Transition Authority in rush to wind up power transfers

Wednesday January 13 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

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The Transition Authority has said it will transfer all functions to counties by March if its term is not extended.

This would significantly affect operations in counties, which still lack the capacity to handle the additional responsibilities.

TA Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi on Tuesday said transferring the functions to counties would avert a constitutional crisis.

The statement by Mr Wamwangi comes against a backdrop of calls by the authority to have its term extended by three years.

The request by TA, which can only be approved by the National Assembly, has however faced stiff opposition from governors who accuse the Wamwangi-led team of deliberately delaying the transfer of responsibilities.

Tuesday, Mr Wamwangi told the Nation that TA was racing against time to complete the transfer of functions to counties. 

“We are devolving all the remaining functions,” he said.

The authority, whose responsibility was to oversee the transfer of devolved functions to counties, has been under pressure from governors over the delay to release functions like roads, agriculture, betting and water services.

Other functions are auditing and transfer of assets and liabilities, rationalising human resource between the national and county governments, establishing county pension schemes and declaring county governments’ public service.

While calling for the extension, which has received the backing of Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, the TA attributed its failure to complete the transfer to “environment and circumstances beyond our control”. 

According to the law, the mandate of TA ends in March 2016.

Governors have termed the extension bid a threat to devolution. 

“The TA does not deserve a term extension. Its members are using this request to buy time so that governors do not take control of devolved functions,” Council of Governors Finance Committee Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said.