Senate summons ministry, Governors over road management row

February 2, 2016 5:18 pm
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Senate Committee Chairman Abu Chiaba says the meeting will be used to collect views on the Kenya Roads Bill 2015, which he says will be instrumental in holistically addressing the challenges in the roads sector/FILE
Senate Committee Chairman Abu Chiaba says the meeting will be used to collect views on the Kenya Roads Bill 2015, which he says will be instrumental in holistically addressing the challenges in the roads sector/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Senators are expected to host stakeholders in the road and transport sector in a bid to build consensus on the stalemate between the national government and the counties over the transfer of the roads functions to counties.

The meeting organised by the Senate Standing Committee on Roads and Transportation comes as governors insist the national government must cede the devolved road functions, and have demanded equal distribution of Fuel Levy and Mechanical and Transport Fund.

Senate Committee Chairman Abu Chiaba says the meeting will be used to collect views on the Kenya Roads Bill 2015, which he says will be instrumental in holistically addressing the challenges in the roads sector.

“The Senate Standing Committee on Roads and Transportation has, during its interactions with the counties, observed that they are faced with various challenges in the roads sector. Taking note of the Senate’s role under Article 96(1) to represent counties and protect the interest of the Counties and their Governments, at its meeting held on 9th July, 2015, the Committee resolved to convene a Stakeholders Forum targeting the following participants: The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, The Transition Authority, the Council of Governors and the County Assemblies Forum,” read the statement for the Committee.

Governors are accusing the national government of using the old classification of roads to cling on the function while the Ministry says it will release the function once the Bill will give a specific definition and classification of county and national trunk roads is passed and enacted.

The Senate Committee has backed the county bosses, saying road functions that have been devolved by law must be released to counties, accompanied by resources as the Senate vowed to push for the transfer of Class D and E and all the unclassified roads to counties, while the national Government retains Class A, B and C.

Governors want the Kenya Rural Roads Authority and Kenya Urban Roads Authority to be under their jurisdiction.
The Kenya Roads Board says the Kenya’s road network has been established to be 160,886 km long. About 61,936 kilometres of these roads are classified while the remaining 98,950 kilometres are not classified.

Responsibility for the management of the road network falls under the Ministry of Roads and implemented through Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

The KRB classifies Class A as an International Trunk Road which links centres of international importance and cross international boundaries or terminate at international ports or airports (e.g. Mombasa,) Class B (National Trunk Roads) links nationally important centres such as County/Provincial headquarters. Class C (Primary Roads) links provincially important centres to each other or to higher class roads such as Sub-County/District headquarters.

Secondary Roads which used to be managed by the defunct local authorities encompasses Class D roads which link locally important centres to each other, or to more important centres or to a higher class road (e.g. divisional headquarters) and Class E which are minor roads link to a minor centre.

The dispute between the two levels of government has been on the contentious Class C function, however the Senate has remained adamant that the Kenya Rural Roads Authority and Kenya Urban Roads Authority and Kenya Wildlife Service roads will remain national Government function.

The stalemate has been further compounded by the Transition Authority’s delay to unbundle the required functions, a process they started in 2012 before the Counties came in being after the March 2013 polls.

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