Governor highlights challenges facing devolution in Garissa County

The Al-Shabaab menace, lack of employment opportunities for the youth and loss of livelihood for the herders have been cited as challenges facing devolution in Garissa County.

The Governor Ali Korane said Al-Shabaab menace that has persisted for the last seven years had scared away potential investors and continue to be a threat now and in future.

Korane said despite the county boasting of over 400 kms of river Tana water frontage and reliable underground water, security remains a major concern.

He said no investor can put money in a project like irrigated agriculture without being guaranteed security.

If insecurity can make you lose your investment, then no one can come here, he said.

Korane was speaking at a Garissa hotel when he met the Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Ralf Heckner and a delegation of UN implementing agencies representatives led by their resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee on Wednesday.

He said his administration was ready to engage the donor community in bridging the budget deficit on programmes aimed at uplifting the well-being of area residents.

Korane added that the persistent recurring drought that is now an annual phenomenon has created a group of destitute herders who have no alternative sources of livelihood.

As people lose their sources of livelihoods and in the absence of alternative sources of income, our people have settled in poverty riddled villages that have no social infrastructure, no water no school.

They are permanent dependant on food handouts from the government or donors, he said.

The governor said his administration will target the groups in finding alternative sources of livelihood for them.

The governor attributed the massive environment degradation by the over 600,000 refugees in Dadaab camps where the Kenyan government has been hosting for the past 27 years to diminishing rainfall.

The Devolution Principal Secretary (PS), Michael Bowen said the national government was committed to ensuring that devolution works in the country.

Bowen said the national government has released over sh. 1 trillion to the counties and the figure is set to increase.

He said a total of sh. 368 billion will soon be released to the counties by the national government.

The PS said the Jubilee administrations consideration of the uniqueness of Northern Kenya underpinned the creation of a state department for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands area.

The Swiss ambassador on his part hailed devolution, saying it’s behind the turnaround of the country’s economy.

He said Switzerland was ready to work with the counties to promote devolution.

The delegation that has already toured Lamu County will also tour Wajir, Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River and Mandera counties that are members of the regional economic bloc.

The bloc main aim is to enhance and realise development goals for the 7 frontier ASAL counties.

Source: Kenya News Agency