By Stanley Githunguri
The journey towards devolved government got a shot in the arm when Parliament enacted the Transition to Devolved Government Act (No. 1 of 2012) which commenced on March 9, 2012. The Act provides a framework for the transition to devolved government pursuant to Section 15 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
This section of the Constitution requires Parliament to enact legislation to provide for the phased transfer, over a period of not more than three years from the date of the first election of county assemblies, from the national to county governments of the functions assigned to them.
It will also ensure these functions are devolved promptly to counties that have the capacity to perform them in addition to establishing a criteria that must be met before particular functions are devolved to ensure those governments are not given functions they cannot perform.
The Act gives rise to two critical aspects in the transition to devolved government â the criteria for transfer of functions and establishment of the Transition Authority.
The Authority is established under section 4 of the Transition to Devolved Government Act with the main role of facilitating and co-ordinating the transition to the devolved system.
The Authority is mandated to undertake this onerous task in two phases. Phase one covers the period between commencement of the Act and the date of the first election under the Constitution while phase two covers the period between the date of the first elections and three years after the first elections under the Constitution.
However, about 80% of the Authorityâs work has to be done during phase one. Furthermore, section 23 of the Act requires the Authority, by notice in the Kenya Gazette at least 30 days before the first elections, to identify functions, which may be transferred to the county governments immediately after the first elections under the Constitution.
applications for positions
The Authority is required to submit a progress report, every three months, and an annual report of its activities to the President, Parliament, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution and the Commission for Revenue Allocation.
The Authority will comprise a chairperson and eight other members appointed by the President, in consultation with the Prime Minister and with the approval of the National Assembly. In addition to these, six Principal Secretaries responsible for Cabinet, devolution, public service, finance, planning and justice will be members of the Authority. The Attorney General and the Secretary to the Authority are ex officio members.
This brings the total membership of the Authority to 17 persons! The Public Service Commission has already advertised for applications for positions of chairperson and eight members of the Transition Authority.