Change beckons in local authorities

June 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – Parliament is likely to receive a raft of amendments to the Local Government Act in July, aimed to streamline nomination of councillors as well as election of Mayors and council chairpersons.

Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi told a media briefing on Tuesday that the draft is awaiting approval from Cabinet.

“One of the issues that we need to be clear about is who should be a nominated councillor,” he said adding that the amendments will seek to regulate the number of nominated councillors for each local authority.

“Are we really satisfied that the quantum of nominated councillors is right in our dispensation? If you take Nairobi as an example with about 75 elected councillors and 25 nominated, it becomes a huge number; in future do we want to go that way?’” Mr Mudavadi posed.

He also wants nominated councillors to serve five-year terms like their elected counterparts instead of serving at the behest of the Local Government Minister who dictates their tenure.

The Deputy Premier said the current practice of holding mid-term mayoral elections had caused instability in councils resulting to poor service delivery.

“(Currently) before one even understands a local authority, he is faced with an election. These are the areas we will want addressed so that if somebody is elected, they serve for five years then we can know he has the mandate to be able to implement the programmes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Mudavadi has quashed the 16-month appointment period for nominated councillors put in place by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta and re-appointed them until the end of the current five-year term.

The Local Government Minister said the re-appointments contained in a Special Gazette Notice issued on Tuesday were the final step in resolving the issues that have shrouded the nomination of councillors.

“I have now exercised my discretion to extend the term of nominated councillors fro the reminder of the five year term,” he said.

“It will be recalled that between February and April 2008, the then minister nominated councillors for a term of 14 and 16 months. Whilst this is permissible by law, the more appropriate approach would have been to nominate them fro a term of five years.”

The terms of nominated councillors were due to end on Thursday.

Mr Mudavadi said he only gazetted the civic leaders who had been forwarded by political parties.

“This clarification is important because there have been a lot of talk that maybe people have been eliminated from the list to try and tilt the balance over civic election in several areas; I want to state that is not so, because it doesn’t change the numerical advantage of political parties in the civic authorities,” he said. 

Following the issuing of the notice all the 175 local authorities will be required to hold their polls for mayoral and council chairmen between July 1 and August 15.


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