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DP William Ruto opposes plan to merge counties



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Deputy President William Ruto has opposed the proposed merger of counties, saying the move would take Kenya backwards.

Addressing the public Tuesday at Pate in Lamu East where he opened the first girls high school in the area, Mr Ruto said Kenyans made a decision to have a decentralised system of government, and discussions on the folding of some counties would not be supported.

“We are focused on making devolution work better by channelling more resources to counties. We cannot fault devolution so that we go back to a centralised system of government,” he said.

The DP was accompanied by at least 15 coast MPs during the one day tour to the region.

Speaking in the same function, Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori noted that devolution had opened up even the remotest parts of Kenya, and any suggestion to merge counties would be injurious to the public.

Mr Dori said leaders need to put their energies into ensuring devolution works rather than fighting it.

Several MPs among them Stanley Muthama (Lamu West), Shariff Athman (Lamu East), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Kassim Ali Sawa (Matuga), Jones Mlolwa (Voi) and Michael Kingi (Magarini) said they will oppose any move to take Kenya back to an “old system of governance that had centralised resources in Nairobi.”

Other leaders who accompanied the Deputy President were Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Ali Wario (Bura), Charles Kanyi (Starehe), Paul Katana (Kaloleni), Ben Tayari (Kinango), Gertrude Mbeyu (Women Rep, Kilifi), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Ruweida Obbo (Women Rep, Lamu) and Anwar Loitiptip (Lamu Senator).

The politicians said they did not back plans to reduce the number of MCAs as being proposed by some leaders.

Ms Jumwa said there was need for all the constituencies and the 47 counties to remain intact.

She added that there is need for the country to implement the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report for Kenyans to be united.

“If we want to build bridges in this country, land problems should be addressed first starting with the coastal region which we feel is the most vulnerable,” said Ms Jumwa.

Mr Dori said implementing the TJRC report would greatly help resolve the perpetual land problems in the region.

Bura MP Ali Wario said if Kenya must undergo the much-talked about constitutional review, then the land issues in the country, particularly the coastal region, should be given prominence.

By resolving land problems, the leaders said, ownership of the critical factor of production would enable individuals to access capital from financial institutions to support their businesses.

The leaders urged Kenyans not to support the ‘handshake’ if it segregates against them

The Deputy President also asked the Ministry of Environment to lift the ban on mangrove harvesting.

He, however, urged the ministry and residents to ensure that the harvesting is done in a sustainable manner.

Mr Ruto later held a public baraza at Umoja Primary School in Lamu West Constituency where he said that the government was committed to boosting the living standards of every Kenyan.