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County Governments have begun the process of lobbying for review and revocation of legislation that undermine devolution. The Governors are raising concern over their exclusion in the formulation and passage of key legislations, intended to govern and regulate the Agriculture Sector. In a consultative meeting held in Naivasha with the Ministry of Agriculture, USAID, Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET) and the Coffee Sub sector Reforms Implementation Standing Committee (CSRISC), the Governors decried the usurping of their role in legislative processes in the Agriculture sector.
They singled out the Tea Act N0. 23 of 2020 whose enactment sparked outcry and protests from tea farmers. The farmers are rejecting the law for denying them the right to sell their tea directly and giving excessive powers to tea boards. The Governors in the meeting said the Council of Governors will seek dialogue with H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta on the implementation of the Tea Act with the view to resolve the issues raised by the Council and thereby put the Tea industry into low development trajectory.
The Governors appreciate the strides made in transforming the agriculture sector but are concerned that their function of formulating laws and policies for the devolved sector has been taken up by the ministry. This has seen the development of legislations that are discriminatory and in violation of the constitution.
Agriculture remains the primary driver of Kenya's economic growth. According to a recent report by USAID, approximately 75% of Kenyans earn a living from this sector and it contributes 33% to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP).
The sector plays a pivotal role in achieving food security, which is part of the government's Big 4 agenda, as well as the realisation of Kenya's vision 2030.
The meeting with the stakeholders in the Agriculture sector, sought to deliberate on emerging issues and establish mutually beneficial partnerships.
The Governors also expressed concern over the continued delay in disbursements of funds by the national Treasury which has derailed most development projects at the counties. The Council reiterated its call, of resources following functions, especially in the Agriculture sector where most of the resources are channeled to National Government departments and agencies.
The Chairperson of the Agriculture Committee at the Council of Governors H.E James Nyoro welcomed the continued partnerships citing them as instrumental to the success of devolved units.
“We note that the need to transforming agriculture requires collaborative effort between the two levels of government, development partners and the private sector,” he said. The Governors said the Council will enhance its partnerships with the private sector and institutions such as USAID towards the growth of the Agriculture sector.

School children at Early Childhood Development and Education ECDE centres across the counties are in urgent need of face masks for safe learning. An assessment spearheaded by the Council of Governors COG in a number of counties, revealed an urgent need for over 1 million masks for the millions of learners at these centres. The assessment visits were held in Meru, Isiolo,Laikipia,Nyeri,Nakuru, Uasin Gishu,Elgeyo Marakwet,Trans Nzoia,Kisumu, Nyamira,Nandi,Kisii and Homabay Counties between 11th and 22nd January 2021.
This followed the reopening of the centres after 10 months of closure due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The suspension of learning in all educational institutions affected 18 million learners across the country, including 2.73 million early childhood learners and 135,550 trainees in County ECDE and Vocational Training Centres respectively.
The Ministry of Education directed the reopening of all learning institutions on January 4th 2021 under tight Covid 19 health and safety protocols. COG embarked on an assessment of the implementation of measures towards safe learning by respective County Governments. The visits sought to also establish compliance by the ECDE Centres to the Guidelines on Safe Reopening and Resumption of Learning. A data collection and assessment tool was employed in identifying best practices and local solutions towards the safe reopening of the Centres.
The visits were coordinated by the County Directors in charge of ECDE through the County Executive Committee Members CECMs in charge of Education. The assessment sampled two ECDE Centres per County. A total of 32 County Early Childhood Development & Education Centres in 12 Counties were assessed.
The data analysis revealed that 79.02% of the learners that had enrolled at the public ECDE centres in January 2020 resumed learning. This represents 1,407,674 learners out of 1,781,416 learners that had registered at the beginning of last year. Additionally, 28,887 Centres out of 29,130 County ECDE Centres across all 47 Counties representing 99.17% of all public ECDE Centres reopened for learning. Further, 74.2% of all learners in public ECDE Centres have reported to school with facemasks. This represents 1,321,810 learners enrolled in County ECDE Centres, however, 84% of all learners in public ECDE Centres need age-appropriate facemasks. This accounts for the need for 1,505,526 facemasks for learners in public ECDE Centres
Counties may now engage the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to track the children who have not resumed learning. Sensitization fora will be ideal in enlightening parents on the revised 2020/2021 academic calendar. Regular provision of clean running water across the counties remain a huge challenge hampering hand washing and sanitation. The centres also require the development and dissemination of child-friendly IEC materials. This can be achieved by building the capacity of ECDE teachers on the Competency Based Curriculum and developing a tracking matrix of all resource needs by the affected County ECDE Centres.

