power has been dispersed from the presidency and executive to the county governments, judiciary and most importantly, the parliament.
nowhere is this more visible than in the budget making process. whereas in the past, the treasury and finance ministry would allocate funds arbitrarily with token input from parliament, civil society and the public at large, after the new constitution has revolutionized all this.
parliament has a huge say in how finances are allocated, and the budget estimates brought to the house by the minister of finance must be debated, and necessary AMENDMENTS made by legislators which the minister will then have to take into account.
this is done in the following steps (chapter 12 article 221 of the constitution);
- the minister brings the budget estimates to the house
- the parliament debates this estimates and makes recommendations and necessary amendments
- the minister takes this recommendations into account and presents the final budget statement in form of appropriation bill to the floor of the house.
- if parliament is satisfied with the statement it adopts it as the appropriations bill and it is taken to president for assent.
what has happened is that everything went on hunky dory until step 4. the minister took the recommendations by parliament and ignored them, and on June ? he came with the budget statement that ignored much of the input of the civil society, public and parliament.
he didn't come with the appropriation bill, and on June 22nd 2012, he was in parliament begging parliamentarians to pass a motion to authorize him to withdraw 404 billion Kenya shillings from the consolidated fund so that govt programmes can continue to function
if parliament would have thrown out the motion, government functions would have ground to a complete halt.
imagine all civil servants not being paid, kenyan military in somalia not being funded, embassies, ministries, judiciary etc operations stop just like that.
because of the incompetence/arrogance/disrespect/impunity of the treasury.
this kind of disrespect of the constitution, impunity and law breaking at such an early stage of implementation of the new constitution does not bode well for the future and sets a bad precedent.
in future, when this exploitative, corrupt, bloated and unnecessary coalition government is not there, less friendly opposition parties will not be so indulging.
there will be grandstanding, unwillingness to compromise and partisanship next year at a time like this. the treasury, parliamentarians, civil society and public at large should be very wary of the happenings of June 21st 2012.
instead of focusing on Korean air, Irish ministers, political intrigues and other sideshows, Kenyans should reread, understand the constitution, then we will be able to better hold the executive, parliament and government at large accountable.
next time we might not have such a happy(?) ending.