Former Prime Minister and ODM leader Raila Odinga while speaking at the sixth Devolution Conference on Wednesday urged governors to establish a three-tier system of governance by the formation of regional governments due to the fact that counties are too small to raise funds for major projects on their own.
Odinga was adamant that some counties under the countries devolution system were uncompetitive on the grounds of population size and other relevant factors.
In comparison to the situation in those specific counties, the former prime minister indicated that regional governments would perform better as more economically viable units.
“One of the facts we’re dealing with but hardly acknowledge is that a number of our counties as they are today are too tiny to compete and to marshal internal and external resources for development,” he asserted.
Raila urged the governors to take advantage of the impending constitutional referendum to implement the changes.
“The creation of regional blocs is a logical response to dealing with the problem of economies of scale in enhancing the potential for development of counties. Council of Governors should robustly consider and debate the need to formalize regionalism,” he added.
Raila was also confident that there was a need for the regional governments since counties have so far demonstrated efforts of the establishment of regional economic development blocs.
He also implored the governors to observe that the establishment of the regional blocs will not affect the existence of the 47 county governments saying they will coexist with the regional ones.
“Formalisation of regionalism will not necessarily mean dismantling the counties as they are today. We have such a system in the US and some African countries and therefore nobody should stifle this debate for fear of change or merely political expedience,” the former premier communicated.
The ODM party leader also called for the formulation of clear policy guidelines for involvement of the counties in implementing the Big Four agenda on food security, affordable housing, universal health coverage and manufacturing.
The former premier initially aired his propositions in last year’s Devolution Conference in Kakamega, which were quickly opposed by Deputy President William Ruto.