The counties of Kenya (Swahili: Kaunti za Kenya) are geographical units envisioned by the 2010 Constitution of Kenya as the units of devolved government. The powers are provided in Articles 191 and 192, and in the fourth schedule of the Constitution of Kenya and the County Governments Act of 2012. The counties are also single-member constituencies for the election of members of parliament to the Senate of Kenya and special women members of parliament to the National Assembly of Kenya. As of 2013 general elections, there are 47 counties whose size and boundaries are based on the 47 legally recognised Districts of Kenya. Following the re-organisation of Kenya’s national administration, counties were integrated into a new national administration with the national government posting county commissioners to represent it at the counties
Under the new constitution, Kenya is now divided into 47 counties for administrative purposes. They are grouped below according to the former province of which they were part, with their areas and populations as of the 2019 census:
County governments are responsible for county legislation (outlined in article 185 of the Constitution of Kenya), executive functions (outlined in article 183), functions outlined in the fourth schedule of the constitution of Kenya, functions transferred from the national government through article 187 of the constitution of Kenya, functions agreed upon with other counties under article 189(2) of the constitution of Kenya, and establishment and staffing of a public service (under article 235 of the Constitution of Kenya). The functions of governments assigned to counties by the fourth schedule of the Constitution of Kenya are:
Crop and animal husbandry
Livestock sale yards
County abattoirs (slaughterhouses)
Plant and animal disease control
County health services
County health facilities and pharmacies
Promotion of primary health care
Licensing and control of undertakings that sell food to the public
Veterinary services (excluding regulation of the profession)
Cemeteries, funeral parlors and crematoria
Refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste disposal.
Food distribution and Free services for pregnant mothers
Pollution, nuisances and advertising control
Control of air pollution, noise pollution, other public nuisances and outdoor advertising
Cultural activities, public entertainment and public amenities
Betting, casinos and other forms of gambling
Video shows and hiring
Sports and cultural activities and facilities
County parks, beaches and recreation facilities
Traffic and parking
Public road transport
Ferries and harbours, excluding the regulation of international and national shipping and matters related thereto
SGR- Madaraka Express (modern railway experience)
Trade development and regulation
Trade licences, excluding regulation of professions
Fair trading practices
County planning and development
Land surveying, planning and mapping of resources
Boundaries and fencing
Electricity and gas reticulation and energy regulation
Education and childcare
Pre-primary education, village polytechnics, homecraft centres and childcare facilities
Adult education and national exam registration for the same.
Implementation of specific national government policies on natural resources and environmental conservation
Soil and water conservation
County public works and services
Stormwater management systems in built-up areas
Water and sanitation services
Fire fighting services and disaster management
Counties are mandated by the 2010 constitution of Kenya to enact legislation and laws that ensures management and controls of fire fighting.
Control of drugs and pornography
Ensuring and co-ordinating the participation of communities and locations in governance at the local level
Assisting communities and locations to develop the administrative capacity for the effective exercise of the functions and powers and participation in governance at the local level
A deputy, elected as running mate of the successful candidate for governorship
A number of committee members not exceeding a third (or ten where a county assembly has more than 30 members) of the members of the respective county assembly
A county secretary, nominated by the governor and approved by the county assembly, who will double up as head of the county public service, and secretary to the county executive committee
As a speciality in the democratic system Kenyan law requires governors to have a recognised university degree (it is not necessary for the President of the United States, for example, to hold a degree).
The counties will each have an assembly whose members are elected from single member constituencies known as wards. There may also be a number of nominated members as is necessary to ensure that neither male nor female members constitute more than two-thirds of the assembly. There will also be six nominated members to represent marginalised groups (persons with disabilities, and the youth) and a county assembly speaker who will be an ex officio member of the assembly.
Current list of governors
The governors listed below were elected on 8 August 2017.
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