On Wednesday, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho took his party leader’s cue and threw his weight behind a proposal to amend the constitution and create regional governments.
Joho has already indicated that his eyes are trained on the presidency come 2022, but his biggest obstacle to State House is not his competitor, Deputy President William Ruto but his boss Raila Odinga whose allies including Siaya Senator James Orengo have indicated that he would be on the ballot.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi who spoke shortly after Joho during the forum organised by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) at Pwani University in Mombasa also revealed that he fancies a three tier government structure as envisaged by the Bomas Draft.
The two governors spoke from the same script as Raila who during the Fifth Annual Devolution Conference in Kakamega County on April 25, 2018, called for a change in the devolution structure citing the need to make devolved units more potent saying that as it stands, counties are not economically viable.
“But there has been skeptism around this whole issue with most critics saying that we want to create positions for ourselves. We don’t live forever. We want to introduce this for the benefit of Kenyans,” said Joho while passionately making his case.
In what seems to be the official ODM position, Joho said introduction of another layer of government will enhance synergy between the executive and the counties, in the structure, counties will still maintain their 15% equitable share, the regional governments will get 30% while the national government will retain 55% of the revenue.
The regional heads would be in charge of the blocks while county governors would be answerable to them.
Kingi on the other hand wants the national government’s main function be restricted to foreign affairs and the defence of Kenya’s borders including policy matters.
“We propose that. Eighty percent of the national revenue shall be released to the regional governments while 20 percent will remain at the national level.” said Kingi.
Joho said that the regional government will have a specific mandate, however experts have dismissed this as a ploy to hand power to a few individuals.
Amani National Congress (ANC) Secretary General and political scientist Barrack Muluka has been especially critical over the proposal.
In an op-ed published on The Standard April 28, 2018 Muluka described the proposal as ‘a plan to dilute devolution and bloat the executive’.
Joho called for an executive with a president, deputy president, prime minister and two deputy prime ministers.
“They may be eight or 14 regions. There are short-term and long-term objectives here. The short-term goal is to win the support of second term governors, whose tenure ends in 2022. Creation of regional government will give them the opportunity for a fresh political wave of life,” read the article in part.
Joho’s proposal to have regional governments was contained in the Bomas Draft which mooted a parliamentary system with a Prime Minister as the Head of Government and the President as the Head of State.