The governor is the chief executive of the county. All members of the County Executive committee are answerable to the Governor.
The Governor is directly elected by voters in the county during the general elections.
Kenya has 47 County Governments, which translates to 47 Governors. The county governor is the chief executive of the county and the head of the county executive committee. The members of the county executive committee answer to the Governor while performing their functions (Article 179 (6) of the Constitution).
The functions of a County Governor
1. To preside over the official opening of county government.
2. To oversee the implementation of county legislation.
3. To supervise the management of county departments.
4. To appoint members of the County Executive Committees with approval from the County Assembly.
5. To chair country executive committee meetings.
Responsibilities Of The County Governor
In performing the role and functions of a county governor in Kenya, he or she should:
- provide leadership in the county’s governance and development;
- provide leadership to the county executive committee and administration based on the county policies and plans;
- promote democracy, good governance, unity and cohesion within the county;
- promote peace and order within the county;
- advance the competitiveness of the county;
- be accountable for the management and use of the county resources; and
- promote and facilitate citizen participation in the development of policies and plans, and delivery of services in the county.
Powers Of The County Governor
- The powers enable the role and functions of a county governor in Kenya. The County Governments Act contains the powers of the County Governor. Section 31 of the Act designates the following powers to the governor.
- The county governor has the power to dismiss a county executive committee member.
- The governor has the power to dismiss a county executive committee member following a resolution passed by the County Assembly (Section 40 of the County Governments Act).
- The county governor also has the power to re-assign a county executive committee member.
- The governor can appoint an accounting officer for each county department, entity, or decentralised unit of the county government. These accounting officers are the Chief Officers who head the different county departments. A county can have one executive committee member for each department and different chief officers in each department.
- Lastly, the governor has the powers necessary to execute the duties of the office of the county governor.
Functions of County Government
County governments have the responsibility to provide services to the people who live within their jurisdiction. This is because the central government cannot reach each and every small corner or individual in the country.
It is the county governments that supplement government effort in providing services to the people. Since they operate at the community level, county governments are able to attend to problems affecting a community or an individual.
Responsibilities depend on the status of the county government.
Their functions include:
1. Collecting revenue:
To be able to provide services, county governments must collect levies from those living in their areas of jurisdiction.
Levies charged include the following:
- For traders to be allowed to operate businesses, they are expected to pay for trade licences.
- Owners of property such as plots of land and houses are charged an annual fee for the property.
- Residents within an area are charged fines when they break the by-laws set by the county government.
- Residents are charged for services like supply of water and collection of garbage.
- In addition, county governments raise money through loans and grants from the central government and from other donor organizations.
2. Providing health services:
County governments set up dispensaries and clinics for use by the residents of the area. The authorities also employ health workers to operate in those centres.
3. Building and maintaining road:
County governments have the duty to ensure that they build and maintain roads in the areas under their jurisdiction.
4. Providing nursery and primary schools:
County governments also operate nursery and primary schools within the areas of their jurisdiction. They also ensure that the schools have qualified teachers.
5. Collecting garbage:
It is the duty of the county government in charge of a town to ensure that the town is clean by employing cleaners and collecting waste and ensuring it is appropriately disposed of.
6. Providing sewerage and drainage services:
County governments in charge of urban areas also ensure that a town has proper drainage and sewerage systems.
7. Providing water:
County governments are expected to ensure that residents are supplied with clean water for domestic and other uses.
8. Allocating land for special uses:
County governments that are in charge of urban areas provide cemeteries.
They also provide sites for traders to set up markets.
9. Protecting public land:
County governments have the responsibility to ensure that land set aside for public use like recreational areas, schools, health centres, and forest land is not grabbed by individuals for personal use.
10. Passing by-laws:
County governments are empowered by the central government to pass by-laws and to regulate the operations in the areas under their jurisdiction.