UNDP pledges support for counties in ensuring devolved units succeed

International development partners have pledged their continued support for counties to make devolution successful.

United Nations Development Programme resident representative Michel Balima said the system has improved the livelihood of millions of Kenyans at the grassroots.

“Devolution has brought hope for a better future through devolved governance and development partners stand willing and able to partner with counties and national governments to address devolution challenges and issues as well as ensure the hopes and aspirations of Kenyans are realised,” he said.

Mr Balima spoke Wednesday during the opening of the third annual devolution conference at the Meru National Polytechnic.

The UNDP official also called for more involvement of women in development matters, saying there is no development without women.

The youth and persons living with disabilities, he added, should also be involved in order to realise Sustainable Development Goals to alleviate poverty, fight inequality and injustice in the counties.

Mr Balima said the 2017 General Election would be a litmus test for devolution because it would highlight successes and challenges of the governance system.

He said elections were a “special moment” in the life and history of a country and are crucial in entrenching its development agenda.

Council of Governors vice chairman Salim Mvurya said a number of functions had been transferred to counties but are yet to be funded.

Mr Mvurya, the Kwale governor, pushed for better funding of the Intergovernmental Technical Relations Committee which took over the roles of the Transition Authority.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro said the Upper House is “the guiding angel of devolution” and called for better working relations between all arms of government to ensure Kenyans benefit from the system.

“Devolution is a game changer and some of counties that never believed to be part of Kenya can now say they are,” he said.

The Senate Speaker asked all leaders in the “devolution family” to unite and ensure the system works in favour of all Kenyans.