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CJ warns County Govts against promoting ethnicity

24 March 2014, 16:48 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has cautioned county governments against promoting ethnicity and urged them to be in forefront of enhancing nationhood in order to realize the fruits of devolution that entail equitable distribution of power and resources.

Mutunga said that the county governments’ reflection on achieving the country’s nationhood vision is envisaged in the 2010 Constitution’s provisions of making devolution a success.

“It has been designed not to fragment the country, but rather to foster national unity by recognizing diversity. Yet, because it deposes a system of control, dominance and authority established by the colonial powers and subsequently perpetuated by successive post-independence administrations, it will have enemies – few but powerful and cunning,” said Mutunga in the press release to media houses.

“The success of devolution cannot be guaranteed if vigilance at the individual and institutional level flags. In this patriotic struggle the County Assemblies become our great foot soldiers,” he added.

He stated that whereas 50 years of centralized government has not worked, there is no guarantee that devolution will work unless county governments play their part to make it achievable.

“The failure of devolution and the failure of centralized government will only mean one thing: a shameful indictment on the leadership of this country. That we as a people are incapable of governing ourselves – that we cannot manage the public sphere. This is a badge of dishonor I would be loathe to wear, and so should you,” stated Mutunga.

The CJ also noted that the attainment of long fought for devolution through struggle, sweat, blood and tears should not be an excuse for counties to create pure ethnic enclaves but rather an opportunity for accelerated national development from the grassroots.

“County governments should be competing to attract the best of professionals regardless of their ethnic identity rather than victimizing non-locals,” noted Mutunga.

He noted that as the Judiciary’s president, he is constitutionally obligated to set up a High Court in every county and explained that this will only be achieved with counties’ full support.  

“Let me express the profoundest gratitude to those county governments, with the support of their respective legislatures that have provided land for the establishment of courts. Because of competing demands on the public purse, the Judiciary will not always be able to expand as rapidly as it desires,” said the CJ

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