NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 3 – The tribunal appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to probe the veracity of a petition filed by Makueni County residents has recommended suspension of the county government.
According to State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu, the six member committee presented its report to President Kenyatta Thursday morning at State House, Mombasa.
The Mohammed Nyaoga-led committee appointed on March 6, 2015 said its decision was based on the fact that majority of the residents were unhappy about the constant wrangles pitting Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Members of the County Assembly which needed to be resolved.
According to Section 123 (8) of the County Governments Act, if the President finds justifiable reasons for suspension he is expected to forward the report and recommendations to the Speaker of the Senate within seven days.
“The Speaker shall cause a motion for the suspension of the county government to be laid before the Senate within seven days and approval by Senate shall be by a resolution adopted in accordance with the provisions of Articles 122 and 123 of the Constitution,” the law further states.
Once the matter is brought to the Senate, Senators will vote on the motion which will require 24 votes to be passed.
“Upon approval by the Senate, the President shall, by notice in the Gazette, suspend the county government for a period not exceeding ninety days, or until the suspension is terminated earlier by the Senate in accordance with Article 192 (4) of the Constitution,” states the County Governments Act.
The law is however silent on what happens if the President does not find ‘justifiable reasons’ for suspension but according to commissioner at the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution Kamotho Waiganjo if the President does not agree with the commission, which he insists is highly unlikely, the status quo remains.
“It must then mean that the journey ends there. The discretion for suspending a county government is under the President and he does that because the grounds have been reached. The law on this has only two options, either to suspend or not,” he said.
During the period of suspension the operations of the County Assembly will be discontinued but despite this, the Speaker and Members of the County Assembly will draw half of their benefits.
County Assembly committees shall also be dissolved during this period.
“All Bills introduced before the County Assembly and that have not received assent prior to suspension shall expire and shall be re-introduced as new bills upon the cessation of the suspension,” the law further states.
The President will also be required by law to nominate members to the interim county management board which shall then carry out all the functions of the Executive who during suspension, just like their counterparts in the assembly will receive half of their salaries.
Persons appointed to the board must be residents of the county, must have knowledge, expertise and reasonable experience in management of the security sector or management of the private or public sector.
The individual must have for the last five years not stood for elective office in the suspended county government, or been an officer or employee of the suspended county government and has not for the last five years been a member of a governing body of a political party.
In November last year, over 3,000 members of the public from Makueni pitched tent at Harambee House in a bid to present President Kenyatta with a petition to dissolve the county government which they accused of embezzling funds and not initiating any development.
They also complained that the constant wrangles were stalling activities in the county as several laws were yet to be considered.