, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 14 – Drafters of the new Constitution have defended the restructuring of the provincial administration and dismissed accusations that the system has no role in the new law.
Committee of Experts (CoE) Chairman Nzamba Kitonga on Thursday said Kenyans overwhelmingly vouched for its retention but called for changes to clearly define its role and avoid conflicting with the new devolved county governments.
“The provincial administration is not folding according to what we considered,” he said.
“The views of the public were that the provincial administration should be retained but because they also want a devolved system we came to the conclusion that they could co-exist as long as they don’t interfere with each other.”
Mr Kitonga told Capital news in an interview that the system is the eye of the national government on the ground and will coordinate provision of key services that are mandated to the national government.
Section 17 of the Sixth Schedule of the new Constitution gives the government five years to restructure the system to comply with the new devolved country governments. The new system has transferred more power and resources and provision of basic services at the County governments to be run by Governors and ward representatives at the regional assemblies. The National government however retains some key responsibilities especially in the provision of key services like security, issuance of identification documents, and health and education policies among others.
The Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration last week announced that it was due to complete the new face of the administration generating a storm with Ministers and a section of Members of Parliament who objected to the single-handed approach by the Ministry.
Backbench MPs demanded to be included in the process to safeguard the powers and responsibilities of the County governments. The team has threatened to censure the government if the House is kept out of the restructuring process.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga over the weekend questioned the guidelines issued by the Ministry and assured that Parliament would be involved in the matter.
The Chairman also faulted the ongoing sole restructuring process by the Office of the President saying that the executive ought to consult Parliament and the public through the introduction of an act of Parliament.
“When we said government we meant all the arms of government and not merely the executive,” he said.
“It is for these arms to sit together with the yet to be formed Commission for the implementation of the new constitution and see how best they can restructure the provincial administration in accordance with the new constitution.”
He added that there need to anchor the system in the law through an act of Parliament that sets out clear benchmarks of operations, mandate and protect i
“This will ensure the limits of authority are very clear and there also sanctions for any breeched of this authority,” he said.