President Kenyatta Backs Formation of Regional Blocs
Kenya could be headed for a three-tier system of government after President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday directed the Ministry of Devolution to harmonize policy on the formation of regional blocs.
While speaking during the inaugural Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) investment forum in Bomet County, the President noted that the move would provide alternative solutions to national harmony, dispute resolution, and economic growth.
“I expect that with such guidelines in place, counties will be able to deal with common vices such as cattle rustling and inter-community conflicts in areas such as the Suguta Valley and Kapedo, through a joint approach of information-sharing and reciprocity, which will go a long way in achieving meaningful development for Kenyans,” said President Kenyatta.
The call for the formation of economic was first supported by former Prime Minister Hon Raila Odinga, during the 5th devolution conference that was held earlier this year in Kakamega.
“The Bomas draft constitution divided Kenya into 14 regions each made up of several districts or counties. The intent was to create units with the size and population that made them economically viable,” Hon Odinga had stated, “I propose that we adopt a three-tier system that retains the current counties, creates regional or provincial governments and retains the national government with an apparent formula for revenue sharing.”
Unlike Hon Raila Odinga, the President has proposed the formation of six regional blocs giving assurance of a possible legal backing that has been missing.
The 47 county governments have so far formed blocs like the LREB, the Frontier Counties Development Council, North Rift Economic Bloc, Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani, South East Kenya Economic Bloc and the Mt Kenya Economic Bloc. The implementation of their activities has however been marred by lack of commitment to passing county laws that will provide for financing and participation.
The LREB, for instance, has seen its intention to form a regional bank dragged, with only three counties out of the fourteen members having ratified entries into the bloc. The three counties include Kakamega, Kisii, and Kisumu being the latest to endorse the membership.
The President further believes the legal backing would regulate how the bloc managed resource and infrastructure as well as dispute settlement mechanisms across county borders.
“It is important, as we go forward, to provide clear guidelines, a robust policy, legal and institutional frameworks for regional county integration; as well as form and operationalize county regional blocs that can support and deliver upon the regional integration goals, objectives, and outcomes,” said Uhuru.
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