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The Council of Governors, with support from the Ministry of Education and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), has been providing technical support to the County Governments towards the rollout and implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum at the Early Childhood Development and Education level. Further, since the 2017/18 financial year, County Governments have been beneficiaries of the KShs 2 billion annual Vocational Training Centres Conditional Grant from the National Treasury to enhance access and quality of vocational training in the country.
On 24th and 25th October, the Education Committee convened a sectoral forum with the Chief Officers in charge of Education at Radisson Blu Nairobi to address emerging issues regarding the rollout of the Competency Based Curriculum and the ongoing review of the Vocational Training Centres Conditional Grant Guidelines. The multi-stakeholder forum included representation from the Ministry of Education, the TVET Authority and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
The Chief Officers underwent capacity building to understand the need for enhanced resource mobilization and allocation towards effective ECDE programming in the implementation of the new Curriculum. This is in line with the Basic Education Act, 2013 and its subsidiary legislation & policies including the National Curriculum Policy, 2019 and the National Pre-Primary Education Policy, 2018. The integration of pre-primary education into the basic education system is one of the key reforms in the education sector hence the need to enhance support to the County Governments in the effective implementation of early childhood education. Through this forum, the Orange Book Addendum was disseminated, which lists all the approved learning resources to guide purchasing and acquisition of the resources by the County Governments.
On the other hand, the National Treasury in consultation with CoG and the Ministry of Education established the Vocational Training Centres Conditional Grant in the 2017/18 financial year to support the County Governments in the rehabilitation and equipping of the Centres to enhance enrollment and uptake of vocational training. The Grant was accompanied by its utilization Guidelines to elaborate on the roles of each concerned National and County office in the National and County Governments to ensure the smooth utilization of the Grant. However, the 2017/18 financial year financial reports did not adhere to the Guidelines. Given the role of the Chief Officers as accounting officers for the Education Department and for the Grant, their input towards the review of the Vocational Training Centres Conditional Grant Guidelines was captured to ensure that the COs fully understand the need for timely financial and narrative reporting on the utilization of the Grant to the National Treasury through CoG.
The following were the resolutions from the meeting;
1.The Vocational Training Centres Conditional Grant Guidelines to clearly delineate the various voteheads in line with the actual costs. This is particularly important in the Examinations Fee and Local Travel & Transport voteheads which need to be higher to cater for the various national examination charges and the geographical vastness & inaccessibility of Centres in the Counties.
2.There is need for clear demarcation of the differences between Public Technical and Vocational Colleges (National Government) and Public Vocational Training Centres (County Government) by the Ministry of Education to enable the County Governments effectively mobilize youth to enroll into the Vocational Training Centres and not to suffer poached trainees from the VTCs.
3.The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, through CoG, is to fast-track technical support to the County Governments to capacity build the ECDE teachers during the November-December holidays. A compiled training schedule with data from all the Counties will be developed and shared with KICD to hold the user-demand driven workshops.
4.Escalate education issues to the full Council to seek political goodwill towards prioritization of sector issues for effective service delivery, including staffing. This includes the implementation of the ECDE teachers’ Scheme of Service and the review of the Vocational Training Instructors Scheme of Service. Further, this includes the absorption of the County ECDE Field Officers devolved from the Teachers’ Service Commission
5.CoG is to lead the harmonization of ECDE School Feeding Programme Guidelines to rationalize existing feeding programmes. This is to provide a standard costing plan for the implementation of School Feeding Programmes and to enhance investment into child health.
6.Fast implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum; need for teacher training and capacity building on the Curriculum, political goodwill, instructional material, learning materials to implement the Curriculum; costing and financing the Curriculum’s implementation (financing capacity building for curriculum implementers and the entire CBC)
7.A capitation grant, similar to that for the Vocational Training Centres, was proposed to supplement the County Governments’ current resource allocation and investment in ECDE programmes. This is to mark up on current ECDE teachers’ remuneration and infrastructure development in the ECDE sector.
8.Sensitization of the Excellency Governors on scaling down of County bursary allocations as this reduces allocations for ECDE and Vocational Training. The prioritization of bursary allocations is counterintuitive towards the implementation of the two devolved functions in the Education sector.
9.The County ECDE Resource Centres should be revived and strengthened to make them centres for capacity building of the County Officers and ECDE teachers on the Competency Based Curriculum. This will enhance all County Governments’ capacity to address emerging issues in ECDE and effectively cascade continuous training on matters in the sector.

