– Cord leader Raila Odinga delivered a strong message to governors as he presided over the official closing of the third annual devolution conference in Meru County
– The opposition chief maintained his long-held view that devolution is the only way that Kenya will achieve equitable growth
Cord leader Raila Odinga received a standing ovation as he rose to address delegates at the close of the Third Annual Devolution conference in Meru County on Friday.
Delegates, who had not been attending most of the earlier sessions at the plenary, thronged the mega tent to listen to Mr Odinga’s remarks at the close of the conference.
The Cord leader took a swipe at what he termed powerful enemies of devolution, which he said has transformed the country and improved service delivery.
However, Mr Odinga, who had little praise for the devolved units, said some counties were being used as conduits of corruption by the National Government.
“I am an unapologetic believer of devolution and I am not ashamed of it. I want to assure all of you that devolution is here to stay. Devolution is a baby we have to nurse and baby sit to maturity despite its deformities, ”Mr Odinga said.
He added, “The enemies of devolution are trying to stop it while the devolved system of government is the right road to development. The National Government should allow counties to deal collectively with the devolved functions.”
He challenged governors to put their treasury departments in order amid feelings that the devolved units have become the new centers of corruption.
This could have been an apparent reference to the numerous cases of outright ridiculous expenditures recorded by some county governments like the KSh 1.2 million paid to open a Facebook account.
“If reports by the ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission are to be believed, almost every county has flouted tender rules and violate staffing guidelines,” said the ODM leader.
He called on county governments to tackle cases of nepotism,favouritsm and marginalisation.