Constitutional commissions heads vow to uphold accountability

Chairpersons of constitutional commissions and holders of independent offices have vowed to uphold accountability.

The leaders resolved to do this on Wednesday after Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri challenged them to explain to Kenyans their roles and achievements so far.

Mr Kiunjuri, who opened the forum’s fifth conference in Nairobi on Wednesday, said most of the roles of constitutional commissions had been largely misunderstood.

“A lot of people will see these offices and think and label them as the opposition when they do their jobs,” Mr Kiunjuri said.

“And you see in the media, anytime a commission criticises government they are in the headlines for a week. When they praise government, they are thrown to the pages next to the obituaries.”

INTERACT WITH KENYANS

The 24 constitutional commissions and independent offices were enshrined in the Constitution to carry out various functions independently.

“This forum is an important opportunity for us as constitutional commissions and independent offices to interact with Kenyans,” said Agnes Odhiambo, the Controller of Budget and chairperson of the forum of chairpersons of constitutional commissions and independent offices.

“This forum is part of the fulfilment of our objective for a collaborative, open discussions,” she added.

Ms Odhiambo was speaking at the fifth annual conference of constitutional commissions and independent offices at City Hall, Nairobi.

Apart from the Controller of Budget, the other independent office is that of the Auditor-General, which is headed by Edward Ouko.

The constitutional commissions are the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, the Commission on Revenue Allocation, and the National Gender and Equality Commission.

BE MORE OPEN

Others are the Commission on Administrative Justice, the Judicial Service Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, and the National Police Service Commission.

Also taking part in the forum is the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Land Commission and the Teachers Service Commission.

Mr Kiunjuri urged the chairpersons to be more open. “If you stop a Kenyan, even a university student now, will they know what your role is? ” he asked.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the bodies were allocated up to Sh225 billion each year.

Meanwhile, Mr Rotich has asked Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to bill his ministry the Sh62 billion he says his county is owed by the national government.

“You know, I have not really seen the bill Dr Kidero is talking about. He should send it to my office and we’d see how to deal with it, ” Mr Rotich said.

The minister was responding to a request by Commission on Revenue Allocation chairman Micah Cheserem.

“I want CS Rotich to tell us why he owes Dr Kidero a lot of money,” Mr Cheserem said.

Dr Kidero, who claimed the national government had failed to pay the money, asked the Senate to help the county recover the Sh62 billion.

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