Thursday, 21 January 2021 12:57

GOVERNORS FETE OUTGOING CHIEF JUSTICE

Chairman of the Council of Governors  H.E Hon Wycliffe Oparanya has hailed the retired Chief Justice David Maraga for his boldness, and commitment to the rule of law. In a farewell luncheon organized by the Council, H.E Oparanya described Hon Maraga as a servant leader whose tenure saw the growth of jurisprudence. “Undeniably the era of His Lordship has made an unprecedented impact on the evolution of the Judiciary. He has worked tirelessly, compassionately, with humility to transform the Judiciary”, the COG chair remarked. He noted that Hon Maraga had restored faith and confidence in the Judicial system through his progressive style of leadership. The retired Chief Justice acknowledged the role Devolution has played in improving the Governance structures however cautioning the County bosses on the need to uphold integrity at all times. He urged them to ensure they fight to ensure equitable share of resources between the two levels of Government.
“At the national level, although the Legislature and the Judiciary play critical roles, the primary responsibility of implementing the Constitution rests with the Executive arm of government. It is mainly the Executive that has to formulate and execute appropriate implementing policies. At the County level, your Excellences are the heads of the County Executives. It is therefore your responsibility to formulate appropriate implementing policies to equitably share the county resources to all parts of the county,” he said.
The County Governments and the Judiciary have enjoyed strong partnership over the past 5 years. The Counties have experienced fair and independent judgment from the Judiciary. The Decision of the Supreme Court Advisory Reference No.3 of 2019 put to an end the perennial Standoffs during Division of Revenue between the two levels of Government.
The CoG Chairman described CJ Maraga’s tenure as a devolution friendly tenure that truly protected Devolution especially through the advisory. “In his words as quoted in the advisory, honorable David Maraga stated that, “As the Apex Court in this Country, it behoves us, nay, we are obligated by Article 259 of the Constitution, to have a global view of the problem giving rise to this reference and give the Country appropriate direction. To do otherwise would be a dereliction of our duty and obligation to the Kenyan people,” quoted Governor Oparanya.
Chief Justice Maraga retires as a hero and a champion of the people. A man that has been celebrated as a stickler for the rule of law. The President of Law society of Kenya Nelson Havi described it an honor for the retired CJ to receive praise while still alive.
In attendance were several Governors, CJ Maragas wife (Yucabeth), Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu,Devolution CS Hon Eugene Wamalwa, Members of Parliament and Heads of Independent commissions among other leaders.

Governors are asking the Trade Unions representing healthcare workers, to engage respective County Governments to end persistent strikes. Addressing Managing Editors drawn from different media houses, the Governors said most of the grievances raised by the striking healthcare workers were county specific and would be resolved amicably through such an engagement.
Council of Governors, Chairman H.E Hon. Wycliffe Oparanya reiterated the need for negotiation devoid of hard-line positions citing dialogue as an instrumental tool in putting an end to the perennial strikes witnessed in the health sector. H.E Oparanya expressed regret that the health workers had downed their tools when the country is still grappling with the crisis occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This strike is illegal and a violation of the right to life and the right to access to healthcare as provided under Article 26 and 43 of the constitution”, he said, warning of a potential crisis for patients. He said Counties may be forced to hire new health workers if the strike persists.
The Chairman of the Human Resource Committee at the Council, H.E James Ongwae said the increase in allowances demanded by the health workers would require a huge budget allocation. He said Counties are currently constrained financially. He said any increase would require the approval of the salary and remuneration commission SRC and commitment by the National Treasury to provide the resources. He however noted that some of the demands by the striking workers were untenable.
Devolution of the health sector has seen improvement of salaries and allowances for various staff. Registered clinical officers in job Group H who are diploma holders earn a gross pay of Kshs.56, 130, nurses with a certificate earn Kshs. 49,370 at entry level. The figures have risen over the years and most now are at Kshs83,380 and Kshs.71,870 following the 2017 collective bargaining agreement. Doctors have also benefitted from trade union negotiations which has seen their gross pay increased to Kshs234,750 monthly. This excludes allowances. H.E Ongwae said currently health workers are the highest paid in comparison to Teachers, Economists and Engineers.
Health workers are demanding corona virus protective gear, better pay, medical insurance cover. A number of health workers have succumbed to COVID-19 prompting the agitation. The Governors were speaking at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Council of Governors for Managing Editors at a Nairobi Hotel. The Governors acknowledged the media as a key partner in the Devolution matrix, assuring to always share information to enable it disseminated to the public in a timely and factual manner.

