MCAs must up game for devolution fruits
4 months ago, 24 Maý 23:56
County Assembly members form the bedrock of devolution as they provide leadership at the grassroots and oversee resource use.
Increasingly, it is emerging that the MCAs wield enormous powers — starting with the fact that they approve county budgets and, in that way, direct development projects.
But we acknowledge that there are several gaps in regard to the roles of MCAs and, for that matter, county assemblies, which must be tackled.
A number of these have come out at the MCAs conference held in Mombasa this week.
Dubbed the Third Annual Legislative Summit, the meeting has had to grapple with the question of financial disbursement to the counties and the capacity of ward reps to legislate on county laws and check how public monies are used.
Part of the challenge is that, although so much is expected of the MCAs, they do not have the capacity and resources to deal with some rather complex matters that they are confronted with.
For example, one of the critical components of legislation is public participation; ensuring the people meaningfully engage in the law-making process.
This is woefully lacking as this has been reduced to tokenistic meetings where residents are herded to support what their leaders tell them.
More critically, MCAs require capacity to interrogate budgets and understand how their assemblies relate with the Senate, whose prime role is to protect counties.
Unfortunately, the MCAs and county assemblies have been known more for fistfights and rancorous debates, unnecessary trips for the so-called benchmarking, as well as blackmail of governors — all of which give them a very negative image.
The summit is important in creating a platform for sharing experiences and networking, hence empowering the MCAs to do their work.
But beyond the summit, MCAs have to take their work seriously.
They must rise beyond brawls and devious schemes to siphon money from the counties and provide leadership that ensures devolution flourishes.
It is important that they reflect on some of the issues they have deliberated on and commit to raise the bar.
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