Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and civil society organizations in the county on Wednesday differed over the levels of government that Kenya should have.
While Joho proposed the creation of a three-tier government to add to the national and county governments, the CSOs led by Haki Africa said this will be an unnecessary extra burden to Kenyans.
Joho said Kenyans want to go back to the Bomas Draft Constitution which had proposed 12 regional governments, and the retention of the 47 county governments.
“There is no harm in creating a third tier of government which can be allocated 30 per cent of the national revenue and the counties remain with the 15 per cent and the national government will have 55 per cent,” Joho split.
He spoke at the School of Government in Mombasa on Wednesday where the Building Bridges team held a forum to collect views from Mombasa residents.
Haki Africa’s Hussein Khalid said though devolution has done more for otherwise forgotten places in the country than the national government would have, there is no need for an additional tier of government.
“Two are enough,” he said.
He noted already the two tiers have seen Kenyans overburdened with tax as both the national and the county government want to collect levies from their residents.
Khalid said the number of counties should also be reduced to 10 from the current 47.
“47 counties are too much. They take a lot of wages,” the human rights activist told the Building Bridges team.
He said the former eight provinces can be reintroduced but have the vast Rift Valley and Eastern provinces divided into regions each.
“We only need 10 governors,” said Khalid.
Haki Africa also wants the number of National Assembly members reduced to a maximum of 150 from the current 349.
Khalid said each of the 10 counties can have between 10 and 15 constituencies with the pay perk for the MPs halved.
However, the two agreed that the Senate should be made the proper Upper House in Parliament with the final say in matters affecting counties.
“For effective governance, the Senate should be the proper Upper House,” Joho said.
Khalid noted: “For devolution to work, then the Senate needs to be more powerful.”
Nacada director Farida Tall echoed Joho and Khalid’s sentiments on the need to have inequalities, historical injustices, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances addressed through the Constitution.
“Jobs are being taken away from the people of the Coast leading to feelings of oppression among the residents. This must be addressed through the Constitution,” Rashid said.
Khalid said over 100 people at the Coast have been killed by police in the last two years while over 28 others have been disappeared.