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Nakuru MCAs pass record seven Bills in 2019

Thursday December 12 2019
SP

Nakuru County Assembly Speaker Joel Maina Kairu conducts a session on November 12, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

Since the advent of devolution, the quest for democracy and good governance has been increasing in Nakuru County.

The assembly has played a critical role in promoting democracy and good governance.

As the year comes to an end, the 78-member House performance on key functions of legislation, representation and oversight can largely be described as above average.

The assembly developed and implemented laws, motions and practices that promote democracy and good governance.

SQUABBLES

Unlike in the past when the assembly activities were marred by squabbles, this year, it passed seven Bills.

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The critical Bills include the Nakuru County Enterprise Fund 2019, Co-operatives Revolving Development Fund Bill, 2019, Tourism and Marketing Bill, Finance Bill and Trade Bill, 2019.

It also passed the Sh21billion budget and Sh300 million Supplementary Budget.

Speaker Joel Maina Kairu says this is no mean achievement as the Bills go through rigorous processes before they are brought on the floor of the House for debate and adoption.

“Once a Bill is committed to the House, it is taken to the committee for deliberations and later to public participation before a report is compiled and brought back to the House for debate and adoption,” said Mr Kairu.

FIVE BILLS

“A minimum period to pass a Bill is approximately one year and for Nakuru assembly to pass more than five Bills in a year it is a big achievement,” added Mr Kairu.

However, as the assembly goes for recess, the Supplementary Budget and Appropriation Bill is pending.

The ward reps also passed several motions to be implemented in phases depending on availability of funds.

A motion to open the Lake Naivasha corridors was implemented by the executive after it was unanimously passed by the assembly.

The MCAs passed a motion sponsored by Lake View MCA Peter Karanja Mburu on free National Hospital Insurance Fund services for the poor.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui administration will start identifying beneficiaries at the wards after setting aside funds in the 2020/2021 financial year.

PENDING BILLS

The MCAs also passed a motion that compelled the devolved unit to install Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in the Central Business District.

Several petitions were determined and others are still pending while some were rejected.

Speaker Kairu observed that some petitions were out to settle personal scores.

“The petitions involve investigations before they are determined but any aggrieved parties are free to lodge complaints with my office if the assembly takes long to address the petition,” said Mr Kairu.

The MCAs passed and enacted municipal board and adopted an ad hoc committee report that set the pace for the elevation of Nakuru Town to city status.

OVERSIGHT ROLES

“The assembly has been united, focused for the purpose it was elected to do,” noted Mr Kairu.

“Our unity and lack of squabbles emanates from the policy I have put in place of talking to each other,” revealed the Speaker.

He added: “I encourage MCAs to dialogue and sort out their differences.”

In terms of its oversight role, the assembly put the executive on toes.

Several executives were summoned and grilled on corruption and mismanagement of public resources in their departments especially on matters regarding development at the wards.

The Public Accounts Committee and the Public Investment Committee PIC have also been active.

The two committees tabled their reports for audited accounts for the executive, assembly and water companies owned by the county.

The committees addressed sensitive matters touching residents like the Solai Dam tragedy that killed more than 40 people and street children who were dumped in Baringo.

The committee on Labour and Justice is expected to compile and table its report for debate when the assembly resumes on February 12, 2020.

Other notable oversight roles by the assembly included floods in Kiamunyi and investigations on poor relationship between the owners of Madurgada farm and its workers.

ABORTION

The assembly rejected the Punguza Mizigo Bill by Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot, saying it threatened devolution and their survival by proposing the reduction of wards.

Interestingly, the Jubilee party-dominated House had shown interest in embracing the proposed law change when Dr Aukot visited the assembly on July 24.

The assembly was forced to withdraw a controversial Elburgon Ward Rep Peter Njuguna Mwaura-sponsored Bill that would have legalised abortion.

The House described the Nakuru County Maternal, Newborn Child Health Bill, 2019 as “dead on arrival.”

Speaker Kairu faulted the Bill saying it was not subjected to public participation.

The MCAs made several benchmarking trips that Speaker Kairu said added value to the residents.

The women MCAs also sponsored some of the Bills.

The Livestock yard Bill was sponsored by Soin MCA Irene Chebichi. The Bill is still pending at committee of Agriculture while the Nakuru County Co-operatives Revolving Development Fund Bill, 2019 that was sponsored by nominated MCA Elizabeth Gichuki was passed.

But the year highlight was the visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta who addressed the nation at the chambers and later opened the ultra-modern Sh220million Ugatuzi Plaza.

President Kenyatta lauded the assembly for cutting on foreign trips budget and allocating the money to development projects in the 55 wards.

BENEFIT RESIDENTS

Speaker Kairu described the visit by President Kenyatta as a sign of “confidence” he had with the assembly’s leadership.

The good working relationship between the assembly and the executive was evident this year.

“We shall endorse matters from the executive that will benefit residents,” said Mr Kairu.

The assembly scored another first by invoking the Speakers rules that allowed MCAs wear the African attire in a bid to support call by President Kenyatta to support local manufacturers.

However, one of the assembly’s biggest undoing was the time management.

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