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ANNE WAIGURU, OGW, CABINET SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF DEVOLUTION AND PLANNING, DURING THE BI-MONTHLY TALK SERIES FORUM ON DEVOLUTION ROLL-OUT: IS KENYA ON THE RIGHT TRACK BY KENYA ALLIANCE OF RESIDENT ASSOCIATIONS ON 29TH JULY 2013. ____________________________________________________ Invited guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me begin by expressing my sincere appreciation for the invitation to this important forum. I am aware that the mission of KARA is to represent Kenya resident associations in achieving progress by defining and demanding the highest standards of good governance, transparency and ethical behavior through negotiation with public bodies for better service delivery and accountability. It is indeed a privilege to speak to you in this forum on behalf of our government. I wish to begin by assuring you of the Government’s commitment to devolution and ultimately the desire to meet the needs of its citizenry. As you are all aware Kenya is going through multiple and complex transitions. First and foremost, is the transition from the old Constitution to the Kenya Constitution 2010. The architecture of the Kenyan society has fundamentally been redesigned. The structure of Government has changed. The traditional relationships among the three arms of government have been reorganized creating greater separation of powers and functional autonomy. Second, Devolution has been introduced and, with it, new relations between the national Government and county governments are emerging. Devolution deals with all matters relating to the operationalization of the constitutional provisions on devolved government as provided for in Chapter Eleven of the Constitution. This includes the development of new policies legislation and 1
administrative procedures and, in some cases, the review of existing policies, legislation and administrative procedures required to implement the devolved system of government. The Constitution in Article 6 (2) provides that governments at both levels are distinct and inter-dependent and shall conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation. Further Article189 (1) provides that the government at either level shall perform its functions, and exercise its powers, in a manner that respects the functional and institutional integrity of government at the other level. However, the Constitution, in its preamble, states that Kenya remains one indivisible whole thus our devolution is not based on the principle of absolute autonomy but on inter-dependence and cooperation. Ours is a system that combines a certain measure of autonomy and spheres of inter-dependence. The end result of this combination is what is referred to as cooperative system of devolved government. The thrust of this principle is that both levels of governments must function as a cohesive whole in order to achieve the aspirations of our people.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The government has developed and Parliament has enacted various laws to facilitate devolution. These are: The County Governments Public Finance Management Transition Act, 2013;The Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011; The Contingencies Fund and County Emergency Funds Act, 2011;The County Governments Act, 2012;The Transition to Devolved Government Act 2012;The Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2012 The full actualization of devolution is a process is expected to take several years for the new institutions to be fully functional. However, tremendous 2
progress has already been made. The assumption of office by County Governors following the last general elections was the first step of the long journey ahead. Formation of the Executive Committees and County Assemblies has taken place. The Integrated Financial Management Information System (ifmis) has been rolled out to all the 47 Counties and County Principal Financial Officers and Accountants trained on how to manage the system. Counties are required to prepare County integrated plans and to this end the National Government has prepared County profiles and planning guidelines to support the planning processes. Ministries have seconded officers in the counties to support the county functions. The priority in government now is setting up of systems at the counties and consequently ensuring a seamless transfer of functions. Building capacity of the staff at the counties is inevitable for devolution to be sustained. The Ministry is committed in ensuring that the counties are adequately supported to deliver on their mandates. The National Government is willing and ready to devolve all functions and the resources necessary to ensure the successful implementation of these functions by County governments. The National government is keen to ensure that the necessity of this transfer is accompanied by adherence to the law, Where we agree through consultations that that the law lags behind civic expectations then we shall update the law, but at all times we shall be guided by the law. My Ministry has established a comprehensive consultative exercise of consultation to unbundle devolved functions and budgets. This exercise will lead to a better understanding of what exactly is being devolved and the budgetary allocations for implementation. In the coming days the results of this exercise will be released to the public. Ladies and Gentlemen, 3
There is what is real and what is ideal. We live in one while aiming for the other. With regard to the transfer of functions, the law anticipates phased and asymmetrical transfer over the next three years. That is the ideal. The reality however is that Counties expect to be treated in equal and the same manner. As a democracy, my Ministry has therefore appealed to Parliament to clarify the criteria by which the next bundle of functions should be transferred to County governments. Ladies and Gentlemen, The two levels of government are currently in the process of establishing the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee. This Committee will be a platform for dialogue between the County and National governments. In the meantime, my Ministry is establishing consultative forums between line Ministries and County Executive Secretaries responsible for devolved functions to enhance communication and engagement. In ideal terms, there ought to be a Technical Committee that supports the work of the Council of County Governors and another that supports the work of the Summit. This is the ideal that we are pursuing through our proposal to amend the Intergovernmental Committees. The objective of our proposal is to strengthen inter-County co-operation and at the same time enhance the relations between the levels of government. Ladies and Gentlemen, Of great importance to the Ministry of Devolution and Planning in this regard is to aid and support the implementation of relevant legislation; and to provide continuous capacity building programmes to ensure effective implementation of policies and the realization of the national norms and standards and, ultimately, the objectives of devolution itself. Relations Act to precisely establish these two
The Penultimate question as to whether we are on track would have to be respondent to in one way; yeas we are on track but on a much slower track than we expected or could have been planned for. We are developing materials for public, or as we commonly say; civic education strategies to inform and educate the public on all matters devolution. Ladies and Gentleman, Like in all spheres of human endevour, implementation of devolution is not without its challenges. The national and county budgeting processes have unfolded with teething problems with different institutions grappling with new roles and mandates. County executive committees in a number Counties are adjusting to the role of County Assemblies leading to delays in appointments and conduct of County business. There has also been an information deficit with regard to progress being made and challenges being addressed, as well an understanding of roles and responsibilities of the two levels of government. Mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that the two levels of government are in harmony with each other. The establishment of an intergovernmental summit, chaired by His Excellency The President is one such mechanism. As recent as Friday last week, the National Government held a consultative meeting with the Nairobi County Executive to explore areas of collaboration in the management of Nairobi as the Capital City of our Republic as provided under Section 6 of the Urban Areas and Cities Act. To conclude Ladies and Gentlemen, The Government is on the right track on transition to a devolved system. In view of the fact that devolution is new to each one of us, it is necessary to establish new structures especially at the county government level. Ministries also have to determine how the two levels of government will work
together for effective implementation of devolution. This will be a continuous process until devolution is fully actualized. The government takes cognisant that the success of devolution necessitates working with the private sector and non- state actors including civil society organizations. The government is committed to engage all its stakeholders through structured mechanisms such as Public Private Partnerships and establishment of citizen service centres at the county and sub-county levels where real time feedback on delivery of services can be obtained from the citizenry. It should be appreciated that the journey to a fully functional devolved governments has just started and requires nurturing until Counties mature. This journey will be long and demanding. Comparative experience even from more developed countries shows that devolution is a complex and, in some instances, very demanding and even acrimonious. problem however weighty, if approached with But I believe that any the right spirit and
commitment, can and always will be, ultimately resolved.
Finally, in answer to question as to whether we are on track; yes we are on track, we will get there, but it is not an overnight journey, and there is no quick fix solution, yes we will get there.
I thank you.
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