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April 19 - 25, 2013

 

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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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President Uhuru Kenyatta vows to make devolution success

It is our responsibility to support devolution as stipulated in the Constitution, a Constitution we swore to protect and defend
 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on Thursday vowed to fully carry out the Constitution and make devolution success.

Speaking in Nairobi during a meeting with governors from the 47 counties, both Kenyatta and Ruto said they have a clear focus on devolution and what it means to the people of Kenya.

“Just as I said during my inauguration, devolution is not a choice but our civic duty to ensure we support it to the fullest. It is our responsibility to support devolution as stipulated in the Constitution, a Constitution we swore to protect and defend,” Kenyatta said.

The new system, under the new Constitution, is geared towards involving the people in governance by giving them chance to actively engage in law making, and also allows better supervision and better implementation of the projects at the grassroots.

Government officials say the constitution, born of the post- election chaos of 2008, and the devolution project embedded in it is a direct attempt to address the underlying causes of that conflict.

The devolved government is meant to defuse the inequities that have undermined national cohesion, and to prevent the concentration (and confiscation) of power by ruling factions.

President Kenyatta called on the 47 governors to work together with them in ensuring that devolution succeeds and the expectations of Kenyans are met.

The president particularly pointed out that when the Constitution was passed, Kenyans expected the issues of exclusion and lack of popular participation in decision making would never arise again.

He added that Kenyans also expected that the issue of service delivery will be much smoother and more effective.

“Those expectations are still there so people are really looking up to you with a lot of hope and expectations,” Kenyatta told the governors.

President Kenyatta emphasized that the elected leaders at the two distinct county and national levels should work together in the best interest of the people of Kenya.

“That is why the first meeting we are having with any elected representatives is with you as a sign of our commitment to devolution,” he said.

He, therefore, urged the governors to work with the executive in ensuring that the Kenyan dream is realized.

“Let us please work together so that we ensure we deliver to the people of this republic. Let us not be seen as if we are not working together,” he said.

Many Kenyans have expressed hope that devolution will boost interaction between the government and local communities to address misuse of resources like forests, minerals and wildlife.

They said there will be abundant resources in the 47 counties including sand, honey, coal and limestone and only hope that these counties will have clear plans on how to exploit these resources for the benefit of everyone.

The county government includes a country assembly and executive committees led by governors who are directly elected.

The executive administration is charged with the responsibility of exercising executive power, implementing laws for administration of the county as well as carrying out other executive functions of the county.

Members of the county assemblies and a Speaker will have powers to enact laws for effective performance at the county level, act as an oversight instrument on the county executive committee and receive, approve plans and policies for smooth operation and management of resources and county institutions.

Noting that there will be teething problems, Kenyatta said the hiccups should not be interpreted as attempts to derail devolution. “Let us understand that we will have problems but we are committed to working together in resolving those problems and ensuring devolution succeeds,” he said.

Kenyatta acknowledged that legal structures are in place, Kenyatta said those structures should not interfere with devolution.

President Kenyatta also encouraged the governors not to wait until things go wrong for them to meet him and his deputy but rather call for meetings whenever necessary.

Deputy President Ruto said he and the President participated in the formulation of the Constitution at all stages both in the ninth and 10th Parliament and are fully committed to its implementation.

Ruto particularly said he and the President will always work towards ensuring that devolution succeeds. “The one thing that we are not going to do is to fail. We must do whatever it takes to ensure devolution succeeds,” Ruto said.

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