, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo has questioned the unilateral restructuring of the Provincial Administration by the Office of the President saying it first requires approval by the Cabinet.
Mr Kilonzo threw a spanner into the raging controversy, insisting that the Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration should seek the endorsement of the Cabinet before making any changes.
He said it was wrong for the Minister to issue restructuring guidelines without due approval, since the new Constitution requires participation and transparency.
“In restructuring you must take into account Article 10 (2c) that requires participation of the people, inclusiveness, transparency and inclusiveness. Therefore if you were to restrict it at the Office of the President, would it pass this yard stick?" he posed.
“We have not discussed this in Cabinet yet. I wonder what the hurry is yet we have five years to do this,” he said.
The new Constitution requires the National government to restructure the Provincial Administration to conform to the new system of devolution established in the new law. The new devolved government has transferred more power and resources and provision of basic services at the County governments to be run by Governors and ward representatives at the regional assemblies. The National government however retains some key responsibilities especially in the provision of key services like security, issuance of identification documents, and health and education policies among others.
The Ministry of internal Security and Provincial Administration last week announced that it was due to complete the new face of the administration generating a storm with Ministers and a section of Members of Parliament who objected to the single-handed approach by the Ministry.
Backbench MPs last week demanded to be included in the process to safeguard the powers and responsibilities of the County governments. The team has threatened to censure the government if the House is kept out of the restructuring process.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga over the weekend questioned the guidelines issued by the Ministry and assured that Parliament would be involved in the matter.
Mr Kilonzo however clarified that the restructuring does not require Parliamentary approval through a Bill but in the spirit of participation the Minister should table a sessional paper in Parliament for endorsement.
“What we have now is an Executive Presidency where we must give the President a free hand to modify it,” he said.
“We must include participation of the Parliament whether it is a sessional paper or a policy document but not necessarily a legislation.”
The Justice Minister however adds that the jobs of District Commissioners, District Officers and Chiefs are protected under the new Constitution. He said those who are claiming these will lose their jobs are also wrong.
“All that I am asking is that let’s stick to the principles of governance under the new law,” he said.