Know your Government

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A government is the system by which a state or community is controlled. Normally, a government consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators.

In Kenya we have two levels of Government (The National Government and The County Government).

The National Government: The national government of Kenya has three arms: The Executive, The Legislature, and The Judiciary

These arms are independent but complement each other in the functions of state.

The Executive: Being by far one of the most crucial arms, the executive consists of the following primary members: President, Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney General, and Director of public prosecutions

Headed by the president of the republic, the executive is guided by an underlying framework of laws. The laws require the president to appoint between 14 and 22 cabinet secretaries reflecting ethnic and regional diversity.

The Legislature:  The Legislature is held responsible for advocating for the people’s interest in law making. Currently the arm consists of two houses – the national assembly and the senate. Each of the two houses is headed by the respective speaker.

The specific roles of the national assembly are:

  • Members of the national assembly are obligated to represent their constituents and all the special interests within their respective constituencies
  • Enactment of legislation for both county and national government
  • Approval or disapproval of revenue allocation presented by the senate, determining the national distribution across the counties.
  • Check the conduct of the executive and other state officers and if necessary initiate the process of removal of president, deputy president and other state officers.
  • Exercise oversight over state organs and approve the state of emergency and declaration of war.

The roles of the Kenya Senate are:

  • Determine the allocation of national revenue to be distributed according to the counties
  • Represent the interests of the counties at the national level
  • Consider and determine the resolution of impeachment of the president or his/her deputy

The Judiciary: As the name Suggests, this arm of government mainly centers on the Kenyan Judicial system. The Kenyan Judicial system adheres to a hierarchical system, with The Supreme Court being the highest organ, followed by the Court of Appeal, High Court, Magistrate’s Courts and other Subordinate Courts.

 

The County Government, is the devolved government, which is primarily geared towards achieving two main objectives which are to involve the people in governance and allow better supervision and implementation of policies at the grass root level

The county Government constitutes of a county assembly and county executive. 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

Even at county level, democratic principles are observed. 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 by gender, marginalized groups and persons with disability.

The county assembly is headed by a county Speaker who by law is not supposed to be a member 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 appointment of the county executive members is placed under the mandate of the governor, and approval is subject to the county assembly.

 

By: FREDRICK KARIITHI GITHUI

Corporate Marketer – IRES Kenya

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