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Public interest should guide governors’ actions at CoG forum

By The Standard | Published Sun, November 19th 2017 at 00:00, Updated November 18th 2017 at 23:09 GMT +3

There will be great expectations from the public when the country’s 47 governors troop to Mombasa for the Council of Governors induction forum from tomorrow. But already there is controversy brewing following a new push to have the meeting converted in an Annual General Meeting to elect new leaders.  So while the public will be expecting these leaders to provide a roadmap indicating how best to secure the interest of those in the grassroots, there will be politics at play.

There are already ominous signs that intra-party conflicts will spill over to the meeting with Jubilee-aligned leaders already signalling that they want to remove Turkana’s Josephat Nanok as chairman even though he still has many months to go before his two-year term ends in May 2019.

This push and pull will no doubt cloud the business of governors who have a lot on their plate as they try to strengthen the cascading of functions to the counties as part of the devolution process. The law has elaborately delineated the functions of the national and county governments to ensure that centre does not exert undue influence to ride roughshod over the rights of country residents. 

There is already some unease that the Nairobi County leadership, for instance, is too closely embedded with the national government to the extent that it is surrendering some of its responsibilities to the centre. 

Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko should be wary of a directive requiring relevant State departments and city county departments to realign their procurement plans. As Nairobi Governor, he must be guided by what the people he got his mandate from, think should be prioritised. 

Ceding ground to the central government would not just be immoral, it would make a mockery of devolution, one of the main anchors of the 2010 Constitution, by clawing back the gains that took some authority of self-determination from the central government. These are the issues that should occupy the governors as they deliberate on how best to discharge their constitutional mandate.

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