By Calvin Osiemo
The newly elected Council of Governors Chair Peter Munya has vowed to move on with the fight for devolution started by his predecessor Bomet County Governor Isaac Ruto. The Meru Governor won the tightly contested race for chairmanship after defeating Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya. Salim Mvurya accepted defeat after the governors unanimously agreed to let him retain the Vice Chairmanship position while Oparanya stepped down after he was offered the Chairmanship of the Governor’s Council finance committee.
The governors had conducted several meetings prior to the election in order to ensure they are not divided along political party lines. Giving his acceptance speech at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi, Munya promised to deliver to his best based on the foundation the former chair Isaac Ruto had laid.
“Today I accept with humility the confidence the Council has dedicated in electing me to this important position. We all know the underlying values and beliefs of the council. We will carry on as the outgoing officials have done. I pay tribute to Isaac Ruto who has laid the foundation for the council.” said Mr. Munya
The Meru Governor who has been chairing the Council legal committee said that he will champion the devolution process and maintaining that the ‘Pesa Mashinani’ initiative is still on. He asked the government to speed up devolving the functions that should be under the county government as stated in the constitution.
“Resources meant to maintain all roads are being managed by the national government and Members of Parliament at the exclusion of county governments. You can delay the transfer of functions but you cannot refuse to transfer them,” Mr. Munya said.
The outgoing chairman Mr. Isaac Ruto told Mr. Munya to ensure that pace he has set for the crucial devolution organ should not go down but instead raise the bar higher. Mr. Ruto also promised to soldier on with his support for the ‘Pesa Mashinani’ initiative which seeks to increase the funding for county governments.
“I want to tell our new chairman that you must maintain or increase the pace. You are not allowed to reduce the pace. As I hand over I am convinced that the new chairman will continue to champion our interest so that we can achieve our mission as devolved governments.” Ruto said.
Mr. Munya seems to have followed his predecessor’s path by refusing to join the newly formed Jubilee Alliance Party headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. Isaac Ruto has been on the loggerheads with his mother party URP over what he has been terming as dictatorial tendencies displayed by the party’s leadership under Deputy President William Ruto.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has said the Judiciary is in the process of posting judges to the 47 counties in the country to ensure enhanced service delivery and arbitration of issues concerned with devolution. Mutunga called upon the governors to ensure that they take advantage of the situation and ensure that devolution succeeds.
“You have to make devolution work. Devolution is the embodiment of hope in our country,” he said.