Lawyer Peter Wanyama (left), for Council of Governors together with Amanya Cohen (right) and Lawyer Winfred Nyamu for Machakos governor Alfred Mutua leaving Milimani law courts after court ruled it was proper and legal for the county chiefs to appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee to respond to questions over mismanaged county finances on June 24,2015.
BY SAM ALFAN.
High Court has declared unconstitutional the law that gave senators authority to chair county development boards
“A law that gave senators the power to convene and chair county development boards has been declared as unconstitutional.” ruled the three judge bench.
The three constitutions division judges said neither the senate, members of national assembly or members of national executive such as county commissioners have a role to play in the planning and budgetary for county development plans.
Justices Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and George Odunga observed that the composition and mandate of the County development board upsets and is in violation of the framework created by the constitution with respect to devolution and the separation of powers.
“We are therefore convinced that the involvement of the senate, national assembly band national executive in the CBD violates the tenets and principle of the constitution. Their involvement interferes and compromises the roles of these organs in their oversight functions over counties and that it is in violation of the principle of separation of powers,” they ruled.
The County Government (Amendment) Act 2014 created County Development Boards, which were to be chaired by senators, while governors were to serve as secretaries.
Members of the National Assembly, members of the county assemblies, and representatives from the national government had been proposed as members of the board.
The new laws however brought deviations between governors and senators, with the Council of Governors moving to court to have it declared null and void.
According to the governors, the law was meant to weaken their powers as well as impede development projects in counties.
They argued that allowing senators to chair the county development boards would interfere with the separation of powers in Section 96 of the Constitution.