The full extent and veracity of the simmering crisis amid threatened existence of the devolved units and the likely collapse of service delivery to Kenyan citizens and other residents has now become palpable after hapless battalion of 47 county bosses under the aegis of Council of Governors (CoG) have threatened of inevitable closure in two weeks’ time should the national government through the National Treasury make further delays in disbursing the allocation to the counties.
If the equally financially struggling administration of president William Ruto’s delays in advancing the constitutionally guaranteed county allocations and governors make good their threat, pundits contend that the dire situation could precipitate a constitutional crisis.
“The Council of Governors hereby issues a 14 days’ notice to shut down counties, if February, March and April arrears are not released within two weeks.” CoG chairperson and Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru said flanked by a host of other governors at CoG offices today.
In a definitive tone, Waiguru and her CoG deputy who also doubles as Wajir governor Abdullahi Ahmed, before the media briefing, they said they have “bad news to Kenyans.”
Waiguru said the National Treasury owes counties Sh94.35 billion despite several reminders without action by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u.
All the governors unanimously rallied together in a bipartisan approach to pour vitriol to the ruling Kenya Kwanza administration.
According to Waiguru, the national government had failed to disburse a total of Sh31.45 billion to all 47 counties in the month of February, Sh29.6 billion in March and 33.3 billion in April, all totalling to Sh94.35 billion, the longest delay witnessed since the inception of devolved units in 2013.
The governors lamented that the four-month funding delay negates the spirit of the governor’s recent meeting with President Ruto.
“The four-month delay is unprecedented in the history of devolution and negates the spirit of the meeting held in Naivasha between His Excellency the president and the governors.” Waiguru said after chairing a CoG meeting today.
They contend the national government has betrayed devolution.
This comes a week after Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua was met with a cold reception during the county governments consultative forum he held with deputy governors in Mombasa less than a fortnight ago.
In a show of throwing in the towel on the part of governors, Waiguru notified all Kenyans that due to the failure of the National Treasury to disburse the funds, county governments will not be able to deliver services as expected.
Also, last week, Senators voted against an additional allocation of Sh15billion to counties. Senate is the oversight body county governments charged with the responsibility of protecting devolution.