The Devolution ministry has no business managing the transition in counties, the Council of Governors has said.
The council has also questioned the assertion that governors leaving office should meet parliamentary committees over issues during their reign.
Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok said Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri was wrong when he issued statements on Tuesday over the process through which governors will be sworn into office.
“County governments, as envisaged in the Constitution, are fully fledged governments. They are not local authorities to be supervised by a national government ministry,” said Mr Nanok.
“It is, therefore, erroneous for the Cabinet secretary to project to the public that it is necessary for the ministry to guide counties on the assumption of office.”
He also pointed out that county governments have been operational for the last four years and are not subservient to the national government.
“The ministry must recognise that county governments are independent and have full capacity to run their own affairs said Mr Nanok in a statement.
“The Constitution, in Article 6(2), is unequivocal on the distinctness of the County Governments.”
New and re-elected governors will be sworn in starting today up to Monday next week.
Citing the Kenya Gazette notice issued by Mr Kiunjuri on July 3, Mr Nanok said the committees set up in each county for the assumption of office by the new and re-elected governors are the right institutions to handle the hand-over.
The committees are supposed to coordinate the briefings of the governors-elect by the public officers, communication between the old and the new governors and prepare the programme and organise for the swearing-in ceremonies.
“The assumption of office of the governor is the responsibility of the mentioned committee. The ministry is only a member of the committee and therefore has no place in supervising county governments or dictating the programme of the swearing-in of the governor,” said Mr Nanok.
He described Mr Kiunjuri’s actions and statements as constituting a blatant encroachment to the sovereign power of the people.
Mr Nanok, who has secured re-election as the Turkana governor, said Mr Kiunjuri was also wrong in stating that the governors should meet parliamentary committees when invited.
He cited the ruling in the case filed by Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya in his fight against the Senate’s Public Accounts and Investments Committee, where the High Court ruled that accounting officers at the county should be the first to be questioned on matters to do with finances at that level.
“The ministry has no role in accountability matters of the counties. The oversight bodies designated for this are: the Senate (with limited powers); the County Assemblies; the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission; and the Director of Public Prosecutions,” said Mr Nanok.