New intergovernmental relations team takes over

Team’s work cut out for them, considering happenings in the political landscape.

In Summary
  • Devolution is at the heart of Kenya’s future development.
  • The country’s development is county based and harmonious intergovernmental relations is a benefit not a hindrance to achieving development goals.

The Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee, IGRTC, an independent office that handles intergovernmental relations between the two levels of government in enhancing governance and better services, has a new leadership.

President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed the new Technical Committee for a six-year non-renewable term vide Gazette Notice No 4234 of June 19. As the apex body of intergovernmental relations, the IGRTC is the team that ensures smooth relations between the national and county governments in service delivery.

The members of the IGTRC are Angeline Hongo, Dr Perminus Ndimitu, Linet Mosa Mavu, Alfred Khangati, John Burugu, Alice Kemunto Mayaka, Saadia Abdi Kontoma and Wilson ole Pere. The chairman is yet to be appointed and members will have to choose an interim chairperson. Peter Lelei serves as the CEO and secretary to the IGRTC.

Intergovernmental relations refer to interactions between and among different governments within a nation, in our case national and county governments, and between the county governments themselves. These are both vertical and horizontal relations involving issues of respective roles, power, responsibilities, influence as defined in the constitution, enabling legislations. There are channels, structures, forums and institutional arrangements to facilitate these bilateral or multilateral interactions.

The committee’s mandate is based on aspects of cooperation, consultation and coordination under Articles 6 (2), and 189 of the Constitution. The team also ensures adherence to national values and principles by the national and county governments and among all intergovernmental relations forums.

The IGTRC acts as an intermediary to cultivate, maintain and facilitate effective and harmonious relationship in the devolved governance system through promotion of consultation, cooperation and coordination within the two levels of government. Other functions include taking over and handling all residue functions left pending by the defunct Transition Authority; providing technical advisory, research and secretariat services specifically to the summit chaired by the President and Council of Governors, the Sectoral Committees and other joint intergovernmental forums and programmes.

It deals with functions transfer, power relations, sharing of revenues, coordinated planning, dispute resolution, assets and liabilities, policies that enhance national cohesion and unity. More importantly, the IGRTC implements the resolutions of the Summit and the CoG in progressive service delivery under the overall national development blueprint of Vision 2030.

The IGRTC works with other agencies such as the National Treasury, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Office of the Controller of Budget, the Senate and Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council.

Why have intergovernmental relations? This is because devolution is at the heart of Kenya’s future development. The country’s development is county based and harmonious intergovernmental relations is a benefit not a hindrance to achieving development goals. Delivery by county governments contributes to socioeconomic development and therefore maintenance of the same will deliver devolution dividends.

The team’s work is cut out for them, considering the happenings in the political landscape. Their ability to ensure harmonious and effective intergovernmental relations will go along way in support and actualisation of national goals and successful devolution. 

The ball is in their court, the baton of leadership has been passed to them by Prof Karega Mutahi’s team. One of the issues in the in tray is the operationalisation of legislation for economic blocs, establishment of alternative dispute resolutions and strengthening the workings of sectoral committees.

It is also incumbent on the new team to fight the perception that the IGTRC is a department of the State Department of Devolution. They have to abandon low-key operations and raise the profile of Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee through increased public engagements, better media relations and communication.