Cabinet okays crucial devolution Bills

January 19, 2012 3:15 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – The Cabinet has approved two crucial Bills required to operationalise county governments.

A brief sent to newsrooms on Thursday afternoon indicated that the Cabinet had cleared the Transition to Devolved Government Bill (2012) and the Inter-Government Relations Bill (2012), which will create the legislative framework for the successful devolution of the government to the county level.

The brief explained that the Transition to Devolved Government Bill created a transitional authority that would lay the foundation for the county governments before the general elections as well as assist them settle after the elections.

The Bill also creates a three year transition period, from the day of its enactment, for the transitional authority to discharge its mandate.

“The authority will undertake the preparatory work before the general elections and will assist county governments to fully take-off soon after the elections and for the three-year transition period,” read the statement.

On the other hand the Inter-Government Relations Bill outlines the relations and dispute resolution mechanisms between the national and county governments as well as between the counties themselves.

The Bill also sets up a summit that will bring together the President, Vice President and the 47 governors in a biannual meeting.

“In addition, the Bill creates the County Governments Council that will create the framework for relations among the 47 county governors,” explained the brief.

The two Bills will now be forwarded to Parliament for debate before they are finally approved.

Last week the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) issued a January 20 publication deadline for all Bills touching on devolution.

And while the Cabinet has approved two, one other Bill that also touches on aspects of devolution is still pending.

According to the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, the Devolved Government Bill is still undergoing internal review. The Bill has financial provisions that must be synchronised with the Public Finance Management Bill, which is not yet ready.

CIOC chairman Abdikadir Mohammed had explained that ministries of Finance and Local Government were yet to finalise their discussions surrounding the Public Finance Management Bill, which also has a February 27 deadline.

“We expect them to complete their deliberations on time because we don’t want to witness the same rush we witnessed last year,” he said.

The Lands Bill, which also has a February 27 shelf life, is also pending.

Mohammed had argued that if the Bills were completed on time, MPs would have enough time to scrutinise them when their recess ends.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by President Mwai Kibaki also approved the Pharmaceutical Industry Sessional Paper which provides the institutional framework for the administration of the local pharmaceutical industry.

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