Governors threaten to go to court over transfer of devolved functions

Munya says failure to hand over all devolved functions by March will be a breach of the Constitution.

Sunday January 10 2016

Council of Governors chairman and Meru Governor Peter Munya at the County Assembly before giving the state of the county address on December 03 2015. Governors will move to court if the national government does not transfer all devolved functions to counties by March 4. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Council of Governors chairman and Meru Governor Peter Munya at the Meru County Assembly before giving the state of the county address on December 03 2015. Governors will move to court if the national government does not transfer all devolved functions to counties by March 4. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By DAVID MUCHUI
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Governors have threatened to go to court should the national government fail to transfer all devolved functions to counties by March 4, 2016.

Speaking at Mugae in Buuri Sub-County during the launch of a land adjudication exercise on Saturday, the Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Peter Munya said failure to hand over all devolved functions by March will be a breach of the constitution.

The Meru County governor also opposed the extension of the Transition Authority’s (TA) term saying governors will not engage in any negotiations over the matter.

His sentiments come after Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri supported extension of the term of the TA, the body overseeing the transfer of devolved functions to counties.

“The Sixth Schedule section 15 of the Constitution says that all devolved functions shall be transferred by the last day of the third year of the transition period," Mr Munya said.

“So all pending county functions must be transferred regardless of the opposition, we want all the roads and other functions devolved alongside their budgetary allocation by March 4,” said the governor adding that the law is clear on which roads should be devolved and that the court has ruled in favour of county governments.

“If the Transition Authority does not comply, we are going to go to court for contempt, we are not interested in any negotiations with the TA any more. Their time is up and the law requires that they transfer and gazette all devolved functions by March 4,” Mr Munya said.

Mr Munya said the Authority should accomplish all restructuring by the expiry of its term to comply with the law.

The CoG chairman noted that only a county government can approve the retention of devolved functions by the national government through a written agreement.

DEVOLVED SYSTEM

“No one should make noise in Nairobi saying that wananchi do not want the functions to be fully devolved,” said Mr Munya.
The TA had three years from 2013 to oversee a fully devolved system, but by 2015, a number of its assignments had not been completed.

Its tasks include auditing and transfer of assets and liabilities, rationalising human resources between the national and county governments, as well as establishing county pensions and declaring county governments’ public service.

(READ : Attorney general denies blame in delayed transfer of devolved functions)

The authority had sought another three years, saying its work had been slowed by "the environment and circumstances" beyond its control.

Mr Munya also dismissed Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s ‘Punda Amechoka’ referendum initiative that proposes the scrapping of the Senate, post of Woman Representatives and nominated legislators.

“The Mwananchi who was burdened by lack of services during the centralised government has been relieved of the burdens by devolution, which overburdened donkey are we being told about? Devolution cannot be a burden to the citizen it is supposed to help,” the governor said.

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