Friday, 25 October 2019 12:59

THE KENYA ACCOUNTABLE DEVOLUTION PROGRAM II

The World Bank in collaboration with the Council of Governors and the National Treasury has been working on the accreditation of COG to Green Climate Fund under the Devolution and Locally-led Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Programme. COG through the National Treasury requested the World Bank to support its effort to be accredited in order to tap into the Green Climate Change Fund (GCF) and other climate funds to support Counties. The Institute of Law and Environmental Guidelines (ILEG) was contracted to undertake the process. The GCF is the most promising international fund for climate change action, hence the reason CoG is looking to tap into the fund. The CoG will receive the funds as a grant manager hence the fiduciary standards have to be put under considerations.

The Institute of Law and Environmental Guidelines has carried out a gap analysis on the COG as an initial requirement towards the Council of Governors secretariat’s capacity to be accredited as an executing entity. From the assessment, CoG has come out as the most suitable organization to undertake this activity. COG rightfully forms a platform for collective bargaining as it plays a coordinating and facilitative role in the devolution space. Some of the issues arising include; Key climate challenges including limited resources, policy and legislative gaps since most get stuck at the County Assembly, training needs among others.

In the fight against climate change, Counties have established devolved frameworks for Climate Change such as ward adaptation committees, developing proposals to raise funds as well as mainstreaming climate in development planning.

During a meeting where ILEG did a presentation to the Council of Governors secretariat on the findings, the Council of Governors CEO called for ring fencing of the grants. She also urged that access to the climate funds to be pegged on performance and improvement of the money allocated to the sector.

ILEG also held a meeting with Excellency Governors and CECMs in Charge of the Tourism and Natural Resources Management Committee and took them through the progress made so far in accrediting COG to Green Climate Fund and lauded the process which will be supported under the KADP II as a defining moment for Counties towards enhancing up scaling climate action.

Further experience sharing on the implementation of KADP II program in the pilot counties ; Narok, Siaya, Kwale and Makueni took place with counties highlighting critical milestones accomplished under the programme and the need to scale it out to more other Counties in KADP III.

Under this backdrop, Tourism and Natural Resources Management Committee held their quarterly meeting to discuss the sector issues such as; the need for Counties that have not signed TIPs to finalize and implement, counties to operationalize County Environment Committees as well as the Climate Change units in order to address the threats emanating from Climate Change and environmental management, role of counties in management of county forests, the operationalization of the intergovernmental framework on water, implementation of the Mining policy brief, Compensation schemes for victims of human wildlife conflict and Transfer of ownership of museums.

Various sector institutions represented in the partners engagement session include; The Word Bank, The National Treasury, NEMA, Kenya Forest Service, Water Sector Development Partners Group, Kenya School of Government, and Water Sector Trust Fund.

Friday, 25 October 2019 11:22

COOPERATION IN THE ENERGY SECTOR

“Energy being a key enabler to the big 4 agenda should be taken seriously at the County level. What can you do without energy?’’, said Dr. Shadrack Kipkemoi as he gave his opening remarks during a two day quarterly meeting for Energy CECMs held on the 14th and 15th of October at the COG Offices. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the role of Counties in the Energy act and possible areas of partnership between counties and various stakeholders in the energy sector among them Ministry of Energy, KENTRACO, KPLC, REREC, BIO- NET, World Energy Council, Petroleum Institute of East Africa as well EPRA all of whom were present in the meeting.
The Energy Act, 2019 and the energy policy was one critical area that was deliberated on during the first day of the meeting where the CECs and other stakeholders present were sensitized on their roles regarding the new act. The other areas were on electricity transmission infrastructure in the country, plan for sufficient electricity generation and transmission, implementation of rural electrification projects and possible areas of partnerships between county governments and stakeholders in these areas.
The way forward from the meeting was that the Ministry of Energy in partnership with the Council of Governors to organize a workshop to sensitize counties further on the Energy Act 2019, County Development plans need to be harmonized with National Energy plans to determine future power demand, work with KETRACO in marketing counties to potential investors in generation, manufacturing, mining, counties should set aside public land for future substations and create way leave corridors for transmission lines, preparation and update of the country electricity distribution master plans as well as sensitize the county residents on the benefits of reliable transmission infrastructure.
On the second day Counties focused on how they can promote use of bio gas and possible areas of partnerships with the Kenya bio- gas stakeholders Network (BIO- NET) on data collection and data analytics for energy investment planning and policy. The participants were further sensitized on the Legal Notice 100 on Liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG) Regulations. It was resolved that counties will come up with clear master plans and liaise with the National Government to be able to tap on to the benefits from the biogas sector.
Counties were also encouraged to consider establishing energy centers in their respective counties. Therefore, a meeting to sensitize counties on biogas issues will be conducted to enable them come up with concrete action to get this running in counties.
To cap it all, the consensus from the meeting was that Counties have been given more responsibility in the Energy Act 2019 to ensure energy efficiency and conservation is implemented at the county level, participants called for the Council of Governors assistance in mobilizing resources from donors to support capacity building and sensitization on the energy potential.

