NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi has warned against any attempt to dilute devolution as stipulated under the new Constitution saying it will undermine and negate the historic gains that the supreme law has promised Kenyans.
Speaking at a ceremony to receive the final report by the Taskforce on Devolved Government, Mr Mudavadi said that implementation of devolution as enshrined in the new Constitution was an obligation and duty that must be undertaken with honesty.
“Devolution underpins and permeates every chapter of the Constitution. To assume that we can tinker with certain aspects of devolution during implementation and still hope to harvest the benefit is foolhardy,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
He added that devolution of power, responsibilities and resources was the most transformative pillar of the new Constitution that Kenyans adopted on August 27 last year.
“The Constitution decrees that citizens are their own agents for development and transformation rather than objects or recipients of dictates from unaccountable State authorities,” he observed.
He underscored the need to put in place mechanisms for transiting from the current system of government to a devolved system early enough before the next elections to avoid a constitutional crisis.
“I am confident enough that we will make the devolution Bills a priority, hopefully pass them into laws by the end of this year to give us enough lead time for transition mechanisms,” he noted.
The Taskforce on Devolved Government was established in October last year to undertake extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders to produce policy document to form basis of implementation of devolution.
Meanwhile, the Taskforce on Devolved Government recommended the expeditious enactment of six laws that will enable the operationalisation and management of the county governments.
Taskforce chairman Mutakha Kangu said devolution underpins and permeates every chapter of the Constitution.
“We urge the government not to let this report rot on the shelf,” said Mr Kangu.
The Taskforce has proposed legislation defining how county governments would work, structures, qualifications of office holders and levels of further decentralisation of the county governments.
The Urban Areas and Cities Act details the criteria for classification of urban areas and cities and how they will be managed in context of the county governments.
The draft Inter-governmental Relations Framework Bill seeks to establish a structure within which different levels of government will relate and resolve dispute.
The draft Inter-governmental Fiscal Relations Bill proposes ways to govern the process of sharing revenue between the county and national governments and establish an inter-government budget council.
The draft County Government Financial Management Bill establishes an institutional framework to control borrowing and ensure prudent financial management by the county governments.
The Draft Transition Devolved Government Bill seeks to establish a transition body that will lead smooth transfer of powers and functions from the national government to the counties.