• Alternative Dispute Resolution will go a long way in promoting sustainable intergovernmental relations between the two levels of government and among county governments.
• The Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee has so far facilitated the resolution of four out of 17 received disputes through ADR.
Counties and state institutions with pending lawsuits against each other have been urged to withdraw them and find solutions through intergovernmental relations mechanisms.
This will not only save millions of public money but also enhance service delivery as per strategy mooted by President Uhuru Kenyatta, according to the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC).
The IGRTC said on Thursday through acting chairman John Burugu that counties and government ministries should take advantage of alternative disputes resolutions as directed by the President.
This will go a long way in promoting sustainable relations between the two levels of government and among counties for seamless public service delivery.
IGRTC has so far facilitated the resolution of four out of 17 received disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
The resolved disputes include the Nairobi government on revenues from meat inspections and Tharaka-Nithi versus the Interior ministry regarding prisons.
In May 2017, the committee published a Cost of Litigation in Inter- and Intra- Governmental Disputes report that has contributed to the development of Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations.
Burugu said court cases are costly and come in form of filing fees, advocate's fees, party and party costs and court awards. These costs eventually translate into millions of shillings.
He cited the filing fees at the High Court as ranging from Sh70,000 to Sh120,000 per case while awards are between Sh500,000 and Sh1,000,000.
Two cases involving the Senate in 2014 cost the taxpayer Sh3,320,000 in advocate fee at the High Court, Sh2,160,000 at the Court of Appeal and Sh2,160,000 at the Supreme Court.
At the county government level, the advocate's fee ranges from Sh60,000 to Sh200 million, the IGRTC statement said. Those examples indicate how costly litigation can be in the absence of ADR mechanism.
“Equally, the over-reliance on external advocates exposes both the national and county governments to collusion between officers and advocates in fixing fees in total disregard of the provisions of the Advocates (Remuneration) Act,” Burugu said.
The Intergovernmental Relations Act of 2012 established several structures and forums including the National and County Government Coordinating Summit (The Summit) as the apex body for intergovernmental relations. The Summit comprises the President and the 47 county governors.
The IGRTC and the Council of Governors make up the Sector Working Committee that addresses and resolves conflicts, tensions, misunderstandings and differing legal interpretations.
The Public Finance Management Act of 2012 established the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council with a dispute resolution role on fiscal matters between the national and county governments.
The IGRTC is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the Summit. Besides facilitating Summit and CoG activities, it implements the decisions of the two bodies.
- mwaniki fm