Friday, 25 October 2019 05:03

SENATE PROCEEDINGS ON THE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

“Counties are not aware of the contractual agreements on the Managed Equipment Services (MES) between the National Ministry of Health and the suppliers of the equipment,” said Council of Governors Chairman, H.E. Wycliffe Oparanya during his submissions before a Senate Ad-hoc committee formed to investigate the leasing of the Medical Equipment Services

In the Senate Committee meeting chaired by Isiolo County Senator Ms. Fatuma Dulo, the Council of Governors Chairman clarified on the conditions under which the equipment were delivered to Counties 5years ago. The matter has been brought to the attention of the Senate on several occasions. It was noted that even as Counties continue to use the equipment, a myriad of challenges continue to surround the equipment with the most grave one thus far being the annual payments remitted by Counties towards leasing. County Governments now remit 200 million every year up from 95 million in 2014 when the equipment were first supplied.

Speaking during the meeting, Council of Governors Chairman stated that the only participation by the Counties at the time was only in the select two high capacity hospitals that would benefit from the scheme. “County Governments were requested to give two high volume hospitals that would benefit from Managed Equipment Services,” said the Chairman. “There was no consultation in the entire conceptualization of the program. Unfortunately the lack of participation by the COG or the County Governments led to duplication as some Counties received equipment they had already procured,” Governor Oparanya continued.

Emerging from the meeting was the fact that County Governments were not involved in discussing the needs and service delivery priorities in health which would then inform the delivery of the equipment.

Senator Fatuma Dulo, Chairperson of the ad-hoc committee noted that an Auditor General’s report had quoted that over 25billion was the amount County Governments had paid to the lease of the said equipment this far. She questioned the value for money in the implementation of the scheme.

H.E Mureithi Nderitu, Governor Laikipia County who was present in the meeting noted that the mode of disbursements towards the project contravene the Public Finance Management Act as the monies are not channeled through the County Revenue Account. Further, Counties are charged a one off fee despite having received different equipment. What then would be the basis for this charge?

To date, the Council of Governors has put immense efforts to get critical information on the scheme. The Council has been in correspondence with office of the Attorney General, Senate and the Ministry of Health on the same. So far, no information has reached the Council regarding the same. It’s in view to this that the Kakamega Governor praised the move by the

senate to probe the scheme. “Just as with the Cuban agreement, the concept is noble. However, can counties be given the opportunity to identify what their needs.” Decried the Chairman CoG.

The ad-hoc committee on health was formed to review whether Counties were involved in prioritizing the program, look into the viability of the leasing arrangement versus purchase among other. They are scheduled to receive correspondences between the Council of Governors (on behalf of the 47 County Governments) and the Senate, Ministry of Health and office of the Attorney General. This will shape their recommendation over the future and viability of the scheme going forward.

