The Council of Governors (CoG) has raised serious concerns over a perceived scheme to revert the health function back to the National Government through a strategic smear campaign, portraying county governments as ineffectual.

This comes amidst allegations that the National Government has withheld over Sh100 billion in equitable share, with just days remaining in the 2023/2024 financial year.

Presently, county governments have not received their equitable share from the National Government for the past three months, including June.

This delay is compounded by reports that the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) typically experiences slowdowns from mid-June.

Addressing a series of questions from journalists, CoG health committee chairperson and Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki responded to a persistent media campaign highlighting counties' failure to remit debts to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).

Governor Njuki questioned the intentions behind these reports, suggesting they are part of a deliberate strategy to tarnish the reputation of county governments.

"The messaging around the debts owed by counties to KEMSA had the hallmarks of a well thought out and executed scheme, keen on painting counties in bad blood," Njuki stated.

He further elaborated, "If the National Government stuck to the law and gave us our resources on the 15th of every month, no county would be having a debt of KEMSA."

Governor Njuki pointed out that the agreement with KEMSA allows counties a 90-day repayment period, which coincides with the duration counties have gone without receiving their equitable share.

"A debt is not bad. In fact, the agreement we have with KEMSA allows counties a 90-day repayment period. Doesn't that marry with the period counties haven't received their equitable share?" he added.

There have been calls from certain National Government officials to re-centralise the management of the health function, reverting to the system in place before the 2010 constitution.

However, governors have consistently defended the advancements made under devolution.

Governor Njuki reassured that counties are prepared to clear their debts to KEMSA once they receive their allocated funds.

He also reminded the National Government of its Sh 2 billion commitment to KEMSA to bolster the agency's capacity.

KEMSA has reported that counties owe approximately Sh3 billion in arrears.

Despite the financial strain, governors maintain that devolution has significantly improved health services, and they remain firm against any move to reverse these gains.