News and Events

Avail Monies for Capacity Development in Counties, Senators Urge Government

Senators have asked the government to provide more resources to the county assemblies so as to enhance the capacities of the members of County Assemblies and that of existing employees of county assemblies. They noted that this would not only attract highly qualified staff, but would also be a shot in the arm to the many semi-professional staff that many county governments inherited from the now defunct local authorities.

While making his contribution to the subject on “Resourcing Counties and Devolved Functions for Optimal Service Delivery, the Senate Majority Leader Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen said Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs) have failed to discharge their duties well because the assemblies they belong to are unable to attract highly qualified staff.

“Most members of county assemblies are highly educated, but the county assemblies do not have highly trained staff as compared to the National Assembly and the Senate because of lack of resources,” he said during the session at the ongoing 3rd Annual Legislative Summit, at Pride inn Paradise, Mombasa.

“The county assemblies will attract top staff if we allocated them more resources. Senators and their National Assembly colleagues are articulate in legislative matters because the two houses have top-notch professionals,” added Sen. Murkomen.

The Speaker of the Senate Sen. Kenneth Lusaka while making his contribution asserted that the Senate recognizes the critical role county workers play in ensuring devolution is a success, noting that they allow staff from the counties to benchmark at the Senate.
He revealed that close to 30 workers from the counties are winding up a two-week study tour of the Senate under the County Legislative Attachment Program (CLAP).

“The Senate has been working closely with county governments to develop the technical capacities of its workers. This is the fifth group to be attached to the senate under the initiative that was officially launched in September 2015. The staff are cogs that keep County Assemblies moving. The success or failure of the Assemblies largely depends on the capacity of its employees,” noted Speaker Lusaka.

Speaking elsewhere as a panelist in a session on “Accountability and Legislative Oversight”, Homabay Senator, Moses Kajwang further underscored the need to enhance capacity of members and staff in County Assemblies. He noted that both the Senate and County Assemblies should be well kitted to carry out their oversight function. “To carry out our oversight role as mandated by the constitution, we need tools”, he explained.

On the need to make the county assembly financially independent, he noted that given that currently assemblies’ finances are still controlled and managed by the executive through the CEC Finance, there is a need to review or amend the Public Finance Management Act so to allow the assemblies to control their own revenue.

He called upon county assemblies to consider establishing County Oversight Support Units to strengthen legislative oversight. These units would ideally comprise professionals to facilitate oversight committees to deal with the audit reports.

Addressing the matter of high turnover rate of professional staff especially at the end of a term of governors and how it affects proper oversight by county assemblies, he proposed that the Senate enacts a legislation to incorporate staff rationalization and protect recruitment of professionals and ensure continuity beyond the term of Governors. He asked county governments to bite the bullet and rationalize staff to curb pending bills while ensuring better absorption of county funds in development.

He suggested that the Senate Committee on county public accounts and investment holds annual workshops with their counterparts county assemblies so as to take stock of challenges and share experiences to strengthen one another.

Senator Kajwang further asserted the mandate of the Senate to protect the interests of counties and their governments. He observed that the Senate has a good opportunity of receiving feedback from the county assemblies on what can be done within the mandate of the Senate, to capacity build and ease the work of the County Assemblies in undertaking its duties. This includes gaps in the law that the Senate can legislate on.

Speaking into the matter of the need for county assemblies members to run their own fund, he supported the call by the assemblies for the passage of the Ward Development Bill currently before Parliament, but warned that the Senate would consider ‘descriptive and prescriptive’ provisions of the bill before passing it.

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