Eight County representatives meet to discuss devolution in Lodwar
The Devolution Permanent Secretary (PS), Micah Powon has said the success of devolution depended on the good working relationship between the National Government and devolved units.
Speaking on Thursday during a meeting with a team of Ambassadors, UN Heads of Mission and representatives from the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) on Thursday held at a Lodwar hotel, Powon commended the collaboration between the two levels of government, saying it was bearing fruit.
The FCDC, which was formed in 2016 brings together Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River, Wajir and Turkana Counties to ‘promote and strengthen inter-regional linkages to ensure the integrated viability of programs’. Turkana joined the bloc last December.
Host Governor, Josphat Nanok said the Turkana County Government had invested in the first term to move the region from the bottom tier of underdeveloped counties and aim to be at par with the rest.
County Governments under the frontier regional block have been asked to invest in sustainable projects that have long-term impacts.
Nanok said that it was time the eight counties under the Frontier Counties Development Council changed the narrative of a region that had long been associated with marginalisation, hunger and droughts.
The Governor said that devolved units would play a big role in achieving the National Government’s big four agenda- job creation, food security, provision of adequate health for all and increased shelter, with most of the roles under the agenda part of devolved functions.
He said Turkana had the potential to not only achieve food security for its residents but also be a food basket for the region.
“Turkana has the largest population of livestock but nothing much has been done to exploit this sector that will have a huge impact. We need to intensify irrigation agriculture for food production and pasture by utilising the massive underground water sources here and especially if a solution is found for the saline water of Lotikipi plains,” he said.
The Governor announced that County Governments had pledged to work with the National Government and assured that there would be no acrimony in disbursement of County funds from the National Treasury.
The Swedish Ambassador to Kenya, Anna Jardfelt congratulated the Governor for pushing for national dialogue under the Council of Governors at a time he said the country was in need of dialogue and reconciliation.
The UNDP Resident Coordinator in Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee said economic advancement witnessed in Turkana meant that the region was undergoing its ‘moment of take-off’.
He called for more investment to tackle youth unemployment which he said remained a huge problem for the frontier counties.
The delegation had earlier toured the Lodwar Vocational and Training Institute for inspection of completed projects.
The meeting was also attended by senior County government officials led by County Secretary, Peter Eripete and a host of County Executives and Chief Officers.
By Peter Gitonga