In order to realize the aspirations of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Kenya, the Council of Governors together with the Ministry of Health held discussions to deliberate on key emerging issues in the 4 pilot Counties. The meeting chaired by H.E. Wycliffe Oparanya echoed a resolve to have all County Governments fully support the Universal Health Coverage so as to allow all Kenyans benefit from the program. However, he noted that in the implementation of UHC all parties must respect all actors. Oparanya called for a clarity in implementation of the project and the sources of financing of UHC as well as clear mechanism of flow of funds.
Health Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Sicily Kariuki called for speedy resolve in addressing issues on Primary Health Care such as sanitation and nutrition. She noted that for success on the implementation of the Primary Care approach, the ministry will be looking at skills set within the Counties. In regards to medical Insurance, CS Kariuki noted that a review by a panel of experts brought out the fact that the current Civil servant scheme was the best performing scheme so far, however, the enhanced schemes have bad indications of the performance. A Proposal to have all the seventy four schemes under NHIF fall under one or three manageable umbrellas was something the Ministry was working on.
Presenting on UHC through its Primary Health Care approach, Ms. Susan Mochache, CBS, Principal Secretary, Health, appealed for the need towards reduction of “out of pocket charges” on Kenyans in order to access health services, adding that some of the lessons learnt was that Kenya faired below par in terms of the required number of health workers required to offer services. “There is need to recruit additional Community health workers in order to fill the gaps. I therefore suggest it be anchored into law in order to allow proper remuneration of these Community Health Workers”.
In terms of providing Primary Health Care, Ms. Mochache noted that the Country’s referral system is experiencing heavy challenges mainly being that most counties level 4 hospitals were overcrowded despite availability of other lower levels.
According to the Devolution and ASALs PS Hon. Julius Sunkuli, his ministry was working with the Council of Governors to develop a comprehensive framework of consolation and cooperation towards boosting its implementation forum.
Despite the challenges, Counties that are implementing UHC have also expressed their successes for instance in Isiolo County, Governor, Dr. Mohamed A. Kuti noted that the implementation of UHC was one of the feel good effects of a working devolved system, adding that the overflow of patients from neighboring Counties as an indicator for the much needed services countrywide. However, he called upon management of the whole system to ensure commodities are available for prompt service delivery.
Makueni Governor, H.E. Kivutha Kibwana, called for clarity in terms of the sources of funds to be provided by the National Government for the implementation of UHC.
Overall, both Counties and National Government agreed that the future of Affordable Universal Health Care in Kenya is very big, however due to ethical issues in the sector many companies are bleeding, thus what can Counties do? The Cabinet Secretary, MoH agreed that any pending issues need to be ironed out before its presentation to the summit late this year. Also present during the meeting were Governors from Kisumu, Bomet, Nakuru, Laikipia, Wajir, Isiolo, Nyeri, Turkana and County Executive Committee Members of Health from the Counties.

Counties have for a long while been projected and perceived as dens of corruption with incidences of public finance mismanagement reported. Whereas most of the counties were enfeebled about having received qualified reports, the Auditor General’s Report for the FY 2017/18 showed that Makueni and Nyandarua were the only two Counties with unqualified reports. In an environment that is trying to streamline management of public resources, this pointed out to a lack of understanding of either what Public Finance Management dictates or the implications of the queries.
It is against this backdrop that the Council of Governors with support from the World Bank will hold a peer to peer learning mission for CECM’s Finance in all the counties to improve their knowledge on the audit process using the Nyandarua County Model. Ahead of the meeting, we engaged with the CoG Finance Technical teams to help unravel some of the key issues relating to this. Mr. Joseph Kung’u from the Trade Committee at the Council of Governors had this to say.
PFMWhat is Public Finance Expenditure and Management?
Simply put, it is the prudent management of public resources by public officers for the purpose of providing services to the citizenry. Public Finance Management (PFM) is a concept applicable to both the private and the public sector. In the private sector, it especially entails Non-Governmental Institutions entrusted with public money for expenditure in public spaces to support and deliver services. In the Public sector it entails the utilization of people’s resources garnered through taxes or grant or other revenue streams for delivery of essential services to its citizenry.

