Kibaki appoints first batch of county commissioners

President Kibaki on Friday evening named 47 County Commissioners, ending the debate over the fate of the provincial administration in the new system of devolved government.

And he handed the commissioners a heavy docket, ranging from handling security issues to matters of the national government.
Even though one of their functions would be to play a liaison role between national and county governments, their duties raised questions over the powers of governors who will be elected directly by voters to head the counties.
Transition clause
The President based his decision on Section 17 of the Sixth Schedule of the Transitional Clauses which gave the government five years to restructure the provincial administration to fit in a devolved system of government.
“President Mwai Kibaki has appointed County Commissioners to undertake coordination of national government functions in the 47 counties,” he said in a statement.
Those named as County Commissioners are current Regional Commissioners and District Commissioners.
The decision by the President, however, phased out provincial commissioners who are likely to be absorbed in ministries at the national government.
Debate had intensified in the country over the fate of the provincial administration with some stating that the system should be thrown out.
President Kibaki was categorical that the County Commissioners will take charge of national government duties in the devolved units.
“The fourth schedule of the Constitution clearly outlines the distinct functions of the national government and those of the county governments,” he said.
They will be in charge of security, facilitate conflict management and peace building efforts. Their duties will also include mobilisation of national government agencies for national events in the counties.
They will have control over relations between Kenya citizens and foreigners, champion national unity and togetherness, supervise security on roads and airstrips as they maintain administrative boundaries.
The county commissioner will coordinate disaster management operations and emergencies.

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