NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – The Joint Mediation Committee of the Senate and the National Assembly looking into the County Governments (Amendment) Bill has resolved to do away with a proposal to have Ward Development Boards and Sub-County Development Boards.
National Assembly Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Chairman Samuel Chepkonga says they however maintained a restructured County Development Board because it will provide a forum where elected leaders can coordinate county development projects and adopt integrated development plans before they are tabled in County Assemblies for approval.
“The functions of this board are purely consultative… we do not approve anything; we do not even recommend but we only give our input. We have completely changed the suggestion that this board was going to give recommendations,” the Ainabkoi MP continued. “Those were purely unconstitutional issues and those were the concerns of the National Assembly.”
The six-member mediation team was set up so that representatives from both Chambers try and work out a compromise version after National Assembly Members rejected the Bill claiming the mandate of the boards and requirement that legislators sit in them was unconstitutional.
The Senate appointed Senators Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Stephen Sang (Nandi) and Amos Wako (Busia) while the National Assembly named Chepkonga (Ainabkoi), Katoo ole Metito (Kajiado South) and Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren) to the team.
The mediation team which was chaired by the Senate’s Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Chairman Amos Wako has also agreed to exclude Members of the National Assembly from sitting in the boards which will now be chaired by the Senator, with the Governor sitting as the Vice-Chairman while the Country Secretary will be the board Secretary.
“We noted under the County Government Act it clearly provided for a forum that was supposed to be called by the Governor at the county level, but the governors have never called for it and so we deleted that one and replaced it with the County Development Board (CBD),” Chepkonga explained.
Wako and Chepkonga have submitted the mediation team report to the Senate and National Assembly and are waiting to be accorded dates for debate.
The Council of Governors had asserted that Members of the National Assembly 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, a move which the National Assembly Members objected claiming there is a plot to kill CDF through the introductions of the boards.
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.
The County Governments (Amendment) Bill failed to go past the Second Reading in the National Assembly after a vote by acclamation, setting up a clash with the Senate that has already passed the draft law.