The fifth National and County Government Co-ordinating summit kicked off on Wednesday at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri with 15 out of the 47 county governors skipping the event.
The two-day summit, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, seeks to review achievements made under the devolved system of government with special focus on various reports by the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council, the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee and reports on Public finance management.
The summit, is running under the theme ‘Celebrating the Transformation’ and will serve as a time to reflect on the progress made over the last few years while assessing the challenges that impede the efficient operationalisation of devolution.
Speaking during the opening of the event, President Kenyatta said devolution is aimed at enhancing development in regions that are far from the nation’s capital, Nairobi.
“The system has had its challenges, but which healthy young child does not have some bruises to show,” President Kenyatta posed.
“We are here in Sagana to make certain that Nyeri, as well as every County in the country enjoys the full promise of devolution and that means development driven by decisions made at the grassroots. We want to bring devolution, that healthy young child, to a mature and prosperous adulthood,” he added.
The summit will discuss several reports on public finance management including laws on double taxation, the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and funds flow and oversight for conditional grants.
According to a statement from PSCU, the fifteen governors were absent with apology, though reports indicate that Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho had made it clear that they will not attend the event.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachangua, Turkana Governor Joseph Nanok, Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama, and Kilifi Amason Kingi were all absent.
Others are Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Joseph Ndathi (Kirinyaga), Okoth Obado (Migori), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Godana Doyo (Isiolo), Julius Malombe (Kitui) and Tharaka Nithi Governor Samuel Mbae.
Governor Ruto spend the day campaigning for Andrew Martim who is gunning for the Nyongores Member of County Assembly position ahead of Friday 12th by-election.
Among those present was Meru Governor Peter Munya who is also the Council of Governors chair.
Governor Munya said he expected discussions to feature finances, including conditional grants such as funding for the national government’s free maternity programme, as well as the roads network.
The summit is set to receive and discuss reports on conditional grants from the national government to the counties in health sector, free maternity health care, health equipment and several other reports on health services.
The Transitional Authority will also get an opportunity to present a report on the transfer of devolved functions before the end of the transition period as well as another report on the verification of assets and liabilities of the defunct local authorities.
On Thursday, the session will be dedicated to celebrating the successes of devolution and will include presentations by the Presidential Delivery Unit and the Council of Governors Secretariat. It will be capped by an address to the nation by the President, on the subject of Devolution.