Transfer of officers
The new law allows transfer of civil servants from the national to county levels in the event that the national government makes such a recommendation.
But there is the danger that governors and county assembly representatives might overrule such movements and put at risk the jobs of over 200,000 civil servants.
“There will be a national government and 47 county governments in this country after the elections. Civil Servants will be posted to work in the counties, but do we have the necessary protection from rogue governors who might want to do it their way?” asked Local Government Permanent Secretary Prof Karega Mutahi.
Prof Mutahi’s concern is based on the fact that staff from the current central government will be deployed to work for both national and county governments after the elections.
However, the new Constitution, which created the county government, also grants governors the powers to hire staff in the counties.
The fear is that some governors will ignore the regulations of the PSC by arguing that their powers are vested in the Constitution, which is superior to any other law created by an Act of Parliament.
“We want these regulations to accommodate the role of the PSC and that of the County Public Service Boards as our staff need to be protected,” Prof Mutahi whose Local Government Authority employees shall be transferred to county governments after elections.
A former commissioner with the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) also raised concerns about how the devolution process will be managed in the country.
“The biggest headache in Constitution is the devolved government and if Kenyans get it right, then everything else will fall in place,” said Mutakha Kangu who chaired the Devolved Government Task Force said.
He added: “That is why I called for the quick establishment of a Transition Authority to oversee the transfer of operations from a central system of government to both National and County government as soon as possible, but it was only put in place the other day.” Under the law, the PSC and County governments are expected to cooperate in areas of common interest including the new County Public Service.
“After the elections the civil service will no longer exist in the manner it is today. There will be both national and county civil servants. How are they going to relate and what are the reporting lines between the two?” posed Dr Adams Oloo of the University of Nairobi.