On Thursday, 23rd January 2014, at 10.30am, the Council of Governors was to appear before the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
The Senate’s committee invited the Council to discuss the first quoter financial report by the Controller of Budget.
The Council gave the meeting a wide berth. Even Kerrow’s Governor never showed up. The only Governors present were Kwale’s Salim Mvurya and Ukur Yatanai of the restive Marsabit. The two governors are members of the Council’s 12-member Finance committee headed by Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi .
Our source informs that Hon Kerrow was furious and accused the Governors of lacking commitment and vision for the 47 counties. The Senator threatened to tame the Governors in line with the Senate's standing orders. Mvurya pleaded on behalf of his self-centered colleagues but Kerrow wasn’t in the mood for such ‘’nonsense’’.
Kerrow instructed the council to appear before his committee on Monday,27th January 2014 2.30pm, accompanied by the chair of the 12-member Finance Committee. The Senator promised to tame the greedy lords of our counties.
Constitutionally, the relationship between Senators and Governors is that of check and balance since the Senate has the mandate to check on County governments. Those saying the Senate is interfering with the internal operations of county governments have ulterior motives. The citizens of this country must support the senate in ensuring devolution succeeds. In fact some county governments are sabotaging devolution, therefore, the greater need for the senate to police governors and be the watchmen of devolution. The core purpose of devolution is to promote development and provision of services throughout the country. Unfortunately the governors are taking us back to the old bureaucracies and grandiose that devolution was meant to cure! Counties have created village lords in the name of governors, running around with a fleet of vehicles complete with sirens that are financed by our money. The recent report by the Controller of Budgets has elevated the fear that there is significant risk that the 47 Governors are undermining devolution. The law must be amended to stop these 47 village daylight-robbers!
The senate is amending section 107 (2) (b) of the Public Finance Management Act to ensure a minimum 60 percent of the county budget is allocated to development expenditure – more than 30 percent of current rate. This is my core reason for supporting Senator Murkomen, Kithure Kindiki, Stephen Sang and Beatrice Elachi, the sponsors of the Bill. Since the core object and purpose of devolution is to promote development, this amendment is a change in the right direction. The PFMA also suggest that the Senate must ensure governors account for how they have spent funds allocated in previous financial year before the release of the next tranche of the equitable share of revenue to the government in the current financial year. This must be achieved because Article 96(c) of the constitution vest the senate with powers to excise oversight role over resources allocated to counties.
Governors have always opposed Senate amendments that are seen to be of benefit to common wananchi because their personal interest is conflict with that of the counties. Kenyans must and should support the Senate.