NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – Governors could eventually have the authority to handle security in their counties if legislation mandating them to be involved is passed by Parliament.
Speaking during a consultative forum bringing together Governors, the National Intelligence Service, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the office Attorney General, representatives from the Senate among others, Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery said Parliament needed to come up with the proper legislation to effect the functions of the County Security Committees which according to the Constitution, should be chaired by Governors.
“There is no major conflict between the National and County Government with regard to handling of security. It’s only legislation that has not been put in place to cement this relationship,” said Nkaissery.
Nkaissery outlined article 189 (2) of the Constitution which addresses the interaction of the two levels of government that the two will work together in the performance of functions and may set up joint committees and joint authorities, saying Governors should make use of the County Policing Authority as it was already in place to heighten security in their various counties.
He chided Governors over misuse of funds on unnecessary trips urging them to instead use the resources to hold sensitisation forums for the locals.
“Instead of taking the MCAs for trips abroad, let us educate the people,” he added.
Nkaissery added that to boost security, the ministry will from next month on a quarterly basis fund county authorities to enable them traverse the counties and hold barazas.
“The President has directed that from June we will be giving every Chief and Assistant Chief a motorbike and money to be able to hold barazas to sensitize people on security,” said Nkaissery.
Outgoing Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto disputed claims that Governors would misuse power and undermine the National Government saying the final decision on any security issues would be vested on the President.
“We are not proposing that we have 47 different commanders of local security, we just want collaborative methodologies – the President retains that last command,” he said.
He said the country should emulate other jurisdictions that have been successful in deploying security saying many disasters that had rocked the country would be addressed if the chain of command was reduced.
“Counties cannot be alienated from the security functions; we must establish mechanisms to ensure intelligence information within counties is seamlessly transmitted to the National Government,” said Ruto.
Chairman of the Senate’s Security Committee Yusuf Haji who was present said it was time for the National Government to delegate some of the security responsibilities to the Governors as they had more influence on the ground.
“The National Government should agree to accommodate the County Government in matters of security because there are two levels of government – if we are to achieve what we have set out to, we have to work in tandem with each other,” said Haji.
He dismissed the notion that since Governors are politicians they would not effectively handle security issues owing to party ideals saying no party advocated for violence.
“What about the principal? he is also a politician and he is the Commander-in-Chief with whom all the security apparatus are under – being a politician does not change him,” continued Haji amid cheers from the Governors present.
Nkaissery reprimanded Governors whose counties have been affected in Inter-communal and resource based conflict saying they should find means of controlling the vice which has since claimed hundreds of lives of innocent Kenyans.
He said no one should be relocated because of the vice saying governors should work with other local leaders to quell the infighting.
“Counties should also share resources fairly to avoid unnecessary confrontations from disgruntled individuals” he added.
Governors have called for the devolution of security in the wake of the attacks that have rocked the country saying they could easily arbitrate on matters affecting communities while at the same time identify the ‘rotten eggs’ within the community.