The County Governments

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As Kenyans prepare for the coming General Elections, it is important to understand the roles of the people they will be voting for.

The Constitution of Kenya introduced Devolution; which is a concept that must be understood for it to be effective. Devolution of power is identified as a value and principle that should guide our governance system. As part of devolution, management and coordination of the functions of the county administration and its departments lie squarely with the county governments.

The centre of the County Government is the County Assembly and the County Executive. The former plays the role of lawmaking, while the latter carries out the governance functions of the county. These responsibilities are to be undertaken in line with the principles of good governance, as highlighted in the Constitution. It is therefore imperative to have the right people to manage these county governments in accordance with the constitution.

Article 176 of the Constitution seeks to define, explain and elaborate the arrangement, powers and functions of a County Government. It also clarifies the relationship between the County Assembly and the County Executive.

The Constitution provides for a County government for each County,

The Governor is the overall head of the County. The Governor is directly elected by the voters registered in every county, on the day of the general election. The County Government shall consist of:

  • a County Assembly;
  • a County Executive

The Executive authority of the County is vested in and is to be exercised by a County Executive Committee which consists of

  • A Governor;
  • Deputy Governor; and
  • Members appointed by the County Governor with the approval of the County Assembly, but who should not be members of the County Assembly.

Each candidate for election as County Governor nominates a person who is qualified for nomination for election as County Governor as a candidate for Deputy Governor.

The County Assembly on the other hand consists of:

  • members elected from each ward in the county by votes of the respective County Assembly Ward;
  • Members nominated by political parties in proportion seats received in the election in the county to ensure that no more than two thirds of the county assembly are of the same gender;
  • four persons with disability; and
  • four youth.

The County Assemblies being the legislative organ of the County Government are supposed to make laws for the county government; exercise oversight over the county executive organs; and receive and approve plans and policies for the Counties.

Election of county assembly members is very crucial in realizing the goals of devolution. Voters must ensure compliance with the integrity standards as captured in chapter six. Issues of integrity have generated a lot of controversies during this campaigning period; there are no clear guidelines on what criteria to use on determining whether the integrity threshold has been met. It is therefore upon the citizens to go and register as voters to ensure that the right people are voted into this county government. We urge the people entitled to vote to question the track records of aspirants and examine them carefully before entrusting them with leadership.

Purpose to register and vote wisely.