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The Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) today held a consultative meeting to discuss emerging issues on the implementation of the water function in Devolution. Among the agendas were; the Functional Analysis, review, Transfer in the water sector, and the conflicts between the two levels of Government in the implementation of the Water function.

In his opening remarks, IGRTC Acting Chair Mr. John Burugu appreciated the Millennium Water alliance for their steadfast support to IGRTC.
IGRTC, established under the Intergovernmental Relations Act No. 2 of 2012 (IGRA 2012), establishes a framework for consultation, cooperation, and coordination between the National Government, county governments, and amongst county governments, as envisaged in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya.

While opening the forum, he emphasized the importance of the meeting in reviewing and critically examining the implementation of the water function in counties as per the 2010 Constitution. While acknowledging diverse challenges in the implementation by the two levels of Government, the Chairperson urged the stakeholders to make the discussion open so that they can talk to each other, review, identify challenges, and derive abiding solutions.

“Despite the unbundling of the water functions, there is still a lack of clarity on the performance of these functions at both levels of Government, IGRTC in 2017 carried out a study dubbed, ‘Emerging issues on the transfer of functions to National and County Governments. The study noted conflicting roles in the implementation of water function by the two levels of Government.” Said the Chair.

Mr. Burugu further urged for the finalization of these processes of transfer of functions to enhance the seamless implementation of Devolution. He also told stakeholders, that IGRTC through the support of Water Millennium Alliance, has identified and appointed a consultant who will be visiting counties and offices to set the water function on a better productive pedestal in service delivery.

On their part, the Millennium Water alliance representative urged for full implementation of the Intergovernmental framework to address challenges in the water sector across counties. The body is instrumental in Convening and Influencing Governments, the Private Sector, and Non-Governmental Organizations to Accelerate Global Progress in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.

On their part, the CECMs, through their chair, Engineer Ng’eno (CECM water Nakuru county), highlighted the challenges in implementing the water sector reforms. Key among them being the conflicting roles between counties and water bodies, lack of synergy between the two levels of Government in addressing water challenges, and called for the need to move from promises to actions.
The Council of Governor’s representative, Mr. Kizito Wangalwa, decried a conflict of interest between counties and the water agencies that need to be, resolved since the two serve the same people. He also urged for the inclusion of counties in water development programs by the water agencies. On her part, the representative of the National Government ministry of Water, madam Teresia Wasike, reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to address the issues at hand and make solutions, probably, full implementation of the Water Act 2016.

The finalization of the delineation of the water function for better service delivery in counties by IGRTC is very imperative for the realization of the ultimate dividends of Devolution to Kenyans.

The meeting was attended by; the Millennium Water Alliance, Ministry of water representation, IGRTC members, Council of Governors, Water CECM’s Consultants, and IGRTC Technical staff.

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The National, County Governments, and other state bodies urged to file their disputes with IGRTC.

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The National, County Governments, and other state bodies have been urged to file their disputes with Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) before battling each other in courts whenever they fail to agree on emerging issue’s .

The National, County Governments, and other state bodies have been urged to file their disputes with Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) before battling each other in courts whenever they fail to agree on emerging issues.

According to IGRTC Interim Chairperson John Burugu there have been inter and intergovernmental disputes among County Governments, within institutions and organs of the county governments, and also between organs of County and National Government.

“There have been rampant disputes in the Government and therefore, it’s important for the key players to know that IGRTC exists to assist in finding solutions before the parties go to court. Causes of these disputes have been power distribution, functions as provided in the Fourth Schedule of the constitution,” said Burugu.

“Other causes are the transfer of functions, application of policies and legislations not aligned to the Articles 174 and Articles 175 of the Constitution, County boundaries, revenues, human capital relations such as the Health Workers work relations and environments,” he added.

Mr. Burugu was speaking during the opening of a four-day capacity building workshop on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for the new Members of IGRTC and the Technical Team in Naivasha on Wednesday.

The workshop aims at equipping the eight-Member team which was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta two months ago with ADR mechanisms on Adjudications, Arbitration, Negotiations, and Resolutions as tools of resolving various disputes and the procedures attendant to each process.

Burugu said that currently there are 17 on-going ADR cases, which have been declared to IGRTC while they have managed to settle two cases, with one case going back to court – where parties failed to agree on away forward. The rest of the cases are at various stages of discussion.

Earlier in the year, the Supreme Court pronounced itself that it would only handle intergovernmental cases which have passed through the ADR process with IGRTC and set rules which led to the President’s directive last month for State Agencies and Organs including the County Governments to withdraw cases filed in courts and seek ADR Mechanism.

This implies that IGRTC will soon have an avalanche of disputes filed and hence the need to have adequate preparations in terms of enhancing capacity and skills to handle the workload.

Burugu noted that such a move will be an added advantage to the republic saving the taxpayers the high litigation costs and delays in determining cases that are incurred when parties choose to first use the courts instead of ADR mechanism to settle their scores.

“Litigations are costly and time-wasting hence we must know that one of the core principles of the Constitution guiding the administration of justice and the exercise of judicial authority are the requirements to embrace alternative forms of dispute resolution,” said Mr. Burugu.

He added, “These include traditional dispute resolution mechanisms. ADR policy is a significant step in achieving reforms not only in judiciary but also in Kenya’s endeavour towards the fulfillment, respect, observance, promotion, and protection of the right to Access Justice. ”

Meanwhile, the Acting Chairman praised efforts by the 47 Governors and the President in ensuring the devolution is working by taking resources closer to the people.

soderoThe National, County Governments, and other state bodies urged to file their disputes with IGRTC.
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Inauguration of new IGRTC members.

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Members of the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee pose for a photograph with Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Eugene Wamalwa, IGRTC Chief Executive Officer Peter Leley, and Chairman Council of Governors, Wycliffe Oparanya at Tele posta Towers on Monday, June 29, 2020, during inauguration to their new office.

soderoInauguration of new IGRTC members.
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