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County Reps' scorecard in House found 'wanting' as elections near

By Stephen Mkawale | September 7th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Nakuru county assembly Speaker Susan Kihika walks into the Chambers to preside over debate. According to civil rights groups and available data, MCAs, who are currently on a four-week break, have only debated and passed six Bills since 2013 when they were sworn in. (PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/ STANDARD)

Members of the county assembly have only passed six bills since they were elected.

According to civil rights groups and available data, MCAs, who are currently on a four-week break, have only debated and passed six Bills since 2013 when they were sworn in.

According to information obtained by The Standard from from the assembly and interviews with some members, between April 2014 and February 10, 2015, a total of 17 Bills were tabled before the house and only three sailed through and were assented to by Governor Kinuthua Mbugua.

The House Bill tracker indicates that nine of the proposed laws are still at the Second Reading stage while the rest are stuck at the Third Reading, a legislative stage where a vote is taken on the general outlines of the Bill before being committed to the committee of the whole House for amendments.

 

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INAUGURAL ASSEMBLY

Among the laws formulated by the inaugural assembly are the County Vetting and Appointment Act, the Alcoholic Act, the Public Entertainment and Amenity Act, The Petition to County Assembly Act, The county Vocational and Technical Act and the Agricultural Development law.

A total of 21 draft Bills are still pending before the House as majority of the 74 MCAs prepare to face voters at the ballot in 2017.

Ten statements from members are also still pending before various sectoral committees. The duration allocated by Speaker Susan Kihika for them to be dispensed with elapsed a month ago.

Civil rights activists claimed that the Assembly was not interested in matters that would be beneficial to voters.

“Most of the pending businesses in the House are the ones that would improve the lives of the mwananchi,” said Human Rights Activist David Kuria.

A petition by a member of public to ban plastic bags below 100 micron is among the eight petitions still pending before the House.

A document seen by The Standard indicates that most of the petitions are either at the committee stage or awaiting implementation.

Leader of Majority George Mwaura said their performance has been impressive, taking into consideration that devolution was a new concept.

“It took us a lot of time to settle down and learn the ropes because devolution is a new governance structure,” he said.

Mwaura said the entire county administration, both the executive and the assembly, was slow in identifying priority areas of legislation.

“There was a disconnect and misunderstanding on the roles of Members of the county assembly,” said the Mosop ward representative.

Minority Leader Dan Ambale (Kaptemwbo ward) concurs with Mwaura, saying the county assembly has not been taken seriously because the executive is reluctant to accept the new constitutional order.

“Generally we have performed well but not the best because of the circumstances we are operating in. Although the Constitution is clear on who should do what- there is a lot of suspicion and misunderstanding between the assembly and the executive over what roles each should perform,” Mr Ambale said.

But even as the assembly leadership blame its dismal performance on external forces, the House has been hit by perennial quorum hitches and lack of serious business to transact.

Before breaking for the four-week recess, the sitting to adjourn the House failed to kick off as scheduled as only four members were present.

For assembly reporters, the incident was not isolated.

FREQUENT FIGURE

Majority of the MCAs, who each collects Sh3,900 sitting allowance per session, only make technical appearances before leaving in a huff. Others show up just in time before the sittings end, to ensure they pocket their allowances.

Speaker Susan Kihika has also not been a frequent figure in the assembly, as the term of the inaugural House comes to an end.

Kihika is said to be eyeing the Nakuru County senatorial seat.

Kihika said the assembly has performed well in terms of its oversight role, but regretted that a number of decisions made by the House have not been implemented.


Nakuru County devolution 2017 general election
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