The Council of Governors on Friday 4th December 2020 launched the County COVID19 Social Economic Reengineering and Recovery strategy. The event was graced by HE Uhuru Kenyatta, the Deputy President among other invited dignitaries. The 5 pillar strategy shall revive the economy of the County Governments from the harsh effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Speaking during the event, Council of Governors Chairman expressed the optimism among County Governments to rekindle the economy by reawakening business that we forced to close due to COVID19. “We are optimistic that we shall revive a considerable number of businesses that have since collapsed during the pandemic,” said Council of Governors Chairman HE. Dr. Wycliffe Oparanya.
The 5 point strategy highlights the strategies that County Governments shall put in place to make their economies recover and thrive. These are, Boosting private sector activity; Policy, legislatives, and institutional reforms; Strengthening County Government’s preparedness and response to pandemics and disasters; Enhancing Information Communication Technology (ICT) capacity for business continuity; and Investing in human resource development. It will also be critical to institutionalize monitoring, evaluation, regular reporting and communication of the strategies up to grassroots level and across all communities and institutions in the counties
The Sh. 132b recovery plan will draw its financing from county budgets as well as development partners.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who launched the County Covid 19 Reengineering and Recovery Strategy called upon all stakeholders to focus their collective efforts in implementing the strategy. He also emphasized on the need for transparency and accountability when handling finances saying that Kenyans are counting on the government to revive the economy.
The head of state also commissioned the 50 floor G47 Ugatuzi towers which is set to house all devolution activities under one roof. The tower will also hold a devolution museum, the first of its kind, which will portray the country’s devolution journey even in generations to come.

