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Kakamega residents poke holes in proposed ombudsman law

They said the provisions would defeat the purpose of the law.

Story Highlights
  • Resident Anthony Amusala said Section 19 of the bill, which limits the investigative work of the Ombudsman on decisions or proceedings of the county executive committee members and actions and inaction of a governor, offends a key object of the law, which is to enhance accountability in public service.
  • Residents suggested the ombudsman tenure of service be reduced from the proposed six years to a three-year renewable term.

Kakamega residents have rejected sections of the proposed law that seeks to establish the county office of the ombudsman.

They faulted clauses on appointment, limitations to investigation and the tenure of the office of the ombudsman proposed in the Kakamega County Administrative Justice Bill 2021, arguing they negate the objective of the law.

Read Kakamega to get Ombudsman office 

They also demanded the removal of clauses insulating the governor and the county executive from being investigated by the ombudsman.

They said the provisions would defeat the purpose of the law.

Residents were giving their views on the bill during a public participation session by the county assembly committee on county public service and administration on Tuesday.

The session was chaired by committee chairperson Boniface Osanga.

Speakers said the public must be given a greater role in the process of selecting the ombudsman.

Resident Anthony Amusala said Section 19 of the bill, which limits the investigative work of the Ombudsman on decisions or proceedings of the county executive committee members and actions and inaction of a governor, offends a key object of the law, which is to enhance accountability in public service.

He also faulted the procedure for the appointment of the county ombudsman, as specified in the bill, saying it would turn the office into an appendage of the county executive.

Amusala said the successful person to be appointed as the ombudsman should have a degree from the relevant field as the minimum qualification.

Section six of the bill requires that the ombudsman must be a degree holder appointed by the governor. The person will be picked from a list of three names submitted by a selection panel appointed by the executive committee member.

The section further states that the selection panel shall comprise a chairperson and four other members appointed by the county minister, including one from the governor’s office, one from the County Public Service Board and one from the county department. Two people will be drawn from the public.

They also proposed that the office be expanded and be funded directly from the county treasury.

Residents suggested the ombudsman tenure of service be reduced from the proposed six years to a three-year renewable term.

Residents said the provisions on appointment are skewed in favour of the executive and if left unchanged would undermine the office.

Via
Hilton Otenyo
Source
The Star

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