Raila Revives Push to Create Regional Governments [VIDEO]

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    ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses the media in Kisumu County on Friday, August 14, 2020
  • Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga was on Tuesday, August 25 interviewed as part of an ongoing series marking 10 years since the promulgation of the Constitution.

    Among other things, Raila discussed his proposal to create a third tier of government, an idea he introduced in 2018 before talks on the matter fizzled out.

    Questioned on why he had seemingly abandoned the push, Raila maintained that he remained in support of introducing regional units, preferably 14, that would perform purely administrative functions.

    He revealed that despite most Governors backing the plan in private, they were afraid to openly discuss it for fear of backlash over what some consider an added burden on the taxpayer.

    ODM leader Raila Odinga alights from a helicopter at a past event

    "Don't you see the Governors themselves have recognized that the counties are too tiny? That's why they have created the regional blocs.

    "Nobody has got the courage to come and say let us create another level because the opponents of effective governance, who are populists, will come and say you are creating more centers of consumption that is going to be too expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth," he asserted.

    Raila cited the creation of regional blocs such as the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) and Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani, stating that Governors wanted them enshrined in the Constitution.

    "I would prefer the original Bomas draft where we had only 14 regions. Currently, I think 47 Governors is too many," he stated.

    Referencing countries including South Africa, Nigeria and the United States of America, Raila argued that Kenya had far too many Governors and counties given its size and population.

    "South Africa has got only 10 provinces headed by the Premier. Even Nigeria, which is four times our population and bigger in size, has got only 35 states.

    "The United States has got 52. There are only 5 more than us, and that is a continent," he observed.

    Under his proposal, the regional governments would perform administrative functions similar to the roles of the now defunct provincial administration. Regional assemblies would also be created for legislative matters.

    During the interview, Raila further dismissed the assertion that he and ODM had abandoned the opposition.

    He argued that in Parliament, it was up to MPs and committees to execute their mandate. He also stated that they had changed tack to offer solutions when raising issues with the government.

    Watch the interview below: