EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE AND OVERSIGHT AT COUNTY ASSEMBLIES

BY:JUMA HEMEDI

Last year during a governance training organised by Institute of Internal Auditors in Kenya IIA, one of the presenters in an afternoon session had a PowerPoint slide with this quote;

"If Management is about running a business, Governance is seeing that the business is run right"

Applying this quote in county Government structures, Management would mean County executive and Governance would mean County assemblies. There are times when these two institutions have had serious conflicts with each other as they try to act Ultra vires or as they attempt to outdo each other.

Article 183 on the Functions of County Executive Committees state that;

(2) A county executive committee MAY prepare proposed legislation for consideration by the county assembly.

(3) The county Executive committee SHALL provide the county assembly with full and regular reports on matters relating to the county.

The county government Act of 2012 gives the roles of members of the county Assembly

(2) states that; a member of the county Assembly shall not be directly or indirectly be involved in the-

 a) Executive functions of the County.  government and its administration; or

b)  Delivery of services as if the member were an officer or employee of the county government.

Recently we witnessed the Impeachment proceedings against Kirinyaga Governor both at the Kirinyaga County assembly and also at the Senate. Late last year we had witnessed the removal of former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu.

During the Kirinyaga assembly tabling and discussion of the impeachment motion, Emotions and tears went high as different arguments as to whether or not to pass the motion. Some members of the county Assembly were thrown out of the debate chambers by the orderlies.

But It was at the Senate when issues became clearer. One of the fun moments was when the Nominated MCA representing the youth was asked if he voted for the motion for which he replied to the negative. Then he was asked if he voted against the motion, again he replied to the negative. He was then asked if he abstained from voting again he replied No.

In dismissing the Allegation by the Kirinyaga County Assembly, Governor Ann Waiguru termed the issues that the MCAs had presented as "mere administrative issues and here-says that failed the test of and cannot amount to gross violation of the Constitution. And that they were a waste of The Assembly, and senate time.

That they were witch hunting allegations because she had refused some of the bulldozing, threats and attempts by the county assembly members to interfere with the running of the executive.

Granted, there have been a lot of instances where service delivery has been affected as a result of these conflicts between these two critical institutions of the county Governments.
When he was faced with these threats by MCAs, Makueni Governor Kibutha Kibwana triggered the dissolution clause and asked the president to dissolve the County. An invitation that the president declined after he received the special task force report.

This is not to say that Governors have been right and that the MCAs have been wrong. Some Governors have attempted to control the county Assemblies and decide the leaderships of the Assemblies and the membership of various Assembly Committees. While others introduced policies that brought service delivery to a halt and totally disregarded the principles of good management and effective governance.

Among the Roles of MCAs in the county assemblies are to ATTEND sessions of the county assembly and its committee as well as PRESENT Views, Opinions and proposals of the electorate to the County Assembly. That would ensure that they play their Representation Role effectively.

There is also the question of Legislation. The last seven years of devolution have seen many laws passed by County Assemblies either litigated through the courts or criticised for failing the Quality test. That also included the notices of motions, various bills including finance bills and many others. The question is whether County assemblies attract serious professionals and whether those elected and nominated can comprehend what their role is?

Senate and the National Assembly is Comprised of individuals with different backgrounds and professions. They comprise an almost good majority and even the substance of the debate and content is of good quality.

I think its about time we strengthened the oversight role of County assemblies by asking professionals such as Accountants, Engineers, Planners, Surveyors, Auditors, Lawyers, social and development experts, Economists, Educationists, Agriculture Experts, Doctors, Environmentalists, Humanitarians to seek and get elected in these positions.

That way the right questions will be asked while doing oversight to the Executive and right answers will be given. Without wasting time and appearing as though the assembly is on a witch hunt or a fishing expedition.

We can't have individuals who have no idea what it means to support, oppose, or abstain from voting means, and others staying away from debates and voting. Neither should we have individuals in the assembly asking whether the Governor refunded or accounted for an imprest.

The Electric Light did not come as a result of Continuous improvement of the Candle. We must have quality individuals in these assemblies.

Are the Professionals listening? You must Stand up and be counted.

Juma Hemedi

Post a comment

[facebook]

Author Name

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *

Powered by Blogger.