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Fate of CoG Secretariat hangs in balance

The Bill sponsored by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen seeks to amend the Intergovernmental Relations Act of 2012 to among others create the Council of Deputy Governors. (Photo: Boniface Okendo, Standard)

Counties are now expressing fears that the Council of Governors (CoG) secretariat may be abolished if a Bill before the Senate is passed without amendments. Governors are wary that the Senate may pass the Intergovernmental Relations (amendment) Bill that may cripple operations for CoG.

The Bill sponsored by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen seeks to amend the Intergovernmental Relations Act of 2012 to among others create the Council of Deputy Governors.

It also seeks to create the Council of County Assemblies, which will comprise the speaker of each of the 47 counties; the leader of the majority party or coalition of parties in each County Assembly; leader of the minority party or coalition of parties in each County Assembly; and one member elected by the members of the County Assembly in each county.

Section 19 of the original law provides for the CoG but does not contain provision for the CoG Secretariat.

Governors had seen the amendment as a perfect opportunity to entrench the secretariat in law. Murkomen’s Bill was introduced in the Senate on June 10 2014. CoG then wrote to Parliament on September 29 2016, giving proposals they wanted incorporated in the amendment Bill.

Acknowledgement letters

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On October 7 and 14 2016, Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye wrote two acknowledgement letters to CoG receiving proposals from governors, adding that the same had been forwarded to the Senate committee on Legal affairs and human rights.

However in a letter dated March 30 2017, the Senate confirmed that the amendments are yet to be considered by the Amos Wako-led committee, raising fears among governors.

“The Bill does not make provisions for establishment of the secretariat for the council of governors; however proposals for amendment to provide for the same may be made to the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights,” Senior Deputy Clerk M A Mohamed wrote to CoG CEO.

Governors want the secretariat, which will be responsible for administration work be entrenched in law and be funded from the consolidated fund.

Currently, the CoG work is supported by what is termed as ‘goodwill’ budgetary support from the national government, donors and contribution from the 47 counties.

The Murkomen Bill is among several pieces of legislation the current Senate is lining up for dispensing before the August 8 polls. 

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