State accused of subverting counties formation

December 6, 2011 10:34 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – Several civil society groups on Tuesday accused the government of hijacking the devolution process by failing to observe transparency and accountability in the transition process of establishing counties.

Speaking during the Nairobi County Citizens Forum, Institute for Social Accountability National Coordinator Wanjiru Gikonyo accused a section in the government of secretly managing and allocating county resources.

“Decisions are already being made and we are not involved. The government is discussing with itself… not even the entire government but a section of it,” she complained.

She said some ministries had already started deploying county heads without any consultations as required by the Constitution.

“We are disturbed that Internal Security and Health Ministries and the Teachers Service Commission have gone ahead and implemented changes at the county level that likely to undermine the position of County Government,” she claimed.

She called for urgent publication of the Transition Bill that seeks to establish an independent Transitional Authority to oversee the transition process from a central government to the county level.

“We need an independent authority so that we can have a fair decision about what the national government owns and manages; what should go to them, what should go to the counties. How can national government decide everything it owns belongs to them?” she wondered.

She argued that Kenyans were being sidelined in the crucial process of discussing how the issue of assets will be resolved, auditing of liabilities in every county and handling of existing service delivery contracts and agreements.

Wanjiru further urged the government to observe an organised procedure in the establishment of counties to avoid confusion in their management as she warned of a possibility the counties would end up failing to serve the purpose they were designed to fulfil.

A member of the Task Force on Devolved Government Paddy Onyango warned Kenyans against opportunists who are keen to plunder the country of its assets during the transition process as he called for close monitoring of the process that will keep them locked out.

He insisted that the only way to keep out corruption in distribution of public resources is for the country to ensure the constitution is fully and strictly implemented.

The civil society groups which later marched to Parliament and Sheria House to advocate for a professional, transparent and organised process in the establishment of the counties. They also appealed to the Lands Ministry to freeze sale of public land and also establish public land inventories of all counties to inform the land transition process.

Kenya is expected to form 47 counties that will each be represented by a Senator.


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