Despite the initial resistance to formation of a regional bloc by North Rift ward representatives, governors are confident the plan will improve livelihoods.
A March 30 meeting where an MoU for the Amaya Triangle initiative was to be signed ended in disarray when Baringo, Isiolo, Samburu and Laikipia ward representatives said they were in the dark concerning its contents.
Some said they had no idea what Amaya meant or how the name was coined.
“Most Members of County Assembly from the four counties do not know the objectives of the idea because we were not involved. We have no attachment to the bloc,” Mochongoi Ward Rep (Baringo) Kipruto Kimosop said.
However, the Amaya Triangle has already received Sh100 million from a foundation.
Among other economic ventures, the project involves modernising pastoralism through establishing feedlots, fodder preservation and synchronising development of water sources.
Governors Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Mohamed Kuti (Isiolo) and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) say they can lobby for more funds from the government and development partners as a team to achieve their goals.
“Our counties are rich in resources, especially livestock, which should be harnessed to spur development,” Mr Muriithi, the brainchild of the scheme, said.
A technical team with membership drawn from every region has been mandated to identify areas of common interest in the county integrated development plans and manifestos.
The plan also involves improving roads, learning institutions and other infrastructure and fostering peaceful co-existence.
It has attracted the interest of development partners such as the World Bank, DfiD, Commission for Revenue Allocation, United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organisation and the national government.
The four governors admit that the programme faces challenges, especially opposition from MCAs.
“It is true that public participation is of paramount importance. We’ve taken into consideration the concerns raised by MCAs,” Mr Muriithi said.
He called on the ward reps not to drag politics into the plan, which he said also aims at ending resource-based conflicts.
Mr Kiptis said the county bosses have agreed to sign a Memorandum Of Understanding on May 25 after another meeting aborted two weeks ago.
The governors had converged at Lake Bogoria Spa Resort in Baringo County to sign the pact but it was called off following the complains by MCAs.
The ward representatives demanded that the signing of the agreement be postponed until they are briefed on the contents.
“We are not opposed to a programme that will improve livelihoods but most MCAs have no idea what the plan contains as we were not involved from the start. We welcome the governors’ decision to accept public participation,” said Mochongoi ward (Baringo) MCA Kipruto Kimosop said on Saturday.
“We must be given time to present our views.”
Sosian Ward Rep (Laikipia) Jacob Edom said leaders should go back to the drawing board and consult locals.
“We do not want to be used as rubber stamps,” Mr Edom said.
Nominated MCA Francis Kibai told county bosses not to sideline MCAs when making decisions.
“They ask us to approve budgets for programmes at the assembly and that is why we must be involved,” Mr Kibai said.
Baringo North MP William Cheptumo sided with the ward representatives.
“We should be involved since we are also leaders,” Mr Cheptumo said.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi said the Amaya bloc would end rustling and banditry in the four counties.
“It is our responsibility as leaders to bring peace since our people want to prosper and live like other Kenyans,” he said.