The Council of Governors (GoG) in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning (MoLPP) and the National Land Commission (NLC) are currently implementing European Union funded Land Programme ‘Support to the Attainment of Vision 2030 through Devolved Land Reforms in Community Lands of Kenya’.
The programme’s overall objective is to improve food and nutrition security through equitable and secure access and management of land for better livelihoods and socio-economic development in all counties as per Vision 2030. This objective is expected to be achieved through four outputs: improved land management and administration in the counties, promotion and establishment of participatory land use planning methodologies, improved policy and legal framework for land line with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries & Forests (VGGT) and strengthening the capacity of research institutions on land tenure and management issues.
The Lands, Urban Development, Housing, Spatial Planning, Energy and Infrastructure Committee at the Council of Governors is the committees that considers all matters relative to Land and spatial planning. In a consultative meeting between the committee and the land programme through the Food and Agricultural Organization, County Governments cited a raft of challenges in the land sector including limited awareness on land laws and their regulations especially community land act 2016, land act 2012 and the land registration act 2012, lack of proper intergovernmental cooperation between the two levels of government in land adjudication and tilting processes, poor management of agricultural land mainly due to carry over laws that provide legal framework for management of public land as well as low prioritization of spatial planning among others.
Although the land programme has made significant strides in addressing the said challenges in the beneficiary counties, there is need to have a unified approach amongst all the County Governments in order to effectively address the challenges. COG provides such an opportunity and platform of bringing together all stakeholders within the land sector in a bid to comprehensively address such issues of parampount importance.
It is against this background that COG in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning (MoLHPP) and the National Land Commission (NLC) convened a consultative workshop from the 9th to 13th of November, 2020 at Kwale County bringing together CECMs in charge of land and spatial planning and the County Directors in charge of Physical and Land Use Planning.
The workshop deliberated various pertinent issues including land and natural resource governance, county physical and land use planning, community land, its recognition, protection and registration, technologies in planning and development control and legal and legislative frameworks governing the land sector.
The meeting adopted several resolutions that would contribute to the furtherance of the land programme. It resolved among others that; MoLPP in collaboration with NLC fast tracks the digitization of land records via the National Land Information System (NLIMS), County Governments to develop proper land use plans/spatial plans for their Counties to manage and control land fragmentation and subdivision by zoning areas for agriculture, County Governments to fast track the development of GIS based County Spatial Plans, All the 47 Counties to have substantive directors of physical and land use planning pursuant to the Physical and Land Use Planning Act 2019 and hire more physical and land use planners, Establishment of a fund for digitization of development control and establishment of functioning (GIS) labs in all the 47 County governments.
Further, the meeting assented that COG should organize a peer to peer learning for Counties including Governors on the use and application of GIS in Vihiga County and online development control system (E- Construction system) in Nairobi County, National and County Governments to strengthen implementation, enforcement & compliance of the relevant legal frameworks in the land sector, County Governments to domesticate and refine national laws by preparing subsequent laws at the County assemblies, Counties and other stakeholders to support, in a coordinated manner the registration of community land among others.

Thursday, 03 December 2020 16:08

COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS BBI PROPOSALS

“As the Council of Governors, we have unanimously resolved to have our proposals incorporated, alongside those from the County Assemblies which will be shared with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rt. Hon Raila Odinga and the secretariat of the Building Bridges Initiative for further consultation,” said H.E Wycliffe Oparanya, Chairman Council of Governors.
The Chairman’s sentiments comes as the County Governors conclude their two day consultations to discuss the BBI Draft at the Enashipai Spa and Resort in Naivasha. The meeting which also brought on board the Deputy Governors Forum and County Assemblies Forum Leadership was aimed at looking through the BBI draft and coming up with proposed amendments.
One key area of focus during the discussions was on Governance, the Council proposed that the Senate be strengthened by ensuring that it has veto powers on all bills, the position of Deputy Ministers to be introduced and they should be picked from parliament, The Summit, the National Council for County Legislatures, the Council of County Governors and Regional Economic Blocs be entrenched in the Constitution.

Why are wananchi not adhering to covid-19 protocols? Why are the covid-19 numbers soaring even higher as days go by and why is there minimal behavior change among wananchi, if any? These are some of the questions that the virtual consultative meeting held by the Council of Governors and county directors of communication on 10th November, 2020 sort to answer. The meeting was convened to strategize on implementation of resolutions arising from the 6th extra ordinary virtual session of the National and County Governments’ coordinating summit. Speaking during the consultative meeting, the County Director of communications, Kilifi County Mr. Mark Agutu emphasized on the need to embrace a new approach in fighting the covid-19 pandemic. “While it is important for us to enhance the capacity of our health care system to manage the covid-19 cases, we also need to focus on how we can realize behavior change”.
The now famous slogan ‘Bila barakoa hakuna Huduma’ or ‘No mask, no service’ is at the heart of behavior change. However, without proper implementation, it will remain to be just a catchphrase. To achieve the desired results of the campaign, ‘no mask no service’ a number of strategies were put forward. The Council of Governors in collaboration with the County Governments is to develop a unified campaign message that will be disseminated through broadcast, print and new media all over the country. This message will be translated into Kenya’s vernacular languages so that it’s able to reach all citizens. Further, bulk SMS messages will be used to ensure those who lack access to any of the fore mentioned media will not be left behind.
County Governments and the COG will also partner with other institutions in the private sector including NGOs to aid in the civic education exercise. Such partnerships will provide a large pool of resources which will significantly boost the capacity of the County Governments to manage the covid-19 pandemic. Based on the current trajectory of the virus, it is evident that more needs to be done to make people fully cognizant of how fatal the disease is. As such, individuals including community elders, religious leaders and other opinion makers of the society will play a key role in the community sensitization exercise. The more they talk about and live out the ‘no mask no service’ campaign, the more effective the campaign message will be.
Mwananchi will not only be influenced to believe covid-19 is real but also actively participate in flattening the covid-19 curve. Once implemented, the sensitization campaign poses immense benefits. The campaign also calls for a multi-sectoral approach which will bring together players in various industries from civil society and governments to the private sector.
Lastly, communication needs to be at the center of all the programmes being rolled out at the county level, especially with regards to the management of human response to the pandemic. Currently, as part of the campaign communication representatives are being included in all conversations and committees’ on matters covid-19. By doing so, it will ensure that all communication across the 47 counties is targeted, relevant, coordinated and consistent. The campaign is not just a National and County Government initiative but also every citizens’ personal responsibility.

