End of era for 175 local authorities

PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION Local Government minister Paul Otuoma

What you need to know:

  • Councillors have up to January 30 to hand over to department heads

All the 175 local authorities in the country have been dissolved.

Local Government minister Paul Otuoma gave councillors up to January 30 to hand over to departmental heads who will take charge of the authorities until after elections.

“I have just dissolved them in accordance with the powers vested upon the minister under Cap 265 of the Local Authorities Act,” Dr Otuoma said.

The move comes only a day after the 10th Parliament was dissolved, sending the 222 MPs home.

“Traditionally, the minister dissolves local authorities once the President dissolves Parliament but since the new Constitution did away with that provision, I had to wait until Parliament dissolves itself before I dissolve the councils,” Dr Otuoma explained.

He said the departmental heads would only oversee the day-to-day running of the councils since the law does not give them powers to pass resolutions and act upon them.

“We will issue a list of dos and don’ts so that they do not engage in unauthorised activities,” he stated.

The move effectively ends the era of local authorities in the country as Kenyans prepare to transit to the devolved system of government after the March 4 General Election.

Already, the Transitional Authority (TA) which is overseeing the change from the central to the devolved system of governance is taking an inventory of all assets belonging to the local authorities to ensure that unscrupulous individuals do not take advantage of the transition to illegally acquire them.

The move comes after the TA received numerous complaints from the public alleging transfer of assets despite a freezing order by the Cabinet last year.

The authority, which took office in July last year, has a three-year mandate to oversee the transition to the devolved system of government.

The freezing order is aimed at ensuring the timely auditing of the government and local authority’s assets to avoid the submission of erroneous information in its report.


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