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Kenyans want more counties, says Governor

27 January 2014, 10:49 Dareel Eric

Vihiga - Plans to reduce the number of counties from the current 47 to 14 will fail terribly with Kenyans voting for their increase if they are subjected to a referendum, Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga said.

Akaranga noted that the MP who is proposing for counties to be reduced (Joe Mutambu of Mwingi central) has not felt the wrath of Kenyans who really want devolution at all costs.

“Perhaps the person who proposed this Bill is not living in Kenya. If he was, his judgement could have been better. Or maybe he does not know what devolution means to the Kenyans,” Akaranga said.

Mutambu is set to table a proposal that seeks to reduce the number of counties from 47 to 14 because of the high cost of running them.

Akaranga noted that Kenyans would refuse the Bill at all costs if it goes through parliament and senate, gets presidential assent, prompting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to go for a referendum.

“I will not be surprised if the people will vote overwhelmingly for the increase of counties from 47 to even 90. People are seeing the benefits of devolution and there is no way that an individual can prompt them to reduce the number of counties. Right now, all the constituencies in the country wish they were separate counties,” he said.

Akaranga asked the MPs to give devolution time so that it can establish its roots in the country for the benefit of the poor Kenyans who have been victims of unequal distribution of resources since independence.

He said that although there abounds many challenges that have overwhelmed County governments, it was mandatory for MPs to support the governors’ cause, instead of fueling Kenyans on the ground.

“Many Kenyans have not understood how devolution works. If we keep on inflaming them about non-existent things, it will not be good in the long run. People should know that no child starts walking immediately it is born,” he said.

Akaranga said that counties were employing as per the constitutional offices and that there were no ghost offices being created that fleece the general public of its funds and raise the wage bill.

He said that even the national government is feeling the heat of the rising wage bill and there was no way the County governments could escape the hurt.

“So far, we have only employed those people whom the constitution allows us to employ. We cannot just create offices where they are not supposed to be created,” he said.

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