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Devolution requires at least 13 laws

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – The Taskforce on the devolved government has proposed the enactment of 13 laws that it says will help actualise devolution structures.

While addressing Members of Parliament at a consultative workshop on devolution on Monday, Chairman Mutakha Kangu however noted that some of the Bills could be compounded in some respects before they were finally presented to the National Assembly later this month.

Some of the proposed pieces of legislation include the Devolution Bill 2011, County Public Financial Management Bill 2011, Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Bill 2011 and the Transition Bill 2011.

He further highlighted the roles that the Legislative and Executive arms of government played in setting up efficient devolution systems saying they ought to provide sober leadership towards the issue.

"The entire government has to come together and accept that devolution cuts across the whole government. If we don\’t put all our expertise together we will not see the full picture and if this happens then we will not be able to implement (the new governance structures)," he said.

The workshop was officially opened by Prime Minister Raila Odinga who noted that there were still outstanding issues on the devolved system of government that had to be addressed before a consensus could emerge.

He said that the qualities set for Governors, Senators and County Assembly members ought to be adequately implemented so as to ensure those who didn\’t match up were disqualified.

The Premier however noted that the only eligibility requirement, under Article 180(2), is that the candidate for governor should be qualified for election as member of the county assembly.

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"I understand that this issue is of concern to the citizens in the counties and they want governors who hold university degrees and have managerial experience either in the public or private sector," he argued.

"The voters were strongly against professional politicians running as governors," he added.

The PM also mentioned the establishment of county public service, the proposed restructuring of provincial administration, the unbalanced devolution of functions as well as the allocation of resources as areas that needed to be addressed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government Musalia Mudavadi further asked the MPs to acquaint themselves with the interim report on devolution before it was finally submitted to Parliament.

MPs have until Thursday to approach the taskforce and submit their views on devolution before the consultation forum is closed.

"We felt that it would be really unfair to the legislators if they just saw the contents of this document in form of Bills on the floor of the House. They need to look at it with a critical mind," he said.

Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim also challenged MPs to remain focused in the implementation of the Constitution to guide the country\’s reform agenda. He argued that if the devolution structures were improperly set up, they could worsen the historical inequalities witnessed in the country.

Meanwhile the taskforce added that it needed help in breaking down the distribution of roles, in the county governments, so as to avoid duplication. The levels and units of governance, resource management, governance structures and transitional issues also came up.

The new Constitution requires that all legislation related to urban areas and cities, and establishment of the 47 County Governments be in place within 10 and 18 months respectively from August 27. 

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