Governor Waiguru should strive to make CoG more vibrant

Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru. [Andrew Simon, Standard]

Congratulations to Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru for being elected the chairperson of the Council of Governors (CoG). There is, however, no much time for the governor to celebrate this big win. She needs to settle down and start working immediately.

Waiguru must start by bringing the CoG house to order and set out a clear roadmap on how to work with the national government to develop the counties.

The past regimes of the council have largely thrived on confrontation with the national government rather than cooperation and service to mwananchi. Article 189 of the Constitution says, "Government at either level shall perform its functions, and exercise its powers, in a manner that respects the functional and institutional integrity of government at the other level, and respects the constitutional status and institutions of government at the other level."

Kenyans are hurting from the economic crisis the country is in now. Many people are not able to put food on the table because of the soaring prices of basic commodities. There also has been enough politics for the past four or so years.

Therefore, the politics of who should do what between the devolved and national governments is the least of concern for the ordinary Kenyan. If there are issues that need to be ironed out between the two levels of government, do it amicably without publicly shouting at each other through the media as has been the case before.

In that spirit of cooperation and consultation, the national government must also not act as a bully in enforcing policies touching on counties that the governors could be opposed to.

Secondly, the CoG committees have been so dormant and colourless that most Kenyans don't even understand what they do or their composition.

The new council chairperson must therefore rally her troops and perform the council's functions as stipulated in the Intergovernmental Relations Act. Every committee needs to come up with policies whose aim is to make life better for Kenyans.

And as they cooperate with the national government, the counties also need to work together among themselves and learn from each other for the sake of economic and social development. It should not be that the governors only come together during events and summits that only benefit them and not their constituents.

It is encouraging that senior governors serving their second terms rallied their colleagues to embrace consensus during the election of the council's leadership instead of sticking to their political formations that would have easily split the county leaders.

This should be the spirit, going forward. The governors must learn to build consensus in matters that may threaten to rip apart the council, and always seek the advice of the seniors among them.

All in all, Waiguru and her team have their work cut out for them and Kenyans expect nothing but a vibrant, functional Council of Governors.

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