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Transparency, accountability wanting, CIC boss Charles Nyachae says

NAIROBI
By Stephen Makabila | September 20th 2015
Commission for Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Chairman Charles Nyachae and Chief Executive Joseph Kosure address the press at their offices in Nairobi in August. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

Lack of commitment, budgetary constraints facing constitutional commissions and wastage of devolved funds by county governments are the major issues of concern in implementation of the Constitution.

Constitutional commissions and independent offices raised these issues in a recap of their performance over the last four years in Eldoret last week.

The Eldoret conference came at a time some commissions are preparing to dissolve their operations in three to six months after the lapse of their mandates.

While the Commission for the Implementation of the Commission (CIC)’s term comes to an end in December, the Transition Authority (TA), which has been mid-wiving the devolution process, stands dissolved in March 2016.

The two have played critical roles in the implementation of the 2010 constitution despite various challenges. Before the Eldoret conference, which was attended by chairpersons of these entities, the forum chairman and CIC boss Charles Nyachae had hinted that with the CIC’s term coming to an end, the role of other commissions and independent offices in monitoring the implementation of the constitution will even be more critical.

“Effective discharge of this task will require strengthening of the capacity of constitutional commissions and independent offices as primary, improving relations among themselves and with the  national and county governments and establishing structures for robust enforcement of the rule of law to protect, promote and enhance the letter and spirit of the constitution,” said Nyachae.

The commissions and independent offices were created under Chapter 15 of the Constitution of Kenya. To enhance their capacity and collaboration, the commissions have cultivated a partnership which was first strengthened during the inaugural annual conference in Mombasa in May 2012, where the forum of chairpersons was born.

Other than CIC and TA, there are 24 other constitutional commissions and independent offices. Some of the most critical ones are Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Salaries and Renumeration Commission (SRC), Public Service Commission (PSC) and National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC).

Public participation

Others are the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), National Land Commission (NLC) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC).

 Unfurtunately, the turn-out for the Eldoret meeting was low, with commission heads who attended the conference being Johnstone Kavuludi (National Police Service Commission), Sarah Serem (SRC), Micah Cheserem (CRA) and Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo.

At the conference, Nyachae said the country had failed in promoting national values and adopting the spirit of constitutionalism and that public participation in implementing the constitution was low.

 “We cannot say the constitution has been implemented when national values like transparency, accountability, equity and equality have not been observed. There is need by the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive arms to obey constitutional directives in discharging their mandates,” said Nyachae.

The Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, who is the immediate former vice-chair of the forum, raised concern over the wastage of billions of shillings by county assemblies and executives through unjustified local and foreign travels.

Odhiambo asked county governments to establish platforms and forums that will allow public engagement in the management of devolved units, noting that constitutionally, the public has a right to be involved in determining how money allocated to them by the national government is put to use.

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