NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on Wednesday raised the alarm over what it said was failure by County Executives and Assemblies to foster public participation in the formulation of their laws.
LSK chairman Eric Mutua said lack of public participation not only contravened Article 10 of the Constitution, which guarantees public participation in governance, but denied counties the benefit of expert legal advice.
“The danger of it is that there would probably be conflicts with other national legislation, there’ll be conflicts with the Constitution,” he warned.
To change this, he said, LSK had charged its members to work with the county executives and assemblies in crafting their legislation.
And as he presided over the launch of the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) on Wednesday, Attorney General Githu Muigai called on the county governments to take advantage of its legislative expertise.
“We have a Kenya Law Reform Commission with the singular mandate to support devolved governments by giving them the technical expertise to make law at the county level,” the AG said.
And the Secretary of KLRC, Joash Dache, told Capital FM News that he understood just how critical these consultations would be.
“If you look at the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution Part II where the functions of county governments are listed, you require county government legislation to give effect to those functions. So we have done model laws in respect of each of those functions,” he said.
The Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) Secretary General Stephen Mutoro had previously raised concern over locking out of stakeholders when decisions to increase the amounts paid out in levies were made.
“We’ve had vendors protesting over increased market charges, we’ve had matatu and taxi operators protesting increased parking fees and all because they were not consulted before the hikes were implemented,” he told Capital FM News.
Most recently, on April 9, Nyandarua residents took to the streets to protest the inclusion of a Sh30 million recreation centre, for the members of their county assembly, in the county’s strategic plan.
“The law is very clear that there should have been public participation before any penny is spent and we wonder who they consulted before approving the spending of this kind of money,” he explained.