County Assemblies Forum through its amended Constitution, 2019 established eight clusters at the regional levels with an aim of promoting inclusivity though representation at the Executive Committee, creation of a networking platform and promotion of greater collaboration. The eight clusters are; North Rift cluster which comprises of Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo. South Rift: Nakuru, Kericho, Bomet, Laikipia, Narok, Kajiado, Samburu. Central: Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kirinyaga.Eastern: Meru, Kitui, Makueni, Isiolo, Machakos, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Marsabit. Nyanza: Kisumu, Migori, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisii, Nyamira. Western: Vihiga, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Trans Nzoia . North Eastern: Mandela, Wajir, Garissa, Nairobi. Coast: Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Tana River, Taita Taveta in its quest to promote networking of members within its clusters. The Forum leadership resolved to conduct cluster engagements in February, 2020.The objectives of these engagements firstly for members of County Assemblies to know and understand CAF and what it exists to do and what is in the pipeline for the current leadership and also to provide feedback to the CAF executive Committee on your expectations and how CAF can serve you better.
The Central Cluster held its inaugural engagement on 3rd February, 2020 at the White Rhino Hotel in Nyeri County. This cluster comprises of Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu and Nyandarua County Assemblies. The Forum brought together Members of County Assembly (MCAs) from the five County Assemblies and the members of the CAF leadership.
During the engagement, CAF Chairperson Hon. Ndegwa Wahome in his remarks informed members that the Forum had formed an ad hoc committee to gather views from all County Assemblies on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report to be presented to the BBI Taskforce. He also emphasised the need for county assemblies across the country to continue making laws that resonate with aspirations of Mwananchi.
CAF Secretary General Hon. Kipkurui Chepkwony on the other hand expressed concerns over reports of MCAs being mistreated and humiliated during national events and ceremonies. He noted that the MCAs are leaders just like any other leaders of this great country and the humiliation was unwarranted.
The Central Cluster MCAs raised concerns on their involvement in the BBI discussions noting that county legislators have not been given an opportunity to air out their views on the report especially during the BBI taskforce stakeholders’ engagements.
Eastern Cluster comprising of Meru, Kitui, Makueni, Isiolo, Machakos, Tharaka Nithi, Embu and Marsabit County Assemblies held its inaugural cluster engagement on Tuesday 4th February 2020 at the Mountain Breeze Hotel in Embu County. The Eastern Cluster members raised concerns amongst them;
- Representation of the senior/elderly members within the CAF leadership
- The need to establish PWD committees in all the 47 County Assemblies.
- Fast-tracking of the Ward Development bill.
The Coast Cluster comprising of Mombasa County Assembly, Kwale County Assembly, Kilifi County Assembly, Tana River County Assembly, Lamu County Assembly and Taita Taveta County Assembly also held its inaugural meeting on Thursday 6th February 2020 at the White Sands Hotel, Mombasa County. The members were concerned with the land issues affecting the coast counties. The members urged the National government to look into the land grievances of the coastal people.
Nyanza Cluster comprising of Kisumu County Assembly, Siaya County Assembly, Homabay County Assembly, Migori County Assembly, Kisii County Assembly and Nyamira County Assembly held its inaugural meeting at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel, Kisumu on 7th February 2020. Honourable members from the Nyanza cluster further raised concerns on the manner in which the BBI engagements were handled noting that their concerns had not been included in the report.
The ward representatives noted that Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, which is currently going through public participation to incorporate the Ward Development Fund to cater for needs at the ward level.
The county assemblies in the Western Cluster include Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Vihiga counties held its cluster engagement on 17th February, 2020 at Golf Hotel, Kakamega County. The MCAs opposed calls for the establishment of regional governments noting that this was against the spirit of devolution. They instead proposed wards to be made primary development units to strengthen devolution. Further, the cluster expressed the need to have regional blocs to be in the Constitution and funded by the exchequer instead of creating regional governments.
The members also committed to push for full financial autonomy of the county assemblies without reliance on the Executive. The members stressed that this would ensure that County Assemblies perform their oversight role without interreferences. They further recommend a comprehensive costing of devolved vis a vi the national functions which should determine resource allocation for both the functions.
The county assemblies in the North Rift Cluster Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo held its cluster engagement on 16th February, 2020 at Boma Inn Hotel, Uasin Gishu County. The Cluster engagements centered on several issues of concern to the region; The members so the need to include the counties in matters of security due to the rising number of insecurities in the region. There was need for the members to legislate on the Regional development And Economic Bloc for holistic growth of the cluster.
North Eastern Cluster comprising of Nairobi County Assembly, Mandera County Assembly, Garissa County Assembly and Wajir County Assembly held its inaugural cluster engagements on Saturday 15th February 2020 at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nairobi County.
The Cluster noted that owing to the large landmass of the counties in the region; size and population should be used as parameters to determine allocation of resources. Members also demanded that the Nomadic Education Commission be re-established to promote education for the people of N. Eastern. Members noted that issues of Insecurity have hampered development in the region and thus the need to form the County Policing Authority with a Representation of County Governments at the National Security Council.
The South Rift Cluster Members of County Assembly (MCAs) renewed the push for a special fund meant for development at the ward level. This cluster comprises of Laikipia, Nakuru, Narok, Bomet, Kericho, Samburu and Kericho county assemblies. MCAs from across the country have spoken and as the secretariat retreats to harmonise the resolutions, it’s apparent that strengthening devolution is endeared by the County Legislatures.