the County Governments have been working using regulations formulated before the new dispensation. The two levels of Government have only agreed on Coffee, Sugar and Potato regulations. The technical committee was tasked to come up with a work plan on how to deal with the remaining regulations and have them gazetted within 6o days.
The County Governments also raised concerns on the input subsidy model by the National Government. The current model has distributed blanket subsidies to the 47 Counties without considering the different demographics of every County. Subsidies such as fertilizers depend on variables such as soil types, crops grown etc. The quantity delivered has also been done based on historical consumption patterns which affect Counties where there Counties receive low amounts of fertiliser forcing most farmers to rely on private dealers or growing without fertilizer.
On 24th April, there will be a Governors’ briefing meeting on the implementation of the Big 4 agenda. During this meeting, Governors will be appraised on Crop suitability by the University of Nairobi, Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy, Big 4 Agenda strategy, Input subsidy and regulation.

On 25th March 2019, Excellency Governors came together to discuss the progress and gaps in the Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP) , the design of Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement project II (KISIP II), Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP) and the Affordable Housing Agenda.
The Kenyan Urban Support Programme (KUSP), is a programme supported by the World Bank that seeks to support the implementation of the Kenya Urban Programme (KenUP), which is the Kenya Government’s Development Strategy aimed at strengthening the Kenyan National Urban Development Policy (NUDP).
KUSP addresses the basic steps as provided for in KenUP which are; the establishment of urban governance as well as management structures, providing funding to the County Governments to allow those urban structures to fulfil their mandates, provide capacity development support to Central Government notably the State Department of Housing and Urban Development and in overall seeks to emphasize the pivotal role urban areas that are supposed to be playing in terms of development, prosperity and modernization.
The Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement project II (KISIP II), is a programme whose objective is to improve the living conditions of people living in selected informal settlements in selected urban centres with the aim to improve access to land and basic services in informal settlements in Kenya. The programme covers 15 municipalities namely; Eldoret, Embu, Garissa, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisumu, Kitui, Machakos, Malindi, Mombasa, Nairobi, Naivasha, Nakuru, Nyeri and Thika.
Some of the discussions on KISIP II include; the need to expand the scope of the program to incorporate informal settlements outside urban areas, Capacity building of counties to design and implement World Bank funded programs, nomination of the KISIP 2 Program Formulation Team and the need for respect of institutional mandates as per Kenya’s constitution.
On the other hand, Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP) focused on the delayed transfer of funds from County Revenue Accounts to Special Purpose Account and additional funding to the Counties.
Charles Hinga, Principal Secretary in charge of Housing got a chance to make a presentation to the Excellency Governors on the Affordable Housing Programme (AHP). This is an initiative by the government as one of the pillars under the Big Four Agenda which ensures that low and middle –income households have access to decent and affordable housing units.
AHP will be financed and executed by both the private sector, National and County Governments and once the Houses are built, the Housing Fund will purchase the Units from the private developers and offer them to the beneficiaries and for this reason, the 47 County Governments role will be to identify suitable land for putting up these facilities and develop the supporting infrastructure.
After fruitful deliberations, the following resolutions emanated from the discussions;
i. Counties to comply with environmental social, financial management, procurement and contractual management requirements under Kenya Urban Support programme (KUSP) and aspire to deliver transformative projects that have impact, citizen centric and are integrated to ensure adequate and quality urban service delivery.
ii. That world bank to urgently review the project design in line with the new Urban Areas and Cities Amendment Act 2019, among other considerations to take into account concerns on equity ,fairness and promotion of growth of smaller towns.
iii. Counties should absorb the disbursed UDG on critical Urban Infrastructure and service delivery to benefit the people of Kenya and to expedite absorption to allow next release of disbursement.
iv. County Governments to develop a grievance redress mechanism to clearly outline how residents can raise their concerns and resolve them at the County level.
v. The Council of Governors to advice Counties on the mode of implementation of the Urban Areas and Cities Act noting the new changes on composition of municipal boards , qualification and the revised population threshold for municipalities.
vi. That the National treasury to immediately release the Urban Institutional Grant in the next two weeks. The funds have been delayed for over a year.
vii. That World bank, Council of Governors and Ministry to work together to refine the design of KISIP 2 to address the foundational causes of slums, to reconsider the restriction that the informal settlements must be in an urban area and prioritize on urban poor.
viii. That the Ministry to Urgently release level 1 Grants for the Kenya Devolution support programme for the FY18/19 and also counties to provide reporting for level 1 and 2 Grants and prepare for the third ACPA in June/July 2019.
ix.That County Governments to open special purpose accounts for Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP).
x.That the National Treasury to allow counties to access county funds in situations where there is delayed disbursement of conditional grants.

