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Citizen Weekly

Monday 4 August 2014


The decision by the Senate to legislate into law a clause in the constitution that seeks to clip the wings of wayward MCAs who turn county assemblies into “Towers of Babel” is in the right direction as its set to tame some MCAs who have failed to exhibit and demonstrate transformational servant leadership and are a threat to true devolution.

The Bill if passed into law will have rowdy MCAs who disrupt sittings during debate in County Assemblies charged and face two years behind bars or fined Sh500, 000 or both. The Bill being drafted by Majority Leader in the Senate, Prof  Kindiki Kithure, comes at a time when MCAs across the country-from Kakamega to Machakos, Nairobi to Embu etc, have brought disrepute to County Assemblies. 

 MCAs have been  wielding enormous powers to the extent that they can decide to impeach governors  who fail to submit to their whims, holding them to ransom, prompting infighting over award of tenders and seeking county employment opportunities dished out to their spouses, relatives and close friends.

The character some MCAs exhibit, talking big and portraying a don’t-care attitude, demanding or making unnecessary foreign trips that do not add up nor value to their wards or counties smacks of a lot. MCAs must be made to toe the line and know that as the fulcrum of devolution in the wards, they must behave like servants of the people. Already, eight countries including US, Netherlands,  South Africa and  Rwanda, among others, have  banned Kenyan MCAs from visiting  their countries because such visits are not of any value to their biateral relationship.
It is for this reason, we believe, MCAs can play a fundamental role in transformational servant leadership that is expected of them in order to bring rapid development to citizens and ignite the pace of development from the ward, county to national level. To achieve this, we will then be talking of the fruits of devolution as a nation.

The essence of devolution is to ensure that no part of the country lags behind in terms of economic development so that through counties, the whole nation would pull together under the armpit of the national government.

It is against this background that as a structure, counties need to put in place systems that MCAs must follow and be guided under law as servants of the people but not a lot that engages each other in fisticuffs, throwing punches and rotten eggs and flying water bottles at each in county assemblies.

Several incidents of MCAs engaging in unpleasant shows across the country have been reported by the media. MCAs should deliberate on key issues that could spur economic development of the citizens in their counties and more particular, in the wards they represent.
We want to see MCAs mould themselves into leaders close to the people and run well structured counties with Public Service Boards that must work together with MCAs, the governor and now the Senator.

 The new law that will create the boards to streamline development budgetary projections and prioritise key development projects, something that governors resisted and saw it as one way by the legislative and executive to muzzle their role and power base, should therefore not be used to generate unnecessary tensions among governors and senators for the sake of rapid development.
We pray that the supremacy contest between Kakamega senator Bonnie Khalwale on one hand and Governor Wycliffee Oparanya on the other will come to an end and duo will work together for the sake of the people of Kakamega. So, do we also, hope that Machakos governor Alfred Mutua and Senator Johnson Muthama, will bury the hatchet and work together for the good of all the people of Machakos. Devolution must be encouraged to take root with a human face!

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