Governors win round one of row over State agencies

Council of Governors' Chairman Josphat Nanok addresses the media at their office in Nairobi on November 8, 2017 regarding the funeral of Wahome Gakuru. Governors argue that devolution aims at decentralising powers and resources. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The CoG said with the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, the authorities’ scope should be under the counties.
  • They want part of the law governing the authorities’ establishment and functions to be declared unconstitutional.

Governors have won the first round of a fight with the national government over control of regional development agencies when the High Court ruled that it has jurisdiction to determine a constitutional dispute that involves the two levels of governance.

In a ruling issued on Monday, judge John Mativo defended the governors’ bid to challenge the fact that there are functions still under the national government yet they were supposed to be spearheaded by counties.

“I find that the Council of Governors fits well; they have instituted proceedings claiming contravention or threatened violation of the Constitution,” justice Mativo ruled.

PUBLIC INTEREST
He added: “They represent individual, county and national interests.

“The case lodged and the issues raise a constitutional matter of public interest and I consequently find as well as hold that they have a capacity to be before this court.”

The CoG has sued six development authorities in the country together with the Attorney-General.

They are the Lake Basin, Kerio Valley, Tana and Athi River, Ewaso Ng’iro South River, Coast and Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin development authorities.

DEVOLUTION
The governors are seeking a declaration that integrated planning, coordination and implementation of projects and programmes is a function of county governments.

They also want part of the law governing the authorities’ establishment and functions to be declared unconstitutional.

The CoG said with the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution and devolved functions, the authorities’ scope should be under the counties.

They argue that devolution aimed at decentralising powers and resources and that the Intergovernmental Relations Act establishes a framework for consultation and cooperation between the two levels of governance.

HEALTH
The county bosses claim that since the Health ministry was devolved, various state bodies such as the sued authorities continue to carry out functions reserved for counties in gross violation of the Constitution.

But the authorities said the High Court had no jurisdiction to handle such a matter.

They said there was no actual dispute in the first place and that the parties can resolve any dispute amicably through alternative ways or forums.

However, the governors insisted that a declaration such as the one they are seeking can only be issued by the court.

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