After hours in a closed-door meeting held in Mombasa County, governors yesterday resolved to elect the leadership of the powerful Council of Governors through a secret ballot.
The governors who are in the coastal town for a three-day induction rejected the proposal to elect the CoG chair and other officials through consensus or acclamation, fearing hostility in their political formations. On Thursday night, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate in the August 9 election, Raila Odinga met governors allied to him and asked them to vote for one of their own.
Yesterday we established that Azimio was backing Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku for the CoG chair while Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguri has been fronted by Kenya Kwanza Alliance. Ms Waiguru openly lobbied for the seat during tea and lunch but Lenku kept his cards close to his chest.
“I do not want to be the proverbial man who walks around with a beautiful lady but never proposes to her and becomes mad when she is taken by another man he starts to feel bad. I declare my interest in the CoG chair,” said Waiguru.
During the tea break and lunchtime, Waiguru was seen openly lobbying governors allied to Azimio to back her bid. On Thursday, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said he had no preference in the election saying he was ready to work with whoever is elected.
“You can elect your chairman through consensus or any other form you want. I expect us to put our political differences aside and work together. I will work with whoever is elected,” said Mr Gachagua during the official opening of the three-day induction workshop.
Waiguru, who has served as CoG vice chair, is banking on her experience as second-term governor and Devolution Cabinet secretary to win the seat. But Lenku, other than the Azimio backing, was also banking on governors from pastoralist regions. The Kajiado governor said that the candidate who will win the seat will have to get support from his peers across the political divide. He said political loyalty will be a small factor in the race.
“This is not about a political coalition. We have been rotating the seat but we want a chair who will take us to the next level,” said Lenku during the lunch break.
Meanwhile, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu yesterday advised the governors to ensure they were fully in control of how the funds allocated to the counties were being spent. Gathungu said governors being the accounting officers in counties had to ensure there was transparency and accountability on how the funds were being used for various activities in respect of the services being rendered to Kenyans.
“You must act in the interest of the citizens by ensuring your staff is accountable for the expenses the county was spending,” said Gathungu.
She told the governors to be directly involved in the audit reporting insisting this was where the problems of financial statements of the counties start. Attend crucial financial meetings and get involved in the audit report preparation instead of leaving it to your officers,” said Gathinga.