Governors renew opposition to new Kenya Roads Bill

Governors have renewed their opposition to the reclassification of roads claiming it is a plot by the national government to reverse the road function which has been devolved.

Speaking during a consensus building forum for the proposed Kenya Roads Bill, Council of Governors vice chairman John Mruttu claimed the bill is a plot by the national government to retain he roads function despite the constitution devolving a section of roads.

In the proposed bill, rural roads in the counties have now been renamed as ‘secondary national trunk roads’ while urban roads within the jurisdiction of counties have simply been taken away from the counties.

“We are aware that the renaming of roads is a systematic plan by the Transport Ministry to retain the road function. The courts have severally ruled that they are devolved which the COG abides by. We have not changed our stance,” Governor Mruttu said.

They maintained that the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA) and Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) should be disbanded because the present constitutional dispensation does not recognize them.

“The argument that counties do not have capacity to handle the roads Sector is plainly untrue. It will be un-constitutional to retain the KERRA & KURA in the present constitutional dispensation or even rename them and purport to make them under-take County functions,” added the Taita Taveta governor.

The Transport ministry announced early this year that it would re-classify roads and put most of them under the national government to guarantee development for the 10,000 km promised by the Jubilee Administration.

Transport CS James Macharia argued that the move would enable Kenyans to get value for their tax by eliminating rogue contractors who are constructing poor quality roads by using technologies that have not been approved by the government.

“We have seen certain counties coming up with roads constructed by contractors from other countries or using techniques and technologies which they argue are cheaper but do not guarantee the standard lifespan of roads,” he argued.

If the bill becomes law, counties will get 28 per cent of the revenue collected by the Kenya Roads Board as fuel levy, something governors have vehemently opposed.

“Outdoor advertising on road reserves are under the county governments. As such, no authority can purport to impose any fees for the use of the said reserves for outdoor advertising, street lighting, traffic and parking without consultation with and the approval of the respective county government,” Eng. Mruttu said.

They also want Commission on Revenue Allocation calculation of 25 per cent reviewed.

“As the Council of Governors, we contend that this is an underestimation because every year Counties have built more roads,” Mruttu added.

 

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