The theme for Inaugural Legislative summit was “Celebrating and Entrenching Devolution through Legislation”. This was the first Legislative summit for the senate and MCAs. This forum has high potential if strengthened as the discussion were focused on practical challenges on legislature, achievements, gaps, relationships between the senate and county assemblies synergies and how the senate can support the county assemblies in legislature, budgeting process and allocations and intergovernmental relations to strengthen governing of the counties. The forum is purely for senators and MCA, speakers, clerks and staff. No governors.
Some of the key highlights from the summit include;
To date counties have developed 1457 bills that has translated into law. The senate, County Assemblies and CAF were tasked to;
- Ensure that all legislation by senate and county assemblies is anchored on a clear policy framework.
- Establish a framework for quality control of laws passed in counties to ensure that they are in conformity with the constitution, national laws and policies.
UN Women and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) to analyze the laws to see how many target gender issues and inclusion.
Counties to focus on programme based planning for results and impact on service delivery. The issues of capacity gaps with MCAs and county staff was identified as a major drawback in legislature and implementation of work plans at the counties. Counties and stakeholders were encouraged to support the capacity development of staff, MCAs and the strengthening of counties as institutions going forward.
Strengthening public participation.
The senate, County Assemblies and CAF were tasked to;
- Design effective strategies for coordinating effective public participation and translate bills into Kiswahili and simplify for citizens to understand and give input.
- Prepare and avail to citizens simplified bills digest prior to undertaking public participation on the bills.
Technical capacity on gender issues and Gender Responsive Budgeting is limited in all counties. The senate, County Assemblies and CAF were tasked to ensure that budgets at both the national ad county level are inclusive and take into consideration gender concerns and those of special interest groups. This action become item number 12 in the signed communique by the senate and CAF. It is through UN Women participation in this event that discussion on gender mainstreaming become part of the programme and action point.
To enhance participation of women in leadership, it was recommended that;
- Continuous and sustained mentorship is critical to enhance women political participation.
- To establish county chapters and a continued capacity strengthening of women Member of County Assemblies (both men and women) on gender mainstreaming in core functions of the assemblies.
- To create a database that will form a resource center on the bills, motions and questions by women in the different county assemblies.
Enhancing Synergy between the senate and county assemblies. The senate, County Assemblies and CAF were tasked to review the county governments Act 2012 and the standing orders to facilitate the synergies in legislature and others matters under consideration by each house.
The participants felt that the senate and county assemblies would have achieved much by now if the forum was initiated in 2014. However they purposed to do the best possible between now and 2017.
It was proposed that the forum should be done annually and more stakeholders to be involved.