President Uhuru Kenyatta, Governor Kiraitu Murungi of Meru County and Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs during the 7th Annual Forum of Chairpersons of Constitutional Commissions and Holders of Independent Offices in Meru. [Photo: Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has told constitutional commissions and independent offices that they too must toe the line on official government regulations.

Tough-talking President dared government agencies to withdraw their services from Huduma Centres.

“We know what those fools have planned and its to return their services to darkrooms where bribery and corruption will thrive,” said Uhuru. “But it won’t happen. The services will remain at Huduma. It is the public servants who will be replaced.”

Speaking at the annual conference of the constitutional commissions and independent offices at Meru town, the President accused some holders of the offices of confusing the autonomy granted them as a basis of disobeying executive regulation. The cluster of autonomous and independent offices created by the constitution cannot and will not become the fourth arm of the government, said the President. He urged holders to toe the official line on government regulation and scrutiny by Parliament and the Executive, saying their mandate did not grant powers to defy state regulation. 

“Neither can security of tenure be the ground to prevent accountability or scrutiny by holders who only hold those positions in trust for Kenyans,” said Uhuru.

The President spoke at a time when he has been in a stalemate with the Judiciary over appointments to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the Salaries and Renumeration Commission (SRC). The JSC has argued that its appointees to these bodies need not be vetted by Parliament while Uhuru has declined to officially appoint its nominees. Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, in brief remarks at the function, vowed to ensure no one operates as if they were above the law.

Uhuru also urged the bodies to strictly observe public participation. He later opened the Meru county assembly refurbished chambers and  presided a presentation of Affirmative Action Enterprise Fund cheques at the Kinoru stadium.

Meanwhile, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi has said he will only support the clamour for constitutional change if it backs the increase of budgetary allocations to the counties.

“My only fear is that a referendum might plunge us into the violence and chaos of 2007,” said Murungi.

The governor said allocations to counties should be increased to the levels of Japan where the 47 counties got 60 per cent of the national budget.