Counties to get 19 State bodies in transfer deals

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 08:20 | By
The chairman of the Inter-Governmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC), Kithinji Kiragu, yesterday, when he explained the government’s plan to transfer 19 agencies to county governments. PHOTO/PD/ALVIN MWANGI

County governments will soon have additional functions after an elaborate transfer process of about 19 agencies that are currently managed by the national government.

According to the Inter-Governmental Relations and Technical Committee (IGRTC), the State intends that by December at least 14 agencies will be devolved.

The IGRTC chair Kithinji Kiragu says they have engaged both levels of government to ensure the exercise is successful. “As a committee, we have a complete schedule of all those devolved functions that are currently being handled by the national government. Our plan is to ensure we have placed every function to its respective authority,” he said.

Stakeholders’ meeting

Kiragu said in the coming weeks, the agency will also have a stakeholders’ meeting where they will scrutinise all these functions and attach the budget required. According to IGRTC, the functions include county roads, which currently are managed by Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra).

Currently, Kerra manages, develops and maintains most rural roads while Kura is in charge of roads in urban areas.

“The Transition Authority (TA) reclassification of roads remains contested and has been the subject of inter-governmental discussions and litigation. (Particularly) the apportionment of Class D roads between the National Government (24,000km) and for the County Governments,” reads the report by IGRTC.

Also set to be moved to counties are library services, which are currently managed by Kenya National Library Services.

“Library functions are devolved under the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution,’’ a report by IGRTC reads.

 There are about 63 libraries in Kenya spread across 33 counties.

Betting control is another county function that is still undertaken by the national government under the Ministry of Interior.

Kithinji said they are also looking to transfer disaster management, currently under the Ministry of Interior.

Counties will also take up management of ferries and harbours, as well as of museums, which are currently managed by Kenya National Museums, under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage. Various aspects of water services — including protection, securing residual water and reticulation — will also be county functions.

Regional authorities

The TA also analysed the functions of regional authorities, with inter-governmental consultations still going on regarding their restructuring.

Currently, there is no framework for inter-governmental co-operation between county governments and regional bodies in the areas of project identification, implementation and management.

It is undesirable that continued interactions between the counties and the Regional Development Agencies  (RDAs) continue to happen on an ad-hoc basis,” the report reads.

The RDAs include Tanathi Water Services Board, Tana Water Services Board, Rift Valley Water Services Board, Northern Water Services Board, Lake Victoria Water Services Board and Lake Victoria South Water Services Board.

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