, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3 – Just a day after governors accused the central government of frustrating county governments, they have now opposed the retention of county commissioners across the country.
Led by Kwale governor Salim Mvurya, the governors on Wednesday said their roles and those of county commissioners would bring conflict in the county governments.
The rejection of the county governors came even after President Mwai Kibaki asked them to dedicate their efforts in serving Kenyans and stop wrangling over what he termed as ‘needless power.’
Since governors were elected, there have been struggles between them and county commissioners arising from their roles.
“In the recent past we have seen a number of actions contrary to the Constitution. There is the renaming of provincial commissioners to county commissioners; where does this action draw legitimacy?” Mvurya queried.
However, Local Government Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi differed with the governors saying that the county commissioners are legally in office.
Mutahi said the governors should cooperate with the county commissioners whom he said represent the central government at the county level.
“There is clear division of duties and none will interfere with the other’s work. County commissioners solely work for the central government and cannot be directed by governors and neither can they give orders to governors. Whoever is not clear on that should read the Constitution,” explained the PS.
On Tuesday, the governors stormed out of an induction workshop in Naivasha accusing the central government of frustrating their operations by delaying funds.
On Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Raila Odinga alleged a plot to frustrate the devolved structures of government by undermining the governors.
In his first public appearance since the Supreme Court rejected his petition challenging the election of President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, Odinga said the controversy surrounding the role of county commissioners and governors is the work of a section of old order forces keen on killing devolution.
Speaking in Nairobi, the PM claimed the individuals who are unhappy over devolution are out to undermine the new Constitution.
Odinga said President Kibaki was wrong on the roles of the county commissioners and governors.
“The remarks by the Head of State are a testament of people who want to take the country to the ways of the yester years. People who want to pull all the resources to the centre so that they can control them for their own benefits,” said Odinga.
“I am challenging all the county bosses (Governors) to reject such moves aimed at taking the country back.”
The Prime Minister maintained his opposition to the county commissioners who were appointed by outgoing President Kibaki.
Odinga called on the governors to ‘take charge of the counties immediately by occupying the offices that currently house the Provincial Commissioners and the District Commissioners and execute their duties.’
“The governor as an elected leader is the link between the central government and the people.”
Odinga made the remarks at a consultative meeting with Nairobi County Assembly CORD representatives.