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County Governors vs. County Commissioners

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Chief Positions were established during Colonial Times. What will their job description in County be?   - Pic/Files Chief Positions were established during Colonial Times. What will their job description in County be? - Pic/Files

On August 2010 Kenyans decided to create a two parallel Government System. They created the National Government Executive, National Legislative (National Assembly & Senate) to represent the total Kenya area and total Kenya population. The second system was the 47 County Governments and 47 County Legislatives System that created 47 land areas and Kenyans residing in areas rights to shape their destiny. Through this new system Kenyans decided to end the provisional system that originally had Province Commissioners (PC), District Commissioners (DC), District Officers (DO), Chiefs, Headmen and Administrative Police. Rather than let this system phase out, “The National Government Co-ordination Bill 2012,” would be passed. This unpopular bill would create another parallel system that is now causing friction between elected County Governors and appointed County Commissioners as they fight for Supremacy.

Provisional Administrative System

When Kenya land area was created as a British Colony, a provisional system would also be created. Like the meaning of the word, provisional, “arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed later,” this system was never meant to be permanent. Kenya would end up with 8 Provinces, Districts/County, Divisions, Sub-Divisions, Locations and Sub-locations. The System functioned as a development, administration, justice, security, organization, and deliver of labor & services to settlements. However, the set-up was mainly based on the having the few minority (Whites) be able to Govern the majority (Kenyans) through a hierarchy supervision system. When Kenya attained independence this system continued and it became more or less an oppressive system used to suppress descent. Kenya would change the constitution August 2010 to create the Independent structured systems that gave Kenyans independence  and made sure power comes from the Kenya people as they created a National Executive, National Parliament, Kenya Judiciary, 47 Counties Executives, 47 Counties Assemblies and further Towns and Cities administration systems.  

Transitioning from Provisional Administrative Systems 

  1. The foundation of transition from the Provisional System started when a new National Government Systems and 47 County Governments were created by 6 million Kenyans August 2010.
  2. The second foundation was the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 passage that will enable settlements to be transformed to Towns and Cities system managed by residents.  
  3. The first challenge to the transition came when 47 County Commissioners were appointed by President Kibaki. Justice Ngugi of the high court declared this unconstitutional. Not to be defeated, “The National Government Co-ordination Bill 2012” would be passed November 2012. Whereas it was evident that there needed to be a transition system until citizens were able to form stable unit of governance as town or city governments envisioned by the Urban Areas and Cities Act, the most logical thing would have been to move the structure to County Executive and the County Assembly provide oversight. This system if not corrected could further divide the country. 
  4. The first transition occurred on 4th March when Governors were elected and County Legislative system. 
  5. The last stage in transition will be when the County system shapes to independent cities and towns managed and administered by residents of each town and city. Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 achieves the creation of this but in future may need to be adjusted to achieve sustenance. 

The National Government Co-ordination Bill 2012 (Retaining the Colonial Provisional Administration System)

Article 15 (1) In accordance with the national government functions under the Constitution, this Act or any other written law, the Public Service Commission shall, in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary, recruit and appoint national government administrative officers to coordinate national government functions and to perform such other functions as may be assigned to them under this Act or any other law. (2) Pursuant to subsection (1), the Public Service Commission shall appoint— (a) a county commissioner in respect of every county; (b) a sub-county commissioner in respect of every sub-county; (c) a ward coordinator in respect of every ward; (d) a chief in respect of every location; and (e) an assistant chief in respect of every sub-location. 

Transition to County Governments, Cities & Town Administration Systems through Kenya Constitution and  Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 

Kenya Constitution 

Article 184. (1) National legislation shall provide for the governance and management of urban areas and cities and shall, in particular— (a) establish criteria for classifying areas as urban areas and cities, (b) establish the principles of governance and management of urban areas and cities; and (c) provide for participation by residents in the governance of urban areas and cities. (2) National legislation contemplated in clause (1) may include mechanisms for identifying different categories of urban areas and cities, and for their governance.

Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 

Article 10 (1) The county governor may, in consultation with the committee constituted under section 8(2), confer the status of a town on an area that meets the criteria set out in subsection (2). (2) An area shall be eligible for the grant of the status of a town under this Act if it has― (a) a population of at least ten thousand residents according to the final gazetted results of the latest population census carried out by an institution authorized under any written law, preceding the grant; (b) demonstrable economic, functional and financial viability; (c) the existence of an integrated development plan in accordance with this Act; (d) the capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver essential services to its residents as provided in the First Schedule. 

Article 10 (2) There shall be an administrator for every town established under this Act. (3) The administrator of a town shall perform such functions as the committee appointed under section 20 (2) may determine. 

Article 20 (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act a board of a city or municipality shall— (a) oversee the affairs of the city or municipality; (b) develop and adopt policies, plans, strategies and programmes, and may set targets for delivery of services; (c) formulate and implement an integrated development plan; (d) control land use, land sub-division, land development and zoning by public and private sectors for any purpose, including industry, commerce, markets, shopping and other employment centres, residential areas, recreational areas, parks, entertainment, passenger transport, agriculture, and freight and transit stations within the framework of the spatial and master plans for the city or municipality as may be delegated by the county government; (e) as may be delegated by the county government, promote and undertake infrastructural development and services within the city or municipality; (f) develop and manage schemes, including site development in collaboration with the relevant national and county agencies; (g) maintain a comprehensive database and information system of the administration and provide public access thereto upon payment of a nominal fee to be determined by the board; (h) administer and regulate its internal affairs; (i) implement applicable national and county legislation; (j) enter into such contracts, partnerships or joint ventures as it may consider necessary for the discharge of its functions under this Act or other written law; (k) monitor and, where appropriate, regulate city and municipal services where those services are provided by service providers other than the board of the city or municipality; (l) prepare its budget for approval by the county executive committee and administer the budget as approved; (m) as may be delegated by the county government, collect rates, taxes levies, duties, fees and surcharges on fees; (n) settle and implement tariff, rates and tax and debt collection policies as delegated by the county government; (o) monitor the impact and effectiveness of any services, policies, programmes or plans; (p) establish, implement and monitor performance management systems; (q) promote a safe and healthy environment; (r) facilitate and regulate public transport; and (s) perform such other functions as may be delegated to it by the county government or as may be provided for by any written law. 

Article 20 (2) The functions performed by the board of a city or municipality under this Act shall, in the case of a town, be performed by a committee appointed by the county governor and approved by the county assembly. 

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