Waiguru reiterates calls for County Assemblies’ autonomy and better remuneration for MCAs as Devolution Conference ends

The Council of Governors (COG) Chair, Anne Waiguru, has reiterated her call  for the autonomy of County Assemblies in order to enable them implement their mandate more effectively and efficiently.

She said there was a unanimous agreement during the devolution Conference on a need to give the county assemblies financial autonomy so as to strengthen their role in oversighting the executive.

Waiguru said President William Ruto and the Senate through Speaker Amason Kingi had committed to help in fast tracking enactment of necessary legislation to ensure financial independence of the members of the county assemblies.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the Devolution Conference in Eldoret yesterday, the Kirinyaga Governor further said that the President’s commitment in transferring all the functions and resources to counties within 60 days and timely disbursement of funds to counties would enable the county governments implement their budgets without delays and thus unlock their economic potential.

She also noted that the devolution conference had demonstrated that it is a reality in Kenya today that nobody, whether in the public or private sector, can do anything outside the context of devolution, hence the need for all players to understand the new governance framework in Kenya today.

She reiterated the County Governments’ commitment to making devolution work by working hand in hand with respective County Assemblies.

At the same time she has called for better remuneration for the Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs) arguing that they are bestowed with huge responsibilities that are not proportional to their remuneration.

Speaking during the official opening of 2023 Devolution Conference held in Eldoret, Waiguru who is also the governor of Kirinyaga County said that County Assemblies are often disregarded and overlooked in the discourse around Devolution, County Governments and development. She noted that all the achievements of devolution would be unattainable without their indulgence.

“In the wisdom of hindsight and experience we should accord them their rightful place, as the load-bearing beams and pivoting pillars, in our development objectives. We achieve this by first accepting their autonomy, and formally safeguarding their functional welfare, within the parameters already provided”, Said Waiguru.

She told the President William Ruto that as the government strives to excel from the bottom up, County Assemblies are the footprint of government for mwananchi. “Their community obligations are not sufficiently captured in their job descriptions, yet their remuneration has been reduced. I know, Your Excellency, if you say just one word because you are wise, kind, and long-sighted, your resolve is all that is required” Waiguru pleaded.

Amid a loud of applause from hundreds of MCAs at the conference, Waiguru noted that it was unfortunate that the current assemblies have had to do with a pay cut down from what their predecessors received, noting that an improved remuneration would not go beyond the budget ceiling set for the assemblies.

In response, President Ruto promised that his government will work the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and all other relevant institutions to ensure that remuneration is harmonized across all cadres of government workers. “From the President to the office assistants we all serve the same country and have related needs and therefore the pay must reflect that we all serve the same people.” Said the president who officially opened the conference.

The COG Chair said that reflections during the three days conference had taken a holistic assessment of the performance of County Governments in the last 10 years, bearing in mind that Counties are key drivers for development through the realization of the promise of devolution.

“It is apparent that the face of Kenya has radically transformed positively because of devolution and that citizens have been able to access public services closer to them. Major changes were highlighted in the sectors of health, agriculture, transport and infrastructure, housing and urban development, industry and investment, youth, early childhood development among others.”, said Waiguru, noting that the reflections also revealed the challenges that have bedeviled devolution since its inception and recommendations were made on measures to address them as the country begins a new decade under devolution.

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