Kenya starts work on new commissions

August 23, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The government has asked the private sector to begin submitting names of possible nominees to independent commissions to be formed under the new Constitution.

Communication between the government and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance seen by Capital News on Monday asked the business community to send in names of potential nominees who would sit on at least 10 of the commissions.

“We have been requested by Government to forward names of private sector representatives for consideration,” says a letter by KEPSA Chief Executive Officer Carole Kariuki sent to member organisations.

The bodies under consideration include the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, the National Land Commission, the Teachers Service Commission and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Others that KEPSA has been asked to propose nominees to are the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission, Commission on Revenue Allocation, the Public Service Commission, Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the National Police Service Commission.

KEPSA has in turn asked its member organisations to forward their nominees in the various fields for internal vetting before being forwarded to the State.

“We ask you to forward to us a minimum of three nominees from your membership/organisation to be vetted by the small committee from the KEPSA board that has been formed to facilitate this exercise,” said Ms Kariuki’s letter.

The new constitution proposes the inclusion of the private sector in these key commissions that earlier on were the preserve of the State. The inclusion of these representatives is aimed at ensuring higher accountability and safeguarding the interests of the public.

On Monday, the government said it was committed to working with the private sector organisations in the implementation processes of the new law.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo met KEPSA members and asked them to forward proposals on the numerous legislations to be enacted.

“My Ministry plans to create a national constituency to track the implementation of this new law,” said Mr Kilonzo in his address.

The Minister asked the Alliance to constitute a five-member committee which would act as the link between his Ministry and the business community saying “no one can boast of having knowledge on everything but we can all contribute.”

At the function, KEPSA Chairman Patrick Obath said the business community would be involved in the drafting of laws and in the implementation including using their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.

“We will be supporting the implementation as we also discharge our responsibilities of investing in society,” he said.

KEPSA Director Evans Monari asked the Minister to ensure that credible persons are appointed to new and existing offices.

“We do not want a situation where the president and the Prime Minister sit down and use this to trade places. We want a transparent process that produces the right people,” said Mr Monari.

In the meantime Mr Kilonzo has cautioned that coming up with county government legislation remains the greatest challenge to the implementation of the new Constitution.

Speaking at the meeting, he said the new system of devolution is new in the region and indeed in the world and lacks a clear precedence from where the country can borrow from.  The minister called for public debate on the necessary benchmarks for the law to determine how the new devolved governments will be structured, the capacity of the units and their relationship with the existing local authorities.

“For all other laws you can be able to speak with certainty and clarity as they relate to issues that has been applied all over the world but this thing about county governments is something we crafted for ourselves,” he said.

Under the new Constitution, the country will be divided into 47 counties modeled alongside the original 47 districts which will the centers of power and resource allocation. The national government is required to allocate at least 15 percent of the total national revenue to the units.

Each county will have a county assembly representing various wards. An elected county governor will be responsible for administration of the unit including overseeing the allocated funds and implementing policies.

“There were those who said that we all going to kill councils with this new system but that is not correct. But the relationship must be spelt clearly within the law,” he said.


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