Sunday, April 21, 2024

Governors’ 10-point agenda for referendum

Governors referendumTHE governors have revealed the issues they want addressed in their proposed referendum ahead of the unveiling of the steering committee today.

The county bosses are set to unveil a team that will drive the bid for a public vote, two weeks after the opposition named its own four-member technical committee to spearhead their own call for a plebiscite.

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Yesterday the governors disclosed the issues they want addressed by the referendum.They also listed at least 27 laws that they insist are designed to undermine devolution.

The proposals are contained in documents shared with editors during a meeting in Nairobi aimed at helping media understand the governors’ agenda.

Top on the list is the amendment of Article 203(2) of the constitution to increase the minimum allocation to the counties from 15 per cent to 45 per cent of the national Budget.

“Kenya’s devolution is a massive transition and requires huge resources. Counties need money for health, roads, agriculture and many other functions. This is the main reason for a push for a referendum,” the Governors’ Council noted.

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Council chairman Isaac Rutto said they have been pushed to go the referendum way because the national government has failed to release the cash.

“They do not have to be nice to us. This is the law,” said Rutto.

The governors have dismissed the Sh226 billion allocated to the counties as falling below the constitutional threshold since it was calculated on the basis of audited accounts for the 2009/2010 financial year.

“Sh226b billion is nearly 12.5 per cent of the national revenue, which stands at a staggering Sh1 trillion,” the council said.

The governors also want the constitution amended to allow the allocation to be based on “the most recent revenues received in the latest Exchequer account”.

In the referendum, the governors also want to strengthen the Senate’s role by divorcing its functions from those of the National Assembly and giving senators the final say on county matters.

Currently, Bills that originate from the Senate and relate to county matters have to go through the National Assembly before they are enacted.

The county chiefs also want the national command structures restructured so as to create a role for counties in security matters.

The governors also want the role for counties in the management of the environment, forestry, land and natural resources.

They want the recall/impeachment of leaders to be based on a “uniform law, which respects due process”.

The governors demand the creation of a “clearing house for legislation that will determine the character of the law and the process it has to go through for its enactment so as to avoid and put a stop to legislation that negates devolution”.

They want the constitution to provide for the formation of a Loans and Grants Council to “guarantee equity between the two levels of government”.

The Equalisation Fund should be converted into a County Government Fund to be administered by the Commission on Revenue Allocation on the basis of a scientific framework.

The governors want members of the county assemblies to enjoy similar privileges as their colleagues in the National Assembly and the Senate.

They also want to have separate gazettement of laws of the national and county governments.

Yesterday, the Council of Governors described some legislation passed in Parliament as “outrightly unconstitutional”, saying it is part of the national government’s efforts to undermine devolution.

Among the laws are the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority Act 2013, the Crops Act 2013, the Draft Health Bill and Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013.

The others include the Order of Precedence Bill 2014, the Fisheries Management and Development Bill 2014, and the National Land Commission Act (No 5 of 2012).


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