County chiefs headed for clash over proposed law

Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto. (File/Standard)

A Bill seeking to establish a body parallel to the Council of Governors to cater for the interests of deputy governors has caused friction among county chiefs and their deputies.

The Intergovernmental Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2014 sponsored by Elgeyo/Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen provides for the creation of the Council of Deputy Governors.

The council, the legal forum to address the welfare of the deputy governors, has elicited strong opposition from governors.

The Council of Governors has warned that the creation of the body would scuttle devolution and has vowed to go to court if the Bill sails through.

But deputy governors, who believe the organ would be a platform for them to channel their issues, share ideas and engage in formal consultations that are anchored in law, argue their push for the establishment of the council is within their constitutional right.

Currently, the CoG speaks on behalf of the deputies; something that the new law seeks abolish and allow deputy governors to form their own mouthpiece.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, who is also the chair of the Council of Governors on Sunday said the council will seek legal redress if the Bill sails through the Senate, saying the CoG was enough to cater for the interests of both governors and their deputies.

Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, who is also the secretary of the deputy governors’ forum, an informal outfit that provides a platform for the deputy county chiefs to address and channel their views, said the push to establish the body was in line with the Constitution as the latter that provides for representation.

He defended the move to establish the council as proposed in the Intergovernmental Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2014 saying there should not be any opposition to the body because what is being done is to legalise the forum as a council and anchor it in the law.

Legal frame

“Our calls for the formation of the Council of Deputy Governors should not be viewed as a new idea. We already have the forum and what we are doing is to provide constitutional anchorage to formalise our platform,” Mr Maangi said.

Narok Deputy Governor Everlyn Aruasa, who is the chairperson of the deputy governors forum, warned that the opposition by their seniors to the Intergovernmental Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2014 may undermine devolution.

She noted the Governors should not panic because the council will not be in direct competition with the CoG.