In the two elections that I have participated in, I paid little attention to who I voted for in my ward. In this election, things are different because I see this as the most important vote that I will have to cast on March 4, if devolution is to work in helping my County and Kenya move forward.
While we spend time engaging in political debates about who between Kidero and Waititu is better for Nairobi as Governor, we seem to forget that the city will have a County Assembly made of 86 men and women who will have immense power on how this county is run
In my understanding of the Constitution and the County Government Act, the County Assembly will be one of the most important institutions in my county – Nairobi. If it were in my power, I would have recommended that those seeking the County Rep seats have higher qualifications than whoever is seeking to be Governor.
To me, a Governor is a political figure-head who will have to seek advice from the County Executive Committee and seek approval of the County Assembly in whatever he does. In other words, just like the next President, Governors will not be imperial which is a good thing given how some mayors have run things in the past.
To understand the County Government operations and who does what, Articles 176 to 186 of the Constitution are a good read as well as the County Government Act. Let me demonstrate the importance of who we elect into the County Assembly.
Every Governor will have an Executive Committee (read Cabinet) of not more than 10 members and which holds the executive authority in the County. This ‘Cabinet’ will be proposed by the Governor and approved by the County Assembly. The County Reps must therefore be people who understand the roles of the Executive Committee and persons who cannot be easily influenced to put certain people in the County ‘Cabinet’.
The County ‘Cabinet’ will be responsible for formulating county laws, policies and plans as well as supervise the administration and delivery of services and all decentralized units and agencies in the county. After formulation of the plans, policies and laws, the County Executive will have to seek the approval of the County Assembly, underlining another important role of those we elect from our wards.
I have started this commentary on a Nairobi note but this I guess applies to all other Counties across the country.