Devolution carrot: BBI proposes county allocation push from 15 to 35%


Devolution carrot: BBI proposes county allocation push from 15 to 35%
The Senate of Kenya during a past session. PHOTO | COURTESY

Devolution was hailed as one of the greatest compromises of the 2010 constitution as it reconfigured balance of power.

Power and resources were devolved to areas that had for years remained in the shadows.

Following the March 2018 handshake which kickstarted the process of auditing the constitution, devolution was once again one of the key discussion points.

And on Wednesday, as the final Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report was handed over, amid proposals for costing of functions to be done to help determine resource allocation to the devolved units, there was a lot to smile about.

The task force approved calls to increase the allocation to counties from 15 to 35%.

This they recommended will go a long way in resolving the push and pull between the two levels of government over the shareable revenue and quell the cries of governors over insufficient resources..

However, the monies will largely be determined by how much the national government raises, counties have since been urged to reduce reliance on the exchequer.

The task force further recommended that the controller of budget be granted the authority to disburse up to 50 percent of the equitable share to aid operations.

This is to ensure service delivery in the devolved units is not hampered incase of a prolonged dispute over the division of revenue bill as witnessed the past few months,

The report also proposes the amending of article 180 of the Constitution to ensure that anyone contesting for the position of governor selects a deputy governor of the opposite gender.

This is part of the plan to ensure the attainment of the two-thirds gender principle .

A further proposal is to formulate the Devolution Laws Amendment Bill 2020 to amend the county governments act and the Intergovernmental Relations Act 2012 to align the acts with various decisions made by the court.

The BBI also recommends insertion of a clause that will require governors assign their deputies county executive committee portfolios.

At the moment, deputy governors have no roles assigned and work at the mercy of their bosses.

To counter infighting between governors and members of the county assembly, the task force recommended the establishment of a ward development fund.

It is to be used to carry out development projects in the various wards with governors required to set aside 5 percent of its revenue every financial year for the kitty.

The report further seeks to regularize the transfer of functions of the Nairobi city county government to the National Government by amending Article 200 of the constitution.

The national assembly is to be tasked with formulating the necessary legislation.

The task force also recommended amending of Article 177 on the membership to require political parties to only nominate MCAs who contested the election.

Priority is to be given to those who were defeated with the lowest margin in a bid to end the tokenism associated with nominations to the county assembly.

Kenyans are now expected to review the report even as the stage is set for the referendum.

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Story By Chemutai Goin
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