Wednesday, 18 March 2015


Governor Sospeter Ojaamong;
Invited guests;
Thank you for giving me the chance to be part of this. I wish to congratulate you and our governors across the country for the work that is giving hope to our people.
The work you do here, and in many once forgotten places like Turkana, Tana River, Kwale, Mombasa, Wajir among others has restored hope in our people.
It is largely the reason our economy is holding firm despite the lack of clear direction at the national level.
As we gather here, it is mid- term of the Jubilee administration.
The general feeling is that the National Government has taken us midway to nowhere. Our people are placing their hopes on the county governments.
Initiatives like this forum make the future worth looking forward to. That is not to say County governments are perfect. In fact, a number are turning to be true duplicates of the wastage, corruption and lack of accountability that has long haunted the National Government.
That is why in recent day, CORD leadership has been forced to intervene in certain counties where voters are complaining of wastage, patronage and exclusion. While we stand by devolution, CORD will not protect and county government under its leadership that presides over graft and related ills.
This is why as a coalition we have taken the decision that all our governors must give a State of the County briefing to their constituents and file the report with the headquarters by June this year.
This will provide an opportunity to showcase what county governments in our control are doing for our people and for the people to audit the counties.
As pioneers, current County governments were always going to be judged by higher standards because of high expectations and decades of deferred dreams.
This is the reality they must live with and confront. We however have no option but to make Devolution succeed.
Success will be measured by the difference we make in people’s the lives.Investing wisely and getting your priorities right are therefore critical.
We need to build on the tremendous progress we have made and also learn from our mistakes by sharpening focus on creating jobs for the youth and investing in education and quality affordable healthcare.
It must be the aim of every governor to ensure his county leads the nation in economic competitiveness, access to quality health care and access roads connectivity to farms and markets.
These will in turn create a conducive environment for investors. We must also learn to create synergies by coming together as neighbouring counties so we can benefit from economies of scale.
Our governors in the Coast have pioneered this by forming the Commonwealth of Counties of the Coast. I congratulate them for the foresight.
I wish to see this spirit extended to western Kenya and beyond.
We have to make counties the new centres for job creation by providing opportunities for people to take charge of their future.
County Governments will create opportunities by removing unnecessary licensing requirements particularly for the small and Jua Kali sector traders who are actually the backbone of our economy.
Yes we must bring in the big manufacturers. But we must also accord protection to the mama mboga, the mama samaki, the mechanics, and the livestock traders, among others.
They must feel wanted and welcome by our county governments, after all, they are here to stay.
We must also go all out to look for investors. We live in a competitive environment.
Leaders cannot sit back and hope that investor will just show up at the door.
That is why I have made it my duty to help introduce our governors to potential investors abroad. I am glad the governor has taken this up with vigour.
It is important that we allow businesses, big or small, foreign or local, to compete on a level playing field, under the same rules.
County governments must set their priorities and stick to them.They must not be dragged into the National Government’s appetite for big tenders whose sole purpose is to create opportunities for kickbacks.
We have seen that lately, with equipment being forced on county governments.
Counties must pioneer Business Unusual by avoiding the old economics that made Kenya one of the most unequal societies on earth.
I want our governors to believe with me that as the economy grows, every citizen must reap the benefits.
There is no benefit whatsoever in being told that the economy is growing by seven or 10 per cent when a majority of our people are stuck in the same spot; when putting a meal on the table is getting harder, house rent, the prices of milk, unga and bread are all rising and more children are being sent home for lack of school fees.
Our county governments must go all out to invest in programs that eliminate extreme poverty especially in rural areas.
The CORD coalition stands for capitalism with a human face.
CORD governors must therefore pay particular attention to the people struggling at the bottom of the ladder. They are the reason we fought for Devolution.
We will work very closely with our governors to help them translate our manifesto into MAISHA BORA for our people.
CORD will continue pushing for more money to be brought down here, where the majority of our people live.
We will continue to push for clarity on the sharing of the proceeds of mineral resources between the National Government and the county governments.
Minerals and other natural resources like fish extracted from here must finance the human and physical development of the people living here.
They must finance the schools, roads, markets and hospitals here and help create jobs here.
That way, we shall end inequality in Kenya. Kenya must stop being two or three nations in one; where the economy grows for some while life gets desperate for others, where some regions have everything they need while others can barely access even basic necessities like roads.
That is why our push for a referendum cannot stop.
This is how Kenya will trace its way back to being the land our founding fathers dreamt of; a land of justice, unity and liberty.
We can only achieve this by sharing equitably and justly. County governments must be at the centre of this journey to the Kenyan dream.
Thank you. God Bless Busia.

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