Excellency Governors and Ministry of Health officials held a consultative meeting on 9th April in Naivasha to discuss health issues including Universal Health Coverage (UHC), NHIF and KEMSA reforms among others. The meeting was chaired by b the vice chair of the health Committee H.E Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o and the Ministry of Health’s Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr. Rashid Aman.
The meeting reviewed the Universal Health Coverage in the pilot counties of Kisumu, Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos being the pilot counties. The ministry also had the opportunity to share the successes in the implementation of UHC which includes increased number of patients seeking health care and adequate supply of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical in the counties. Some of the challenges identified in the pilot counties were delays in transfer of funds from the CARA to the SPA following disbursements in to the CARA outside the budget of FY 2018/2019, inadequate human resources for health to match the increased demand for health services following the launch of the pilots among others. As a result, the following were proposed as ways of strengthening health systems. Progressive recruitment of frontline health workers by counties e.g. nurses and other health workers, additional resources for the new approach to service delivery to be availed to Counties in a timely manner, resource allocation for each county and not a replacement of user fees, additional resources for service delivery in the counties, strengthening inter-sectoral collaboration, and building capacities of health workers generally..
It was observed that the NHIF has over the years been mandated to provide health insurance to Kenyans. However, several challenges were noted to bedevil its operations thus hindering its optimal functioning. Accordingly, the Cabinet Secretary for Health commissioned a task force to spearhead reforms in the NHIF with the aim of addressing the long standing challenges that Kenyans and County Governments are facing in service delivery.
It was further agreed that KEMSA equally needed substantial reforms to be able to undertake its functions of procurement and supply of medicines to Counties even as plans to scale up UHC after the pilot period. It was noted that the rest of the 43 Counties not in pilot continue to suffer commodity stock outs and low refill rates from KEMSA with the excuse that the authority was making supplies to the Pilot Counties.
The meeting was adjourned with an agreement that both County Governments and the National Government constructively deliver health services to Kenyans.

The Council of Governors Legal and Human rights committee and Senate’s standing committee on legal, justice and human rights committee on 26th – 27th April held a consultative meeting to discuss emerging issues and concerns in legislation at the County and National level.
This is the first time the two committees met – offering an opportunity to strengthen the working relationship between them. “I find this meeting historic. The Legal Committees of the Council and the Senate have come together on their own initiative, to deliberate and make resolutions on matters of legislation and cooperation between the Senate and the Council.” Said the Chairman Council of Governors, H.E. Wycliffe Oparanya.
The relationship between the Senate and the Council of Governors has been rocky. However, this has since improved in the recent past. While delivering his Key Note address, Speaker of the Senate, Hon. Kenneth Lusaka alluded, the maturity between the two institutions as the COG and the senate have put politics aside to drive the devolution agenda and ensuring that devolution is optimally strengthened. “This meeting is a significant and unique shift, because it demonstrates how our institutions of governance have matured and are able to embrace the spirit of our Constitution in the discharge of their mandates, which embeds and encourages consultation and cooperation between institutions at various levels drawn from distinct arms of government.” said the Speaker.
Currently, there are Bills before the house that are contentious. The Council of Governors has reviewed the Bills and submitted memoranda before the senate for consideration. H.E Amason Kingi, Chairman, Legal and Human Rights committee sought intervention and cooperation with the senate to ensure that COG proposals are adopted as they have the interest of the Counties at heart.
The two institutions are charged with the mandate of implementing ad protecting devolution to ensure that service delivery is improved in Kenya under the devolved dispensation.
The meeting came up with joint resolutions to speed up implementation of individual and joint actions to improve the relationship as well as legislative anchor of the functions under the devolved system. Find the resolutions here...Joint Resolutions

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