By Andy Munyoki
The County Governments Act of 2012 that gives effect to Chapter Eleven of the Constitution provides for county governments’ powers, functions and responsibilities for the delivery of services [to county residents] as well as other connected purposes.
These services are captured in the FOURTH SCHEDULE which in part 2 enumerates the functions and powers of county governments.
These functions and powers are of course shared (Not divided) amongst the executive and legislative arms of the devolved governments.
The 14 items iclude both hardware (agriculture, health,cultural activities, public works, e.t.c) and their enabler software programmes that range from county planning, trade regulations, implementation of national government policies to the coordination of citizen participation in governance.
Article 176 (1) of the constitution states clearly that the establishment of a County government consists of a County Assembly and a county executive.
These are the two siblings mandated by articles 174 and 175 to uphold and respect the objects of the devolution of government and the principles of devolved government to deliver services to citizens.
None comes out as superior and whereas the constitution has bestowed the humongous responsibility of oversight of county executives and allied organs to the assembly, County legislators are equally reminded to respect the principle of separation of powers while at it.
The principle of separation of powers is key to the operationalization of County governments.
It clearly balances the scales weighing the powers and functions of both arms in clearly stating their independence while at the same time reiterating their interdependence.
Thus each ought to perform its functions and exercise its powers, in a manner that respects the functional and institutional integrity of the other.
These two siblings should as a requisite for their success, assist, support and consult appropriately ( that should however happen with respect to the constitutional status and mandate of each) and in the event of any dispute, the two MUST make every reasonable effort to settle the dispute swiftly and move ahead to realize their development agenda for the sake of their publics.
A success of the County Executive is a success of the County Assembly and vice versa.
That’s what Article 185 (2) clarifies with ” A county assembly may make ANY LAWS that are necessary for, or incidental to, the effective performance of the functions and exercise of powers of the County government under the Fourth Schedule.
( Note: the drafters of the constitution didn’t bestow the responsibility of implementation of The Fourth Schedule to one arm of the County government)
The commitment of the county executive in the implementation of the Fourth Schedule is also reiterated in Article 133 (3) which calls upon the executive to provide the County Assembly with FULL and REGULAR reports on matters relating to the County.
Thus, the executive and Assembly are like siblings crossing a road together holding hands.
They can only cross safely to the other side together, or perish on the road together.
Therefore, none can attempt bullying, threatening, intimidating or sabotaging the other In the middle of the road!
Like Siamese twins, they are joined at the hip and have no option but to (only) walk together!