What is the source of County monies?
Counties have three sources of funding namely; own source revenue, equitable share and Conditional and unconditional grants. Their own sources revenue is derived from rates rents, levies and user fees charged from services rendered in the counties. Equitable share allocated to Counties by Parliament, is nationally collected revenues shared between the National Government and County Government. This forms the biggest source of County revenue stream and as such there must be a conversation on how the allocations are distributed. The last source, conditional and unconditional grants is derived from either the National Government or Development Partners who want to attain a specific agenda in all or some counties. The Revenues collected by the County Governments are deposited in the County Revenue Fund (CRF) and its withdrawal for expenditure can only be authorized by the Controller of Budget.
We cannot talk about revenue without understanding where the resources are spent in the delivery of services. In Public Service, expenditure is directed to emoluments of public officers, construction of roads, and provision of essential services like medicine among others. In Kenya, the expenditure is guided by the Public Procurement and Disposal Act and the Public Finance and Management (PFM) ACT. The Acts provides for the role of the County Treasury, the Accounting officers in each departments the budgeting process and the expenditure process.
The process of expenditure as guided by the law requires that each County Government before the beginning of the financial year is required to submit its budget for approval to the County Assembly for approval. The enactment of the Appropriation Act gives the County the legal powers to spend under the approved budget lines and submitted to the Controller of Budget to enable the office approve release of revenue from the CRF for expenditure.
As part of setting up internal controls, each county must have an internal audit department and committee. The stronger both of these organs are, the better the accountability and quality of audit reports. This is because both conduct a continuous audit process reviewing expenditure Vis a Vis the budget. Where there are any risks, they are queried before end of year. The Auditor General at the end of the year reviews how the projects are implemented as an external independent oversight body.
What then does a qualified, unqualified and adverse report mean?
An unqualified Audit report is a clean audit opinion where the auditor express their opinion on the financial statements that they reflect a true and fair view. This means that the auditor has reviewed the financial statements and the internal procedures of the organization and is satisfied that the report prepared by the management reflect fair expenditure.
Qualified audit report is an audit report where the auditor has been able to express his opinion on the affairs of the organization with regards to financial statements and internal control but raises has raised issues that are material but not pervasive. In this case the auditor general has reviewed the expenditure and the system in the County and has raised some material but not highly significant with regards to expenditure and system process in the County.
An adverse report on the other hand the auditor has reviewed the financial statements and the systems employed and is able to express an opinion to the affairs of the where in his few they are misrepresented, misstated and do not reflect the true and fair view of the organsation. In this case the auditor general gives an opinion that the financial statements of a County presents material breach in expenditure or policies and systems.
In case of a Disclaimer, the Auditor means that he/she is unable to give an opinion of the affairs of the financial statements and systems being used this can either be due to lack of cooperation, scanty information provided, no documents provided among others and the auditor is unable to conduct all audit procedures. Meaning that no audit could be conducted under the circumstances hence the Auditor General is unable to ascertain if the expenditure and systems in the County were employed as required or stipulated.
It is important for the public to note that audit reports by auditors are objective and reflect their opinion using the generally accepted standards and audit procedures to test the true and fair view of the status of affair of the organizations’ internal control system vis a vis financial management in the operations of an organization.
What is the role of National Government and Independent institutions in Supporting Counties in prudent financial Management?
There are four institutions that are critical in supporting Counties in prudent Financial Management being:
i) National Treasury through training of officers in financial reporting, use of the IFMIS system, internal audit function, budgeting process among others. This capacity building initiatives has been a continuous process by the National Treasury which has seen the quality of the financial statements improve over the years.
ii) Office of the Controller of Budgets is mandated to ensure that withdrawals are properly supported, authorized by law and issue quarterly reports on budget implementation. The office has been sensitizing Counties on withdrawal procedures and what is required to ensure that there is no delay in release of funds from the CRF.
iii) Commission on Revenue Allocation apart from recommending the equitable share to both levels of Governments are mandated to enhance revenue sources and ensure fiscal responsibility in Counties. To achieve the mandate the commission is expected to support Counties through capacity building and system development to ensure the realization. Over the years the Commission has been instrumental in supporting counties to increase their revenue potential through system development and trainings. Further, they have championed the formation of County Budget Economic Forums (CBEF) to ensure fiscal management of resources.
iv)The Office of the Auditor General who is mandated to audit County Governments and give opinions on the affairs of the County. To improve prudence and audits the office has been undertaking capacity building for internal audit departments and County officials on how to deal with audit quarries to ensure that they do not reoccur in the subsequent reports.
What will be your Parting shot?
In view of prudent financial management, Counties need to strengthen their internal audit departments and ensure their independence is maintained through establishment of internal audit committees. This will help identify and deal with the risks and challenges way before they are highlighted by the auditor general at the end of the Financial Year. Internal Auditors are most of the time seen as enemies of the organization as opposed to risk mitigation and one of the most critical pillar in an institution in supporting the management in risk management. Six years down the lane, if the internal audit departments are to be strengthened with qualified and competent staff, we will have better reports.

