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What is the Role and Functions of a County Governor in Kenya? 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 2009 and the 2019 census
The county governor and the deputy county governor are the chief executive and deputy chief executive of the county, respectively. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission shall not conduct a separate election for the deputy governor but shall declare the running mate of the person who is elected county governor to have been elected as the deputy governor. Each county will be run by an executive committee, consisting of:
- A governor, elected directly by the people
- 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)
Let us now look at the role and functions of a County Governor in Kenya.
Role And Functions Of A County Governor In Kenya
What is the work of a governor in Kenya? The County Governments Act contains the role and functions of a county governor in Kenya. Section 30 (2) of the County Governments Act stipulates the functions of the governor.
The county governor should diligently execute the functions and exercise the authority provided for in the Constitution and legislation.
1. The Leadership Of The County Executive
This role of the County Governor in Kenya should be to appoint the county executive committee as stipulated in article 179(2) (b) of the Constitution with the approval of the County Assembly.
He or she should also chair the meetings of the county executive committee. See the article on the county executive committee to find out more about the membership of the county executive committee.
The governor should come up with the portfolio structure for the county executive committee to respond to the functions and competencies that the law assigns and transfers to each county. See the functions of the county governments in Kenya.
By a decision notified in the county gazette, the County Governor should assign to every member of the county executive committee the responsibility to ensure the performance of any function within the county and the provision of related services to the people.
2. Representing The County
The county governor should execute the functions assigned to him or her diligently and exercise the authority that the Constitution and the law provides.
He or she should represent the county in national and international fora and events.
The governor should also represent the county in intergovernmental relations (relations between the national and county governments, and also other counties). The governor is a member of the National and County Government Coordinating Summit and the Council of County Governors.
3. Making, Approving, And Implementing County Policies
The county governor should submit the county plans and policies to the county assembly for approval.
He or she should also consider, approve and assent to bills that the county assembly passes, or refer the same bill back to the assembly.
The county governor also implements these plans and policies together with the county executive committee. Some of these plans and policies include the county budgets, bills, among others. See also the budget process for county governments.
The county governor should submit an annual report to the county assembly on the implementation status of the county policies and plans.
The governor should deliver the annual state of the county address containing such matters county laws may specify.
Lastly, the county governor should sign the notice of all important formal decisions made by the governor or by the county executive committee, and ensure they are published in the county gazette.
4. Perform State Functions
The county governor may perform such State functions within the county as the President may from time to time assign on the basis of mutual consultations.
Responsibilities Of The County Governor In Kenya
In performing the role and functions of a county governor in Kenya, he or she should:
- provide leadership in the county’s governance and development;
- provide leadership to the county executive committee and administration based on the county policies and plans;
- promote democracy, good governance, unity and cohesion within the county;
- promote peace and order within the county;
- advance the competitiveness of the county;
- be accountable for the management and use of the county resources; and
- promote and facilitate citizen participation in the development of policies and plans, and delivery of services in the county.
Powers Of The County Governor In Kenya
The powers enable the role and functions of a county governor in Kenya. The County Governments Act contains the powers of the County Governor. Section 31 of the Act designates the following powers to the governor.
The county governor has the power to dismiss a county executive committee member.
The governor has the power to dismiss a county executive committee member following a resolution passed by the County Assembly (Section 40 of the County Governments Act).
The county governor also has the power to re-assign a county executive committee member.
The governor can appoint an accounting officer for each county department, entity, or decentralised unit of the county government. These accounting officers are the Chief Officers who head the different county departments. A county can have one executive committee member for each department and different chief officers in each department.
Lastly, the governor has the powers necessary to execute the duties of the office of the county governor.
How Many Terms Can A Governor Serve In Kenya?
Article 180 (7) of the Constitution says “a person shall not hold office – (a) as a county governor for more than two terms, or (b) as a deputy county governor for more than two terms.”
What this means is that a governor (or a deputy governor) cannot hold office for more than two consecutive terms (10 years). That is, if a governor (and the deputy governor) is re-elected for a second (five-year) term, he or she cannot vie for the position for the third time.
In the case where the deputy governor assumes office in the absence of the governor (vacancy or impeachment), the deputy governor is deemed to have served a full term as county governor if, at the date on which he or she assumed office, more than two and a half years remain before the date of the next regularly scheduled election. He or she is not deemed to have served a term of office as county governor, in any other case. (Article 182(3) of Kenyan Constitution).