WHAT IS THE FATE OF THE PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION? By Mungai

 

 

According to Immigration Minister, Otieno Kajwang, while commenting on this hot issue that is making rounds concerning the fate of provincial administration, said that we must be bold enough and tell our P.C’s, D.C’s D.O’s and chiefs to pack and go. The Constitution is grounded on dismantling provincial administration.

Daily Nation Columnist, Macharia Gaitho, wrote that most outrageous is the attempt by a small cabal at the office of the President to secure its powers and privileges despite the new constitution. The harambee house mandarins are plotting to retain the dictatorial powers of the provincial administration.

Another voice said that the provincial administration as we know it has ceased to exist. The old administrative structure has to be pulled down. Appointed coordinators who used to wield godly powers will not work in harmony with elected governors.

These are a few voices which have voiced their concern concerning this issue which is threatening to divide the Kenyan’s, the fate of the provincial administration – the provincial commissioners, District commissioners, Divisional officers, chiefs and sub chiefs.

Some proponents are supporting for its retaination while others are campaigning for it’s abolition. And, to the people in the rural areas will they do without chiefs whom they turn to if they have a problem?

The system of the provincial administration has been with us since the colonial times and to many Kenyans citizen whether in urban or rural areas the face of chiefs and sub-chiefs are the representation of the government. They are the representatives of the Government as they are devolved in a creation chain of command to the grass root level. The government communicates to its people through them, implements government policies, listens and address peoples grievances, render government services, settle disputes and above all administer in their areas of jurisdiction.

But, over the years the system has been pricked with hairs, been accused of various misdeeds, from corruption, dictatorial, mismanagement and compromising the rule of the law and thus been used as a tool of manipulating. They have been the tool which is been used by the political corrects, elites and barons to further their cause.

Any interest that needed to be catered for, any corrupt deal that needed to be transacted, any political move you wanted to influence and you have the political connection then the provincial administration came in handy.

It is a system which has been used to manipulate and further the causes of the politicians and that’s why the Kenyans and drafters of the constitution targeted it for the total overhaul. It was substituted with the idea of the devolved governments headed by the governor, elected and accountable to the people.

The new constitution has diluted the system and left the option to the national government to either abolish the system or restructure it to fuse in the devolved governments without duplicating or taking up the roles of the devolved system.

Thus, this constitution has brought to a conclusion and drastically reduced the powerful provincial administration. But, they have played a paramount role which cannot be washed away or gainsaid. They have served their masters without a whim and co-currently bringing normalcy on the ground.

The idea behind the provincial administration was initiated by the colonial government so that they can help them govern the people and to stamp out the authority on the locals. Successive governments also found it useful and they made more powerful as they were the ears and the eyes on the ground.

The office of the president where the provincial administrations are answerable to have started to restructure it and it has caused a lot of brouhaha. But in matters of introspective is it the ripe moment to do away with the provincial administration, or, are we at a crossroad and what are the after effects if we happen to do away with it in matter of principal?

According to members of parliament, John Mututho and Kazungu Kambi, they said that what we need is restructuring and not abolition. It is an important part of the administrative system, the country could not do without provincial administration system, scrapping it will create a vacuum which will cause chaos.

Those who are campaigning for its abolition is saying that let it be systematically phased out to create room for devolved governments; the objects revolve around self governance and participation. The constitution states that there will be county administrative structures and this clearly leave no room for ambiguity of this clause.

But, the fate of the instruments loathed in the old constitution, the office of the provincial administration, a supervisory wing of the executive, must await it’s legislation by Parliament.


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