NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – Civil Society groups advocating for devolution have called for the suspension of plans to replace the Transition Authority (TA) with the Intergovernmental Relations Committee as doing so would delay the transfer of government functions to counties.
Decentralisation and Governance Non State Actors Network coordinator Henry Ochieng said that he did not understand the motive of the proposed amendment as the Intergovernmental Relations Act provides a framework for consultation and cooperation between the national government and county governments and among the county governments.
The proposal to replace the authority with a committee which will act as a link between the 47 counties and the national government is contained in the Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill, 2013 which was approved by the Cabinet this week, and is now headed to Parliament.
“The government through the Minister for Devolution and Planning should come out clearly and inform the public when the T.A. became a threat to the public or to devolution; they believe that the proposed committee can be a replacement to the roles that are being currently undertaken by the T.A,” said Ochieng.
Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru has said that the intention of creating the committee is to establish a permanent institution with representation from the national government and the counties.
The lobby groups said the move is suspicious given that the Transition Authority is now in phase two of transferring functions as required by the law.
Activist Paddy Onyango said replacing T.A. with a committee will disrupt the on-going analysis of parastatals to identify those that require decentralisation.
“We don’t understand the mischief they are trying to cure when they – including the Attorney General – are already members of the T.A.” Onyango added. “What they are doing is to set up bloated institutions yet the very same government says it doesn’t have the resources to sustain them.”
TA’s job was to midwife devolution of power and resources to the counties, but it has met hostility from the national and county governments over alleged failure to deliver on its mandate.
Transition Authority Chairman Kinuthia wa Mwangi says the move is prejudicial to the gains so far achieved in implementing devolution. He said he was not consulted on the amendments being proposed by the Attorney-General
“We are yet to receive official communication on the planned move,” he said.
The proposal to disband the Transition Authority is an agreed position of the governors and the national government.
The Chairman of the Council, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto claimed that T.A. had failed in carrying out its mandate and there is no reason it should continue to exist.
He noted the slow asset audit in the counties and the on-going transfer of functions to county governments as some of the failures of the authority.
Ruto said once the authority is dissolved, then, the Intergovernmental Relations Committee will work with the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution to ensure the three-year timeline for devolution is fully activated.