By Reuben Olita
Mayors from various cities in Africa today engaged Ministers and Development Partners in a dialogue on the fifth and last day of the 9th Africities Summit at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Mamboleo in Kisumu.
The Mayors who included Julius Kitur of Eldorest said despite being the agents of the people at the grassroots level, they encounter many challenges, thus hampering their operations.
His Lordship Kitur said delays in funds disbursement from the Exchequer to Sub National Governments is hindering services to local governments.
” Apart from delays in releasing funds occasioned by long procedures before money is released, there is also lack of capacity building and mistrust between National and local governments,” he said.
The Mayors who were drawn from various cities of Africa said continous dialogue between the Ministers in charge of finance at national and local government levels should be embraced.This should include mayors as part of the actors.
The Mayors said many functions have been devolved to Local Governments but National Governments are still witholding funds which are supposed to follow functions.
Kampala Deputy Mayor, Doreen Nyanjura said most ministers are answerable to presidents and not to the people, telling them to start serving the people and not individuals, adding that they will see numerous changes.
Rwandan Minister for Local Government, Jean Marie Gatabazi said his country is embracing citizens centred leadership, noting that being the President’s appointee does not imply he is only answerable to the President but he is the people’s servant.
His Niger counterpart devolution is irreversible process but sometimes it’s forced to transfer some responsibilities from local authorities due to lack of capacities for such municipalities to run their affairs.
The Development partners told the Mayors not to narrow their demands to what they raised but to think beyond that including capital markets, pilot projects and tapping into available resources.
” Assess capacity gaps and look for projects that are sustainable and that can create jobs like Industrial parks. We also need to build synergy and complement each other.