The global community has experienced climate change related catastrophes, the world is warming up faster than ever before. Consequently, the United Nations Secretary General called for urgent action by Member States through their participation in the Climate Action Summit (CAS) which took place on 23rd September, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters, New York at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The Council of Governors was represented by Chairman, CoG, H.E Wycliffe Oparanya and H.E Lee Kinyanjui through their participation in sessions on Local Leadership for Climate: Solutions to the Climate Emergency.
The Summit objective was to develop ambitious solutions in six areas: a global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities; sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts and alignment of public and private finance with a net zero economy.
The United Nations Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit provided a platform for Member States to mobilize new partnerships, resources and actions that motivated more ambitious national government commitments ahead of COP 25 and garnered new resources to support new and existing sub National climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.
Kenya as co-lead of the Infrastructure Climate change and Local Action (ICLA) track has undertaken a number of activities aimed at building political momentum to UNSG’s climate action Summit generally, and for ICLA track in particular and it’s sub-track on “Climate Resilience for the Most Vulnerable Urban Dwellers”, while noting that the poorest urban dwellers are more exposed than the average population to climate related shocks and other extreme weather events.
The Sub national Mobilization Sub-Track of the ICLA Coalition and Nature Based Solutions Coalition focused on working together with the alliance of city networks and core partners of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, UN-Habitat, UNECE, FAO and engaged Member States to host a globally focused dialogue between leading local leaders and ministers/representatives from national governments to highlight sub national progress and action to date and discuss areas for alignment, collaboration and investment to accelerate and support sub national climate action.
Climate change poses a critical threat to future development, particularly in developing countries where urban poverty is widespread and key assets such as infrastructure are underdeveloped for even current needs. These extreme events pose a costly hazard to infrastructure in terms of degradation, necessary maintenance, and potential decrease in lifespan due to climatic impacts. Climate resilience infrastructure safeguards and strengthen socio-economic growth from current and future climate impacts. Bringing together a representative group of leading local leaders, mayors, and governors and ministers at the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit helped frame the role of sub national actors in climate action by showcasing commitments, ambition, solutions, and progress of cities and local governments to date, uncover the biggest challenges cities face in realizing their ambition, and identify opportunities for increased co-creation and collaboration, including national government support through existing initiatives and new UNSG Summit initiatives being announced in New York.
The Summit also emphasized that a transition to zero-carbon cities should be at the heart of national development strategies, underpinned by a meaningful partnership between visionary national governments and innovative local governments. Sub-national governments are too often confronted by barriers that can constraint the implementation of their climate plans and the ability of national governments to unlock the potential of cities to drive sub-national action. In a global survey of 90 city governments, over half of cities reported that national policy frameworks did not adequately support their municipal green agendas
Kenya convened a Ministerial high-level meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of UNGA (2019) as a call to Member States to translate peace commitments into action, beginning with the national ownership of the peace agenda. The event highlighted the Country Specific approached that target prevention, root cause of conflict and current security and fragility challenges in order to build resilience and deliver on peace, within its borders and with its neighbors. This approach is in keeping with the 2016 resolutions on the review of the United Nations Peace building Architecture which reaffirm the primary responsibility of Government and authorities in identifying, driving and directing priorities, strategies and activities for sustaining peace for all segments of the society in partnership with various stakeholders.

