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Omingo Magara accuses MCAs of lacking independence

By Kenan Miruka | January 6th 2014

By Kenan Miruka

Kisii, Kenya: The chairman of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy, Mr Omingo Magara, says members of the county assemblies have abdicated their oversight and legislative roles threatening devolution.

The organisation, which seeks to deepen multi-party democracy in the country, said most county assemblies lack autonomy in decision making with governors and speakers overrunning their work.

Magara said there appears to be a thin line separating the county executives from county assemblies which may impact efficiency in performance and service delivery to the public.

“Devolution is under serious threat because members of county assemblies are not doing their work independently. Clearly, some don’t understand their mandate which is oversight and legislation. Instead of putting the governor in check, they are picking wars with MPs,” said Magara.

Speaking at Nyabigena in South Mugirango, where he attended a burial, he said it would be zero sum if the impact of devolution Kenyans fought for, is not felt on the ground due to squabbles and misunderstanding of roles.

“If the governor can decide on whom to chair a watchdog committee in the county assembly, can we expect it to deliver objectively? In some counties, nobody consults the other when making decisions. This is a recipe for failure,” he added.

During the funeral, a section of members of the Kisii County Assembly led by Tabaka Ward Representative Ombasa Apepo clashed with South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya over accountability in development projects.

Blame game

Some of the ward representatives accused the MP of bias in allocation of CDF projects while the legislator challenged the county government to come clear on the development agenda for the constituency.

“All I am asking for is accountability by all elected leaders both at county and national level. Let the county government table its project allocations for all to see,” said Nyamweya.

Magara said announced plans by his organisation to conduct capacity building workshops for all county assemblies in the country to educate them on their role.

“There is serious ‘tyranny of numbers’ in county assemblies especially in areas where certain parties are dominant. The minority have no say but we can’t engage in a perpetual blame game because if we don’t get it right, devolution will fail,” he said.

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