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CIC joins petition seeking to stall devolution of health services

14 January 2014, 15:33 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) was yesterday allowed to join a petition seeking orders to suspend legal notices on the devolution of health services.

High Court judge Isaac Lenaola allowed CIC’s application to be enjoined in the case as an interested party challenging the misinterpretation of a gazette notice by the Transition Authority officiating transfer of health services to county governments.

CIC through lawyer Paul Otieno Nyamudi argued that the petition concerns the interpretation of the constitutional provisions relegating to devolution of health services to county governments and as such matters devolution fall squarely within their mandate.

“CIC is mandated by Section 15(d) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and Section 4 of its Act to effectively monitor the implementation of the system of devolved government, in the interest of justice, it is imperative that CIC be enjoined forthwith to this petition,” Mr Otieno said.

Justice Lenaola’s move comes after Justice Mumbi Ngugi allowed the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) to be enjoined as an interested party in the suit too last December.

According to the Nurses’ Union Secretary General Seth Panyako and lawyer Enonda Dickson KNUN needed to shed light into the issues raised as they directly affect health workers.

Judge Mumbi had however demanded to know why the petitioners Mr Okiya Omtata and Wycliffe Gisebe wanted the new suit on devolution of health services be heard yet a similar was finalized by a three bench judge.

Lady Justice Mumbi had however asked the Transition Authority and the Attorney General to respond to the suit but carefully counter check on whether the suit addresses issues raised in judgment passed.

The activists claim the two cases are different as the initial one tackled proper management of an illegality in the devolution of health service while the new suit seeks to show that there is a misinterpretation process which resulted to a crisis in the provision of health services.

The activists argued that the Transition Authority, the Attorney General and the Council of Governors operationalized the distribution of health functions to counties through a legal notice published in the Kenya Gazette on August 9, contrary to schedule 4 of the constitution on the distribution of functions between the national government and county governments.

The alleged illegal legal notice purports the transfer of Level 2 to Level 5 health facilities that constitute the national referral health system from the national government to the county government.

The hearing of the case will be on January 28.

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