Do we need to devolve security functions?

August 11, 2014 1:52 pm
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The Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto gave the example of Lamu Governor Issa Timamy who was arrested over killings in his area as proof why Governors need to play a role in security/FILE
The Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto gave the example of Lamu Governor Issa Timamy who was arrested over killings in his area as proof why Governors need to play a role in security/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11- One of the referendum issues raised by the Council of Governors is the need to chair county security committees, a role currently under 47 County Commissioners in the country.

While some people feel that Governors out to consolidate more power, others argue that this will boost the country efforts to maintain peace.

Just how will the security situation change in the country if Governors become in-charge of security committees?

Under the new Constitution, security is the sole mandate of the National Government placed under the Inspector General of Police.

At the county level, County Commissioners are responsible of coordinating security management, national Government functions and delivery of services, facilitate conflict management and peace-building, mobilise national government agencies for national events and programmes.

They also collaborate with the citizens and foreign nationals’ management service in the identification of persons for registration and also manage and maintain administrative boundaries, security roads and airstrips.

The Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto gave the example of Lamu Governor Issa Timamy who was arrested over killings in his area as proof why Governors need to play a role in security.

“It’s not possible for a Governor to respond to a question of security in his area when he has no role to play.”

“What we want is while maintaining the National Command structure, the National Government to create a role for counties in security matters at the county level.”

Embu Governor Martin Wambora argues that even in other democracies where there are County Governments, Governors are in charge in security.

“Governors play a role too… we want to chair the county security committees,” he says. “Let’s look at Nigeria, South Sudan, Canada, Australia; devolution incorporates security also. I don’t know why Kenya is exceptional.”

He says the issue will not politicise the sensitive area of security noting that, “Governors do not work as politicians and that’s why our threshold was very high.”

His sentiments are supported by Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua who says, “We understand our areas better… we will easily detect where a security problem is emanating from.”

“Security of this country is something that belongs to all of us…we are elected Governors and it will be very irresponsible of any Governor not to take interest in the security situation of his County,” he argues.

“Security does not only belong to elected leaders but all of us as Kenyans.”

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