“The time has come for the East African Countries to come together to bring development in our countries through utilizing our cultural diversities in trade, education and tourism to promote social, economic and intellectual cohesion and intergration.” – H.E Samia Suluhu- Deputy President United Republic of Tanzania
From the cultural dances, to the attires, to the songs and the food, to the artifacts and souvenirs that is what one expects in the Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST). This is an EAC Arts and Culture Festival which aims to promote regional socio-cultural integration through arts and culture by providing a platform to showcase culture as a primary driver of regional integration. Jamafest came to life after the EAC Council of Ministers in September 2011 directed the EAC Secretariat to organize regular festivals of the kind, and Rwanda was consequently selected to host the first edition of the Festival in 2013, with Kenya hosting the 2015 edition and Uganda the 2017 edition. It is envisaged the festival will be held biennially and hosted by Partner States rotationally. The 2019 edition of the Festival held in Dar es salaam, Tanzania on 20th – 29th September 2019 and was themed “Cultural Diversity: A Key Driver to Regional Integration, Economic Growth and Promotion of Tourism”.
The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Social Services in partnership with the Council of Governors and the County Governments came together to get cultural troupes and individuals to represent the Country in activities such as; the carnival, art exhibitions, a symposium, live performances, films, literary works, a fashion show, culinary arts and tradition games.
Some of the key performances in the official opening ceremony, Team Kenya, gave a stunning performance on “Tushangilie Kenya” a renown patriotic song, led by the author, David Wasongo and supported by all Kenyan performing teams like the MMUST Choir, the dodo dancers from Aher0, the Mijikenda dancers from Coast, the Tharaka Nithi Drummers and many more performers, unified to celebrate and showcase the beauty of Kenya in a song. The Burundi Dance group gave an outstanding performance while beating the huge drums that they carried on their heads and the women danced beautifully to the tunes of the drums. The Rwandan dancers were not left behind as they gracefully entered the stadium showcasing their famous cultural dance. The men stamped their feet tied with bells to give rhythm to their dance and the women were like beautiful peacocks dancing and expressing themselves with their long arms and waists, their smiles were infectious and eyes were locked on them as they performed their act.
Speaking during the official opening, the Deputy President of the United Republic of Tanzania indicated, “We as Tanzanians are glad to host the 4th Edition of the JAMAFEST, we are glad that in the next few days we will interact with participants from the East African Community and take pride in our different yet very similar African traditions and Culture.” She added that, “The time has come for the East African Countries to come together to bring development in our countries through utilizing our cultural diversities in trade, education and tourism to promote social, economic and intellectual cohesion and integration.” She finished her remarks by saying, “The people of Tanzania are very peaceful Country that has very many tourist destinations that I encourage all participants to visit, eat our different cuisines that are readily available and enjoy or beautiful country that is very secure.”
Also speaking during the ceremony, was the Chairman of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon Dr. Ali Kirunda Kivenjija, and Uganda’s Deputy Prime Minister who noted that JAMAFEST is one of the activities that is envisaged to bring tangible benefits of regional integration. In his speech, he noted that “The EAC is determined to ensure that accessibility of the various regions is brought to reality so that we can enlarge our markets and common interests. This festival allows our people to see the various opportunities that lie within our cultural traditions in the various areas could be tapped into. The EAC is proud to bring together all the partnering states to have discussions on how we can improve our regional integration, enhance our economic growth and promote tourism in the various countries.”
In the preceding days, the performing teams had various platforms to showcase their acts as well as the technocrats who sat down to present various technical papers on what could be done in line with the theme of this year’s festival.
A take away for the County Governments, was an opportunity to replicate the same at the Country level, since Kenya has a diversity of cultures, this should be an annual event that brings together all our cultures and all groups to showcase their acts before the biannual festival as this will only enhance the visibility of team Kenya as well as showcase our diversity.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 07:11

UGATUZI INITIATIVE

The Council of Governors has initiated a Constitutional Reforms program dubbed “Ugatuzi Initiative”. This follows consultations to consider and propose revision of the Constitution of Kenya with the aim of strengthening devolution . Ugatuzi proposes amendments in the areas of sharing of revenue raised nationally and from natural resources, governance, security, elections and strengthening political parties among others. Among the critical recommendations, the initiative proposes, is a structure that supports a national executive comprising of the President as the Head of State, Deputy President and a Prime Minister as the head of government with two Deputy Prime Ministers. Furthermore, the initiative calls for the independence of the Office of the Attorney General with security of tenure, proposes that each County should have it’s own County Attorney and Law office as well as County Gazette to deal with specific legal matters and legislation.Ugatuzi proposes that the Senate shall consider all bills including the one on Revenue sharing. In addition, the Senate shall be involved in the approval of international treaties. On equitable sharing of National Revenue, the Council of Governors proposes that for every financial year, the equitable share of revenue raised nationally for County Governments should not be less than 45% of the previous year’s revenue collected by National Government.
In reference to the last 6 years since Devolution started, the Council through Ugatuzi have proposed the filling of a vacancy in the office of the deputy governor with the approval of the County Assembly. Similarly, provide for ground and procedures for removal of the Deputy Governor. In regards to the ever rising cases of insecurity being experienced in most parts of the counties, Ugatuzi calls for County representation in the National Security Council and the formation of the County Policing Authority as established in the constitution. With this in place, each County will then establish its own County Police Service.
Following the address to the media by the Chairman of the Council of Governors H.E Wycliffe Oparanya, the Council will move further to discuss the details for input in t0 the bill and the roadmap on the public participation to shed more light to the public on the proposed amendments. The Chairs of the Committee Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, and H.E. Kiraitu Murungi, Governors Makueni and Meru County respectively will spearhead the process in the phases to come.

