Governors re-ignite functions transfer debate

They say remaining functions should be devolved by March.

Monday January 18 2016

Transition Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi during interview at Nation Centre on October 14, 2015. The fate of Sh143 billion property of the defunct local authorities hangs in the balance as the term of the Transition Authority ends next month. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE |

Transition Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi during interview at Nation Centre on October 14, 2015. The fate of Sh143 billion property of the defunct local authorities hangs in the balance as the term of the Transition Authority ends next month. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SILAS APOLLO
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By PATRICK LANGAT
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Governors have re-ignited debate over the transfer of devolved functions, saying this must be done by March because the body to take over from the Transition Authority (TA) was not independent.

While TA, an independent constitutional body, was viewed as autonomous and impartial, the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee was an agency of the devolution ministry whose functions, governors say, might be skewed in favour of the national government.

It is on this premise that the county bosses want all remaining responsibilities released to them by March when the TA term ends, paving the way for the committee, a creation of the Intergovernmental Relations Act.

(READ: Transition Authority in rush to wind up power transfers)

Some of the functions yet to be devolved include roads, agriculture, betting and casinos, water services, assets and liabilities as well as establishment of county pensions.

REMAINING FUNCTIONS
Ms Jacqueline Mogeni, chief executive of the Council of Governors on Sunday said that being a department in the ministry of devolution, the Karega Mutahi-led committee would be biased against counties.

“The Intergovernmental Committee cannot be impartial in dealing with the transfer of functions like TA which is an independent body. And that is the concern we have even as the TA ends its term,” she told the Nation.

TA chairman Mr Kinuthia Wamwangi has called for an extension of its term to unbundle the remaining functions, a call supported by the Ombudsman.

Dr Otiende Amollo, Commission on Administrative Justice chairman said an extension would help streamline the release of responsibilities to counties.

“It is the commission’s view that some work in the transition period are incomplete and they have to be finished,” said Dr Amollo.

The calls have been supported by the Senate Public Accounts Committee, whose chairman, Dr Boni Khalwale, said a term extension was necessary to enable TA conclude the transfer of functions to counties.

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