, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – The Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament have agreed to form a six-member mediation team by Thursday after the County Development Boards (Amendment) Bill was rejected by the National Assembly.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed both Majority and Minority Leaders to prepare their nominees who will serve in the team that is provided for in the Constitution.
“I have directed that the two leaders of the House must forward the names of members to represent the National Assembly in the said Mediation Committee. This should be done before the end of business on Wednesday,” said Muturi.
The Bill has been referred to the team so that representatives from both chambers try and work out a compromise version.
The County Governments (Amendment) Bill failed to go past the Second Reading after a vote by acclamation, setting up a clash with the Senate that has already passed the draft law.
The Amendment Bill sponsored by Nandi Senator Stephen Sang seeks to establish ward development boards and sub-county development boards.
According to the proposed law, the County Development Boards will be chaired by the Senators with the Governors as secretaries.
The MPs were split on the mandate of the boards and requirement that the legislators sit in them, with some warning that the passage of the Bill would infringe on separations of powers between the Legislature and the Executive.
The National Assembly concluded debate on the Amendment Bill on Thursday and warned of a plot to kill the Constituencies Development Fund through the introductions of the boards.
The legislators in the lower House observed they were mandated to represent oversight and legislate on behalf of Kenyans and not execute development spending at the county level.
They said Article 184(4) of the Constitution requires all disputes between county and national governments to be resolved through negotiations and dialogue as opposed to legislation while County Government Act and the Inter-Governmental Relations Act 2012 provides mechanisms for county development planning.
A number of MPs supported the Bill saying it will create a central forum for coordinating development activities within the counties.
The Council of Governors on Friday asserted that MPs can force their way into county management only if they also surrender the billions they control under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to be included in the county funds.
The Governors also want the composition of boards expanded to not only include Members of the National Assembly and Senators, but also all Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs).
Besides the over Sh20 billion CDF funds, Governors say the Sh6 billion Uwezo Fund whose rules MPs reviewed so as to have a say in it, should also be placed in the county basket.