Wednesday, 04 November 2020 19:28

NYAMIRA PUBLIC PARTICIPATION LAW & POLICY

In Kenya, public participation is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010, makes it a cornerstone of Kenya’s system of governance, a right of citizens, and an integral national value under Article 10 of the Constitution. Article 174(c) of the Constitution states that the object of devolution is to “enhance the participation of people in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them.” The Council of Governors (CoG) as the established under Section 19 of the Inter-governmental Relations Act, 2012 has the statutory mandate to facilitate capacity building for the 47 counties and has a lead role to play in initiating preventive or corrective action as the counties execute their functions to give effect to the Part 2 of the Forth Schedule to the constitution.
It is against this background that CoG held a three day workshop with the directorates of public participation and communication in Nyamira County whose objective was first to Sensitize the County on the draft policy on public participation and the model law on public participation and then help them improve their policy and draft Bill in order to enable them to introduce both to the legislative process in line with the Draft Kenya Public Participation Policy, 2018.
The two teams from the Council of Governors and the County reviewed the draft policy and came up with recommendations that would be incorporated in the policy. The Council also shared a schedule of events with the County Government to ensure that the policy and the draft Bill are passed by both the Executive and Assembly within this quarter. This will give room for proper citizen engagement in all development that is carried out in the County.
Finally, County Officers established that in order for the Public Participation Policy to be implemented successfully, and because of the good relationship between the departments of public participation and communication, there is also need for the communication policy to be finalized.

The Council of Governors (CoG), through its principal leadership, affirmed their approval of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot programme, citing its invaluable impact in the counties. The CoG expressed their appreciation during the Health Sector Inter-Governmental Forum on UHC; a two-day event held at the Sarova Whitesands Resort in Mombasa County. The forum, which was organized by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the CoG, focused on reviewing the achievements of the UHC programme and charting a way forward. Under the theme, “Scale Up the UHC under the Big Four Agenda”, Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya urged the National Government to increase the funds allocated to the Universal Health Coverage programme and implement it in all counties, owing to the programme’s proven results as one of the success stories in the Big Four Agenda.
The Head of state outlined interventions including the establishment of a mandatory scheme for all Kenyans to be managed by NHIF and regulated by the Ministry of Health.
“Government will provide health insurance cover to initially one million households who are vulnerable and unable to meet even that low cost premium. The identification of these one million households by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, and the Counties is set to begin in a few days across the entire country,” the President announced. Before he launched the national biometric registration of needy households for UHC by NHIF.
The President said the delivery of UHC is a MUST and will adopt the essential health benefits package which will enable Kenyans to gain access to an essential set of health services at a much lower cost.
The package covers identified areas including outpatient and inpatient services, communicable and non-communicable disease management, maternity, dialysis, radiology, mental health, minor and major surgery, substance abuse rehabilitation, emergency services and cancer treatment among others.
President Kenyatta pointed out that the pilot phase led to an increase in the uptake of health services in the country by 1.6 million new hospital visits during the 12-month period.

 

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