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What is the Role of the County Assembly Clerk in Kenya? 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.
Assembly Clerks lead the delivery of Assembly business, providing clear, accurate and concise written and oral parliamentary advice; often working in real time in a politicised and pressurised environment; and in the public eye.
The duties of the County Assembly Clerk in Kenya are important in the County Assembly itself. The Clerk of the County Assembly is appointed by the County Assembly Service Board with the approval of the County Assembly.
The Office of the Clerk of the County Assembly in Kenya and the offices of members of the staff of the Clerk of the County Assembly are offices in the County Assembly Service Board.
Most of the legal provisions on the Office of the County Assembly Clerk are under the County Governments Act and the County Assembly Services Act. An Act of Parliament is a form of legislation passed by both houses of Parliament (Senate and National Assembly) to create a new law or to change existing law.
Functions Of The County Assembly Clerk In Kenya
The County Assembly Services Act stipulates the responsibilities of the County Assembly Clerk in Kenya. The clerk should be—
- the chief administrative officer of the county assembly; and
- responsible for the day-to-day management and functioning of the county assembly.
The procedural functions of the County Assembly Clerk in Kenya include—
- providing expert, non-partisan and impartial advice to the members of the county assembly on the legislative process, and parliamentary procedure and practice; and
- carrying out such other duties and exercising powers as the law may confer on him or her or by the Standing Orders and practices of the County Assembly.
The County Assembly Clerk is also the Secretary to the County Assembly Service Board in accordance with the conduct and business affairs of the Board. “Secretary” means the Clerk of the county assembly or, in the absence of the Clerk, the person exercising the functions of the Clerk;
As the Secretary to the County Assembly Service Board, the responsibilities of the County Assembly Clerk should be—
- the chief executive officer of the Board;
- the accounting officer of the Board;
- the administrative head of the County Assembly Service;
- the custodian of the Board’s records;
- responsible for—
- the execution of the decisions of the Board; and
- assignment of duties and supervision of the staff of the Board;
- responsible for the preparation and submission of the programmes necessary for the achievement of the Board’s mandate for approval by the Board;
- responsible for causing to be kept records of the proceedings and minutes of the meetings of the Board and such other records as the Board may direct;
- ensuring staff compliance with public service values, principles and ethics; and
- ensuring the performance of such other duties as may be assigned by the Board or any other written law.
The Secretary (County Assembly Clerk) is responsible to the chairperson of the Board and the Board for the general working and efficient conduct of the business of the County Assembly Service. The Board may delegate to the Secretary such of its functions as are necessary to carry out the day to day management of the Service, and subject to such directions as may be given by the Board.
The Secretary may, in consultation with the Board, assign or delegate any of the functions under this section to an employee of the Service.
The Clerk is also a member of The Management Committee alongside the deputy clerk, heads of departments and such other officers as the Board may determine. The Board should establish a committee to be known as the Management Committee which advises the Board on matters relating to the functions and powers of the Board.
The clerk should, in carrying out and exercising the power conferred on him or her by the Standing Orders and practices of the County Assembly, be under the direction of the Speaker of the County Assembly. In the absence of the Speaker, the Clerk should be answerable to the Deputy Speaker.
If the Clerk is unable to perform their functions, the Deputy Clerk should take over the role of the County Assembly Clerk.
Appointment Of County Assembly Clerk In Kenya
To qualify for appointment as a Clerk of the County Assembly in Kenya, a person should—
- be a citizen of Kenya;
- hold a degree from a university recognised in Kenya or its equivalent;
- have at least five years of relevant professional experience;
- meet the requirements of leadership and integrity set out in Chapter Six of the Constitution.
The nomination of a person for appointment as a Clerk of the County Assembly should be done through an open, transparent and competitive recruitment process. The County Assembly Service Board is in charge of the nomination for the county clerk.
The name of a person nominated by the Board for appointment as the Clerk of the County Assembly should be submitted to the County Assembly for approval in accordance with the Standing Orders of the County Assembly.
The Board should, within seven days of receipt of the resolution of the County Assembly approving a person for appointment as Clerk of the County Assembly, appoint that person as Clerk of the County Assembly.
The remuneration of the clerk and staff of the County Assembly should be determined by the County Assembly Service Board upon the advice of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
Suspension Or Removal Of The County Assembly Clerk
The Board may suspend or remove from office, the Clerk for—
- inability to perform the functions of the office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind;
- gross misconduct or misbehaviour;
- violation of the provisions of the Constitution, including Chapter Six of the Constitution; or
- violation of the provisions of the County Assembly Services Act.
Procedure For Removal Of The County Assembly Clerk
Where the County Assembly Service Board considers it necessary to remove the Clerk, the Board should—
- frame a charge or charges against the Clerk;
- forward the statement of the said charge or charges to the Clerk together with a brief statement of the allegations in support of the charges;
- invite the Clerk to respond to the allegations in writing setting out the grounds on which the Clerk relies to absolve himself or herself; and
- invite the Clerk to appear before the Board, either personally or with an advocate as he or she may opt, on a day to be specified, to absolve himself or herself.
If the Clerk does not furnish a reply to the charge or charges within the period specified, or if in the opinion of the Board the Clerk fails to absolve himself or herself, the Board should submit a notice of a motion to the Speaker of the County Assembly seeking that the County Assembly revokes the appointment of the Clerk.
The motion should specify—
- the grounds stated above in which the Clerk is in breach, and
- the facts constituting that ground.
Upon notice of the motion, the Speaker should refer the matter to a select committee of the assembly consisting of eleven members and established in accordance with the Standing Orders of the assembly to investigate the matter within ten days of receipt of the motion.
The select committee should, within ten days, report to the assembly whether it finds the allegations against the Clerk to be substantiated. The Clerk should have the right to appear and be represented before the select committee during its investigations.
The assembly should consider the report of the select committee and resolve whether to approve the motion. If the assembly approves the motion, the Clerk against whom the motion was filed should be deemed to have been removed from the office from the date the motion was approved.
For more about the duties of County Assembly Clerk in Kenya, see the County Assembly Services Act.