Governors seek Senate help over devolution impasse

August 13, 2013 3:23 pm


Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto said they were left with no option after the repeated talks with the national government failed to bear fruits/FILE
Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto said they were left with no option after the repeated talks with the national government failed to bear fruits/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 13 – Governors are planning to petition the Senate after they disagreed with the Transition Authority over gazetted devolved services.

The Transitional Authority had on Friday published the devolved units’ functions with the National Government retaining major roads and electricity projects in the counties.

The national government has also maintained its grip on early childhood education, supply of drugs, other medical commodities and construction of diesel power stations, saying it is allowing the devolved units time to build capacity to handle those roles.

The gazettement of the functions has renewed the row between the national government and counties, which had accused it of failing to approve the transfer of functions even after striking a deal with Deputy President William Ruto last Friday.

Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto said they were left with no option after the repeated talks with the national government failed to bear fruits.

“Counties will individually appeal to the Senate for redress because we do not see any more possibility of engaging with any other office because we have done that several times. Every time we are promised the technocrats actually negate that, they reverse everything,” he told a news conference at his office.

The governors have invoked Section 23 (7) of the Transition to the Devolved Government Act which states that a county government may appeal to the Senate against a decision made procedure for phased transfer of functions.

Section 23 (6) of the Act states that where the authority determines that a county government does not meet the criteria for the transfer of function under Section 24, it shall propose clear and practical measures to build the capacity of the county government during the transition period to enable the county government undertake its functions within the shortest time possible.

Sub-section 8 of the Act further states that a decision of the Senate on the appeal, by majority vote in accordance with Article 123 of the constitution, shall be binding on the authority.

Ruto also claimed the each county is likely to lose Sh250 million as a result of the national government negating a previous agreement on the transfer of agricultural functions such as grain storage and farm inputs as well as identification of the rural electrification projects in their respective counties.

The National Assembly allocated Sh210 billion to the devolved governments; in which Sh190 billion has been set aside as equitable share and Sh20 billion will disbursed as conditional allocations.

Ruto said the some Cabinet Secretaries were intimidating the TA to frustrate the devolution process by refusing to release functions such rural electrification, roads and agriculture.

Ruto said they are challenging the TA’s decision to exclude roads falling under Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA), and the roles of Kenya Wildlife Services and Kenya Forest Service.

The governors have been restricted to “roads including primary roads linking all sub-county headquarters and minor roads linking markets and administrative centres.”

All mechanical and transport equipment in the units will also be managed by the national government for six months while TA crafts modalities of sharing the facilities among counties from the same region.

The Bomet Governor said there was a rush to reclassify some of the major roads in counties to fall under the trunk roads, which fall under the national government. Last week, the TA was asked to release Sh27 billion for county roads managed by KERRA and KURA.

The Council of Governors said it was in agreement with the decision to delay transfer the function of overseeing the payment of salaries and allowances for the civil servants for a period of six months or until the respective counties will build capacity to handle the function.

“We don’t know how deal with ghost people, so we asked that they remain with the function as we finish up with headcounts and staff rationalisation. We agreed that they will provide the list of the people they have paid so that we can go and see whether these people are there, we know there a lot of ghost workers, who never gives services expect for when they show up at the bank at the end month,” said Ruto.

The authority has however handed the county governments the tasks of agriculture, county health services, control of air, noise pollution and public nuisance.

Other services handed to the county governments are county transport, trade and development regulation, village polytechnics government policies on natural resources and environmental conservation and county public works.


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