The Physical and Land Use Planning Act 2019 confers the Cabinet Secretary for Lands and Physical planning the role of making regulations on the Physical land use and planning with the view of making regulations for the classification and inter county projects. In this regard, physical and land use planning prescribes the appropriate use of land to ensure that there is harmony, efficiency, productivity, equity, aesthetically appealing human settlements and ultimately a sustainable environment for the current and future generations. This is achieved through application of policies and standards, design of inter relationship of activities as well as preparation, enforcement of plans and regulation of physical and land use profession.
The Ministry of Lands Physical Planning and Urban Development coordinated a stakeholder engagement session in the development of regulations that will classify strategic inter county projects. Prior to this discussions Directors and CECMs from the Lands and Infrastructure department in the Counties held meetings to give input to the draft document whose overall outlook seemed to claw back on the spirit of devolution. For instance under development control, implementation and monitoring section 69 categorization of projects the draft noted that the Cabinet Secretary was to be in charge of metropolitan area sect 4 of 69. All this sections are however devolved functions and thus converting the regulations spatially will take up the roles and responsibilities of counties.
The discussions were kick started through stakeholder meeting involving all sector players supported by the FAO. In the meeting officiated by the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Planning Mr. Gideon Mung’aro urged all players to add value into the draft document in order to ensure that projects implemented by both levels of government are properly coordinated.
County Governments represented by the CEC Lands and Physical Planning Kericho County, Mr. Ngeno Barnabas decried the manner in which the regulations were prepared without the involvement of Counties. He further called upon adequate time for the CoG and Counties to hold meaningful discussions to enrich the document so that the functions of both levels of government in implementing the regulations are clearly stipulated.
Thereafter, after several discussions with the Directors, the Chief Executive Committee members, both National and County Government representative jointly reviewed the regulations to look into how projects that are in essence devolved but have to be implemented at both levels of government can be mutually developed.
FAO representative Ms. Ursla noted that in the realization of Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya 2010 FAO was ready to support processes of land use. “The urge to improve towns and infrastructure is quite high especially with the advent of devolution. Hence we need to put up measures to avoid getting to the extreme of climate change”, she said.
The meeting appreciated that in the design of the regulations, both levels of government are distinct and inter dependent and this same spirit needed be embraced. The draft regulations were forwarded to the Principal Secretary Ministry of Lands for further consideration and review through public participation.
Other participants in this discussions include; County Attorneys, Kenya Power and Lighting Company, Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Airports Authority, Communications Authority, Kenya Institute of Planners, Survey of Kenya, Institute of Surveyors Kenya, Kenya National Highway Authority.
Previously, CECs Lands, Urban development, Planning and Housing in a consultative meeting reviewed the Built Environment Bill and the Slum Upgrading and Prevention Bill.
The Built Environment Bill addresses issues such as a lack of a comprehensive legislation for building control, lack of a legally enforceable building regulation in Kenya, lack a legal framework at the moment to address dangerous buildings that pose a threat to life as well as a limited capacity for building control functions at the county levels. It therefore seeks to establish standards and practices relating to building, maintenance and associated works. It also establishes the National Buildings Inspectorate for auditing of buildings, preparing building manuals and certifying and accredited checkers and technical assistance and capacity for building for counties.
The Slum upgrading and Prevention Bill on the other hand was brought by the need for people to have a fundamental right to live with basic dignity and in decent conditions. As is often said “If slums are allowed to deteriorate, governments can lose control of the populace and slums become areas of crime and disease that impact the whole city”. The upgrading efforts would help to create a dynamic community where there is a sense of ownership, entitlement and inward investment in the area. One of the key elements of slum upgrading is legalizing or regularizing properties and bringing secure land tenure to residents. The Bill will therefore provide for upgrading and re-development of slums, put in place measures to prevent further development of slums and provide for institutional and funding framework.

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