NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 19 – The Council of Governors (CoG) launched its constitutional amendment initiative on Thursday which focuses on strengthening devolution and expanding the executive by providing the position of the Prime Minister.
The Governors said they support a national executive structure comprising of the President as Head of State, Deputy President, and Prime Minister as Head of Government and two Deputy Prime Ministers.
The Cabinet shall consist of not more than 18 other Ministers and 22 Deputies from among Members of Parliament.
Council Chairperson and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya explained that most of their proposals were based on the challenges governors have faced since devolution started.
In the draft dubbed the Ugatuzi Initiative, the Governors propose that for every Financial Year the equitable share of the revenue raised nationally for county governments shall not be less than 45 per cent of the previous year’s revenue collected by the National Government and calculated on the basis of declared exchequer accounts.
“5 per cent of 45 per cent of what Counties receive shall be reserved for the special interest groups (youth, women, Persons with Disabilities and other marginalized/vulnerable groups) as computed by Commission for Revenue Allocation,” Oparanya said.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana said governors are ready to engage other groups on a common push for a referendum to amend the Constitution (2010) but with a key focus on devolution.
“We are definitely very serious about our Ugatuzi Initiative because we think it will protect and entrench devolution; but because we believe in consensus building, we will be in a position to look at all these other initiatives, knowing that our key support is on Ugatuzi and we are ready to work with everybody especially the people of Kenya,” he explained.
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said issues to do with constitutional changes need to be discussed widely and various groups coming up with different proposals were right to do so.
“The question we must ask ourselves is, to what extent has the presidential system that we have been having since independence been promoting democracy and social justice in the country; to what extent have Kenyans benefited from this system and can we do better.”
“In these places where they have the Parliamentary system, does devolution do better and is equitable development more guaranteed? Because we establish governments so that lives of people can be improved. Let us ask ourselves those questions in receiving those proposals that are coming from Ugatuzi, Punguza Mzigo and even the Building Bridges Initiative,” he said.
The appointment of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Principal Secretaries shall meet the two thirds gender rule and representation of the special interest groups, CoG proposes.
Each County must be represented in the Government to have either a Cabinet Minister, Deputy Minister or a Principal Secretary, the governors add.
“Majority of those appointed to the Cabinet will be coming from Parliament and as such the additional costs will be quite minimal,” Oparanya stated.
The Ugatuzi Initiative draft proposes that the Leader of the Party or Coalition of Parties with the second largest number of seats in National Assembly shall be the official leader of the opposition and shall have a Deputy Leader of Opposition.
The Leader of the Opposition shall appoint a shadow cabinet.
On the role of the Senate, Ugatuzi Initiative wants the Senate to be given greater say in the legislation making process by stating that all Bills shall originate from either the National Assembly or Senate.
“The Senate shall consider all bills including money bills. The President shall not assent to any Bill unless passed by the Senate. The Senate shall approve appointments to all constitutional offices. The Senate to be involved in approval of International Treaties,” reads CoG’s Memorandum.
In a bid to rope in the support of the Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs), the Governors have proposed that MCAs shall enjoy the same terms and conditions applicable to Members of Parliament but with necessary modifications.
The Ugatuzi Initiative also proposes to amend the Constitution to provide for the establishment of the Office of the Deputy Speaker of County Assembly alongside that of Speaker of the County Assembly in the Constitution.
The Governors’ draft has further proposed the introduction of a constitutional provision that shall expressly provide for the appointment and removal of a Deputy Governor.
The provision allows a Governor to fill a vacancy in the Office of Deputy Governor with the approval of the County Assembly while at the same providing the grounds and procedure for the removal of a Deputy Governor.
What governors want in the referendum #ugatuziinitiative
Imechapishwa na Capital FM Kenya kwenye Alhamisi, 19 Septemba 2019