Transition Authority's term should be extended, says Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri

Thursday January 7 2016

Transition Authority chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi at a past event. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL

Transition Authority chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi at a past event. The Devolution ministry says the Transition Authority's term, the body charged with overseeing the transfer of devolved functions to counties, should be extended. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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The Devolution ministry says the term of the Transition Authority (TA), the body overseeing the transfer of devolved functions to counties, should be extended.

At a press conference in Nairobi held by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, his first since taking over, he said there are "core functions" the TA is yet to finish.

"It is estimated that 65 per cent of the work is done. However, important core functions are pending," Mr Kiunjuri, who replaced Ms Anne Waiguru in December, told journalists.

The authority had three years from 2013 to oversee a fully devolved system, but by 2015, a number of its assignments had not been completed.

They 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.

The TA's term is set to expire on March 4, but the authority had sought another three years, saying its work had been slowed by "the environment and circumstances" beyond its control.

PETITION FOR EXTENSION

On Wednesday, TA chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi met with Mr Kiunjuri to push for the extension, but the Devolution CS argued for one more year, as opposed to three.

At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Wamwangi said his team would agree with any additional time given to them.

"We shall comply with the extension that we will be given, but that will also be conditional in that we will have, and all stakeholders included, to work a little harder," he said.

"If we leave now, we will only leave some work halfway done, not because of the fault of our own making but because of the environment and circumstances we have worked in."

The TA's demand for the extension of its term comes two weeks after that of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution was declined by the National Assembly despite calls by the commission for more time.

Parliament, currently in recess, will have to consider the Devolution ministry's proposal and determine whether the TA needs more time.

If Parliament is not convinced that more time is needed, it means the agency's remaining work will have to be done by the Inter-Governmental Relations Committee, which was required to perform only residual functions.

If the TA's term is extended, it also means more budgetary allocations from the Treasury, at a time when the government has argued for austerity measures.

A meeting has been scheduled in two weeks between the Devolution ministry, the Treasury, the Attorney-General's Office, the Council of Governors and other stakeholders before the proposal is sent to Parliament.