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Governors demand full devolution of Urbanization functions

03 November 2015, 11:05 Arap yego

Nairobi - Governors want the national government to let the devolved units to be fully in charge of the urbanization function as stipulated in the constitution.

Council of Governors (CoG) Urban Development Committee chair, Julius Malombe on Monday decried the reluctance of the national government to let go of some key functions related to urbanization, noting that the move is to blame for the slow growth and development of urban centres across the country.

Speaking during an Executive Urban Leadership Conference for Governors and other stakeholders at the UN headquarters in Gigiri, Dr Malombe said county governments should be left to take full charge of the urban areas under their jurisdictions as per the law.

"The partial transfer of functions from the national government has seen key functions like the classification and management of urban areas still remain under the Ministry of Lands, which should not be the case," he said.

"According to the Urban Areas and Cities Act enacted in 2011, almost all the responsibilities of urban development and planning have been assigned to the county governments," said the Kitui Governor.

Read Also: CORD afraid of 2017 elections, says Duale

Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Okoth Obado (Migori), David Nkedianye (Kajiado) and Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru), John Mruttu (Taita Taveta) and Josphat Nanok (Turkana) attended the function.

Oparanya, who is also the CoG Finance Committee Chair said urbanization is part of the pillars of Vision 2030 and emphasized that the county governments should be left to fully take charge of the urban centers for the dream to be achieved.

Oparanya pointed that counties at the moment cannot directly work with international development partners to develop their towns and urban centers and called for the amendment of the law.

"Before devolution, Kakamega which was a municipality then but has been downgraded to a town now, had a lot of partnerships with municipalities from overseas, but now I find myself locked out because we are not a municipality," explained Oparanya.

UN-Habitat and the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) were the conveners of the conference, which was also  attended by a number of County Executive in charge of Lands and Urban Planning from across the country.

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