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Protracted county power fights point to huge leadership deficit

By The Standard | June 25th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Across the country, MCAs are threatening to impeach governors, accusing them of engaging in all manner of impropriety.

While it is within their mandate to ensure that governors who abuse office are shown the door, there is a feeling that some impeachment bids are motivated more by the vested interests of ward representatives than the public good.

We are not talking about the Kirinyaga County case here, which is currently before the Senate. That should be allowed to run its full course.

There is no denying that there are governors who have done this country a great disservice. Most have little to show for the billions of shillings that they receive annually from the Exchequer. Many others have lined their pockets with taxpayers’ money, while pharmacies in county hospitals are without medicines.

Such governors do not deserve the positions they hold and should be shown the door and prosecuted for plunder.

This was the primary oversight role of MCAs. Unfortunately, instead of holding governors to account for betraying the public good, many MCAs are going for their neck for such frivolous reasons as being denied allowances.

Such gross dereliction of duty suggests that they privilege personal gain over the public interest. Worse, it undermines any legitimate claims of impartiality when confronting the failings of the county bosses, thus laying the ground for the cyclic supremacy battles in devolved units.

To a large extent, this accounts for the economic and social mess in many counties because the men and women appointed to stir development spend most of their time conspiring how to protect their jobs or eat from their positions.

This raises a troubling question of accountability. There are no quick answers on how to make elected leaders productive and to uphold the public good. The Constitution vests in them lots of oversight powers, but eight years into devolution suggests the law cannot confer aptitude and integrity on a people.

There is decidedly no will and very little effort among governors and MCAs to walk the spirit of devolution. The operating logic at many a county is ‘it’s our turn to eat’.

With very few exceptions, the governors have been a disappointment. Yet, this should not surprise us; ability and integrity counted for very little at the ballot. The story is the same across all levels of governance.

Ours is a structural, ethical and moral crisis. The noise about impeachments and allied self-preservation tactics are only but symptoms of a failed system. Legal remedies cannot fix this mess. We have a severe leadership deficit.

MCAs Leadership deficit
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