Parallel centres of power could ruin CIC

January 18, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – The work of the Commission on the Implementation of Constitution faces severe hurdles unless its structures are changed to avert obstacles faced by other commissions, a legal expert has warned.

Kenneth Mwige who is the chief executive of the Public Complaints Standing Committee argues that failure to address principles of corporate governance in the formation of the CIC which sets the tone for other commissions may lead to administrative problems experienced by his office and the Committee of Experts.

"Due to the importance of this Commission, and the fact that all Constitutional Commissions are likely to be modelled on it, I think it is critical that any structural, administrative or legal weaknesses be addressed on a priority basis," he said.
According to Mr Mwige, there must be a clear understanding and separation of the supporting roles of Board and Management in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, while at the same time reducing the possibility of administrative conflict in public institutions.

Mr Mwige said: "The reason why I focused on the CIC is because it is the main one. So if it is suffering from the same problem, it is unlikely to cure the problems facing other commissions. So we start with the mother commission then module all the other Commissions – which are going to be set up – including the Ombudsman Commission on that good structure which is set up in the commission."

Speaking to Capital News, Mr Mwige pointed to the appointment of an executive chairperson and then a chief executive of the commission, which he says has led to a conflict and warned that the achievement of Kenya\’s constitutional promise runs a serious risk of aborting.

Mr Mwige has written to the AG and the chairmen of the Kenya Law Review Commission, Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution and the Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Legal Affairs and Administration of Justice recommending the urgent amendments.

"What we are having now in the public sector and there is anecdotal evidence, is that you are having institutions which are very weak structurally, because when you have an executive commission with an executive chairman, and a CEO with management; all you have is a Tower of Babel, and you have a congenital problem which goes down to the root of the institution which makes it very hard for it to deliver," he said.

He says that there are only two alternatives; "either shut the door firmly on executive chairpersons and their boards, or remove all references to CEOs and the management and leave the latter to run the show".

He says his office has also been faced by similar organisational problems which he have hindered its impact.

"The PCSC itself bears grim witness to the potentially devastating effecting on a public institution when corporate governance is put aside in favour of outmoded and defunct management styles that have been abandoned by progressive and modern administrations," he said.

He has at the same time, called on the professional bodies to be on the forefront of reforming the management and structure of public bodies.

Mr Mwige claimed the bodies often took a backseat approach and only voiced their concerns once things in government had gone wrong.


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