Counties of Kenya are devolved units of the Government, formed by the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The objectives of devolution include facilitating the decentralisation of State organs, their functions and services, from the capital of Kenya by giving powers of self-governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them. This is from the recognition of the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development, and to ensure equitable sharing of national and local resources throughout Kenya.
There are 47 counties in Kenya. They are single member constituencies politically y represented by members of parliament to the Senate of Kenya and special women members of parliament to the National Assembly of Kenya. They are also administratively governed by County Commissioners.
The responsibilities of the county assembly include:
- Exercising the powers of enacting laws at the county level
- Acting as an oversight instrument on the county executive
- Approval of plans and policies for smooth operation and management of resources and county institutions
Just as in the governance of the Central Government, democratic principles are also observed in the counties. The people elect the members of the county assembly at Ward level. Additional slots are reserved for nominations. This ensures that membership is well distributed satisfying the constitutional threshold of gender, marginalized groups and persons with disability.
County Assemblies are headed by County Speakers who not members of the assembly.
The county executive on the other hand is charged with the responsibility of exercising executive power at the county level, implementing laws for administration of the county as well as carrying out other executive functions of the county. The county executive gives the people an opportunity to be more actively involved in law making. The county executive is led by a governor who is directly elected by the people at the county level.
The Governor is mandated to appoint county executive members subject to approval by county assembly.