News Highlights

Court of arms

Members of the Press,
Citizens of Kenya,

•The Council congratulates Justice David Maraga for the well-deserved nomination as the Chief Justice .The new Chief Justice is a servant of Justice anchored on the values of Integrity and Justice. We thank him for his continued support to devolution. We believe that he will continue to support devolution like his predecessor, Hon Justice Willy Mutunga and the Council assures him of total support in upholding the rule of Law.

•The Council addresses you after a six day study visit to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), a sister organization to the Council of Governors which is partnering with the Council in the implementation of the SymbioCity programme.

•The programme is funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Kenya, which is responsible for Swedish development cooperation in Kenya

 

The Programme focuses on;
a.Institutional development of Council of Governors
b.Application of the SymbioCity Approach in seven pilot counties namely; Kitui, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia, Homabay, Kisumu, Nakuru and Meru.
c.Intergovernmental cooperation on urban development.
d.Sharing of experiences and networking.

 

Sweden has been decentralized for over 100 years and has had a cordial relationship between the central Government and the decentralized units. The cordial relationship has been maintained through trust and cooperation between the two levels of government, adherence to agree upon agreements and a parliament committed to safeguarding the independence of local self-rule. Of mutual concern to us are the following:-

 

FREQUENCIES
•The status of public participation at the county level is not good. County Government departments are required by laws to consult interest groups or engage the public on specific matters. For instance, the Public Finance Management Act 2012 establishes the County Budget and Economic Forum which provides business, civil society and labour with a platform to participate in government policy making on financial and planning matters.
•In order to enhance participation as the country implements devolution at county level, there is need for clear mechanisms for engagement and articulation of community interests and a public participation policy framework to guide the County Government on how to involve the people in governance. There is also need to counties to own/use the medium for public participation. It will be very costly to get air-time from the commercial media houses.
•The National Government is required by Article 189 of the Constitution to support counties in the performance of their functions. The decision to deny counties frequencies undermines their function on public participation. The County Government Act 2012 contains provisions that require counties to use medium of communication such as radios to engage the public. The suggestion that counties use Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation to disseminate information is a clever strategy to undermine counties. KBC has not been restructured to accommodate devolution.
• All that Counties are asking for it to be given frequencies. They will set their own infrastructure and generate broadcasting content in accordance with their needs. If a County Government establishes a County parastatal for broadcasting, there is nothing wrong for the entity to be allocated frequencies.
•Therefore, there is a very strong case for County Governments to get frequencies for community-based radios to enable them to undertake effective public participation as justified above.

FINANCE

REVENUE SHARING
An Inter-Agency Technical Committee was established as an ADHOC Sub Committee of the SUMMIT appointed by the Cabinet Secretary/National Treasury in February 2016 with key objectives being,
(i)To analyse the extent of duplication that exists between the National and County Governments in their undertaking of both exclusive and concurrent functions in accordance with the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution;
(ii) To identify corresponding budgetary resources which will follow the transfer of functions identified under (i) and thereafter make recommendations on the sharing of revenue raised nationally by the two levels of Government;
(iii) To make specific recommendations to the ADHOC sub- committee of the Summit.

 

•The recommendations were supposed to have been factored in the 2016/17 financial year’s Division of Revenue and County Allocation of Revenue Act respectively however this was never effected. The Council therefore demands that the recommendations be implemented since there was no objection from any party.

IFMIS
•Counties are having challenges with the IFMIS system at the moment and are not able to transact due to the collapse of the IFMIS infrastructure. For instance Lamu County only access the system for only 15min in a day noting that the approvals within the structure are 26 steps to make a payment. The County is therefore not able to implement the plans.

E-PROCUREMENT
•An Intergovernmental taskforce was established to look into E-procurement challenges which allowed the extension of auto creation to 30th June 2016, to allow treasury to implement some of the recommendations.
•The Council of Governors is concerned that task force reports and recommendations have not been implemented by the relevant Institutions.

IBEC
There have been negotiations made in IBEC on critical issues that affect counties that are never implemented. For instance, on the Equalization fund, it had been agreed that;
The Cabinet Secretary National Treasury was to get representatives from the County Governments from the 14 Counties to be part of the consultation on projects that will be funded under the Equalization Fund. This has not materialized.

Continued postponement of the IBEC meeting is major challenge with implication in the preparation of County budget. Considering the upcoming elections and the fact that by March 2017 the budgeting cycle should be concluded, the Council of Governors expects the IBEC meeting takes place urgently considering the critical role it plays.

H. E. Peter Munya
Chairman, Council of Governors

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