Tuesday, May 1, 2012

County Governments and Local Authorities:same or different?

There are reasons to be concerned about how the County Governments (CGs) will be run as it will affect our daily life in many ways. While the popular talk is about how much money will come to our county, there are more pertinent questions of how well it will be used, where it will be used and who will benefit. Coming from a history of gross mismanagement of the Local Authorities (LAs) one is concerned as to whether the counties will be any different from the LAs? or are they the same thing only with a different name.

There are differences:-

1. LAs were established under an Act of Parliament subject to ammendments at anytime; CGs are established in the Constitution and can only be changed through a referendum.
2. LAs  were directly controlled by the National Government through the Ministry of Local Government; CGs  owe their allegiance only to the Constititution and their relationship with National Government is by mutual cooperation.
3. LAs  had their executive appointed by the National Government; CGs will have their own executive headed by a popularly elected governor.
4. The financing of LAs was provided for through an Act of parliament; CGs financing is entrenched in the constitution.
5. Whereas there were 175 LAs, only 47 CGs have been established to ensure they are not unviable as has been the case with a number of LAs.
6. Whereas the sharing of finances for LAs was informed by recommendations of an advisory committee; CGs finance sharing is informed by recommendations of Commission for Revenue Allocation which should be impartial

Some similarities include:-
1. Just like LAs, CGs have the mandate to provide local public services.
2. Where there is failure to deliver then the National Government can recall a CG.
3. CGs will be funded by local taxes as well as transfers from the National Government, this has been the case with LAs only that the amount was smaller.

This are just some points but what is most important is the collective will of the people to ensure that we are involved in how our counties are run. As shared elsewhere in this post, it will be a pity if we sit back and let the politicians and a few elite capture the system and do as they wish. Then only then can we ensure that CGs don't sink to what became of LAs. Citizen participation is not just a right; its our core duty.

Amkeni ndugu zangu.

In Service to God and My Country 

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