Shadow Ministry of Devolution and ASAL areas

Mandate

This policy statement is drafted to establish an effective, accountable and transparent framework for the shadow Cabinet Secretary to effectively monitor and shadow the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and ASAL areas, Mr. Eugene Wamalwa and the entire ministry as we embark on our responsibility of checking the government.

Scope

This policy is prepared for the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and ASAL areas and will be presented to the party secretariat for further deliberations and guidance. The policy is to be used in monitoring the government and offer alternatives. This is not the official government of Kenya brief.

Departments in the Ministry

This ministry is divided into two distinct departments:

  1. Department of Devolution      
  2. Department of ASAL areas

Jubilee Manifesto points on Devolution.

  1. Embark on a deliberate effort to harness the potential of each of our counties to distribute economic growth and jobs across the country. We will implement a one - county -one- product program to promote development of industries in each county based on products and resource potential that are unique to each county.
  2. Develop industrial clusters covering several counties which will be based on dominant economic activities in a group of counties.
  3. Work with county governments to strengthen public service delivery at the county level. We will rationalize the human resource function, training, recruitment and deployment and entrench greater fiscal discipline in public finance management.
  4. Set aside approximately 1% of research and development funds to document lessons and best practices from the counties to inform management, capacity building, budgeting and planning. This will complement The County Hall of Fame enacted into law in 2014 to recognize excellence and professionalism.
  5. Build a stronger framework for inter-governmental cooperation by strengthening the Inter-governmental Technical Relations Committee to resolve any challenges that emerge.
  6. Together with the County Governments, review all the existing legal instruments to address any gaps that hinder service delivery to the people of Kenya.
  7. Strengthen devolution by implementing a structured system of conditional grants to enable county governments to enhance their capacity to raise their own revenues, drive investment to national priority areas and strengthen their organizational capabilities.

Jubilee Manifesto on ASAL areas

  1. Double the number of vulnerable citizens supported through the cash transfer program (Inua Jamii) from 700,000 to 1,400,000. This will include all citizens above the age of 70; in addition, all citizens above the age of 70 will obtain health insurance cover through the NHIF. 
  2. Expand food and agricultural production, double the fertilizer subsidy initiative, reducing the cost to farmers to less than Ksh. 1,500. Expand the program to include all crops with a resultant increase in production and support the expansion and capacity of local fertilizer manufacture.
  3. Complete the 57-large-scale dam construction program, support small-holder agricultural irrigation and work with the private sector to enhance food and agricultural production on at least 1.2 million acres.
  4. Major progress in improving food security by expanding the acreage under irrigation from 395,000 acres in 2013 to 500,000 acres in 2016. This includes the development of 4,000 acres in the Galana Kulalu where the 2,000 acres pilot project planted with maize is providing a yield of 39 bags per acre compared to an average of 10 bags per acre for non-irrigated farms

Shortfalls of the Jubilee manifesto

  1. According to Treasury CS, Henry Rotich, the country’s budget is currently underfunded, and even the second Euro Bond cannot sustain the financial needs of the counties. He proposes that the countys’ budget be cut by between kSh.15BN-ksh.18BN, this will affect the running of the counties and may end up stifling the counties of the much-needed funds that are meant to enable devolution work fluidly.
  2. Pilferage of funds. According to the Auditor General, the Ministry of Devolution and ASAL areas cannot account for more than ksh. 14BN for the financial year 2016/2017. Most of the funds were disbursed to cushion the country from the current drought afflicting a huge number of Kenyans, with more that 4.3 million Kenyans in need of food, according to Red cross.
  3. Lack of proper communication and planning between the ministry and the farmers on the ground. While many Kenyans are faced with threats of starvation, it is evident that the silos in Eldoret, Kenya’s bread basket, are full and more than 90,000 sacks of maize cannot be absorbed into the silos.
  4. According to H.E Eugene Wamalwa during his interview on Citizen TV two weeks ago, less than a quarter of the Galana Kulalu project has been cultivated for irrigation. Additionally, the much awaited dams under construction will only be ready in 2022. This spells doom for many Kenyans who will have to go through starvation and lack of water for another 5 years until this issue is sorted.
  5. Lack of commitment from the NASA elected governors in implementing Jubilee party’s agenda. This may affect the implementation and hence deny the citizens in those counties the benefits that could be enjoyed from the same.

Our Approach

  1. It’s true, our budget is under-funded and taking additional debts do not cure the problem, but instead, it’s transfer it to the future generations. We do not subscribe to this school of thought and instead, we are proposing interventions that are aimed at cutting our national government’s wage bill. Our “Reduce Parliament” initiative is one such intervention through which we are seeking a referendum to reduce the number of representatives from the current 435 members to 194 members. This will see our parliamentary wage bill reduce to ksh. 5BN. The money saved can be channeled to the counties to strengthen our counties.
  2. Corruption is the biggest monster bedeviling our country. Kenya loses an insurmountable amount of money yearly due to corruption. This has to stop! We are proposing huge penalties to be imposed on anyone found guilty of corruption to act as a deterrence to anyone who may want to engage in corrupt activities. Additionally, the government should speed up the process of recovering any stolen assets so that they can be channeled back to the government coffers.
  3. There should be proper communication within and without the ministries. This will encourage efficiency, especially, in reducing the effects of brought and starvation. The issue of maize lacking silos for storage when innocent Kenyans are starving is really disheartening.
  4. The construction of dams and cultivation of the Galana Kulalu irrigation project should be hastened to shelve Kenyans from future drought-related issues. The ministry should approach a proactive approach unlike a reactive one. Prevention is always better than cure.
  5. There has to be dialogue between the national government and the county government, if the government wants to achieve their “Big Four” agenda.

Conclusion

The government, as always, has very great plans on how to make devolution work and also make he ASAL areas better than they have been, but, as long as the execution is not properly supervised, they will remain dreams like they have always been. Successive governments have always planned but never executed. We seek to keep the government monitored and raise issues and concerns as they come due. We will also engage the government in constructive discussions to come up with better ideas on how to make Kenya move forward.

God bless you and God bless the Republic of Kenya.

Cyprian Ongeri Nyambane,

Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Devolution and ASAL areas.