What you need to know:
- Transitional Authority chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi blames governors-elect for the crisis, saying they had caused the problem by trying to forcefully evict provincial administrators from their offices instead of following the right procedures to secure offices
- Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has already designated 47 High Court judges to swear in the governors- elect and their deputies while the Transitional Authority which is in charge of overseeing the change from national to county government has announced the ceremonies will take place on Wednesday
Most governers-elect will have to seek alternative offices following a major row over office space between the county leaders and the central government.
Several governors who will take oath of office on Wednesday on Sunday complained that had neither offices nor official residences to operate from once they are sworn in.
Many said they would use their private offices and residences to run the affairs of their respective counties for the time being.
But the Transitional Authority chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi blamed the governors-elect for the crisis, saying they had caused the problem by trying to forcefully evict provincial administrators from their offices instead of following the right procedures to secure offices.
“We had negotiated office space for all the 47 governors, but they rejected them and instead tried to forcefully evict the Provincial Commissioners and County Commissioners. As a result, the central government told their officers not to surrender the offices because the Central government must also function. This scuttled all our efforts to secure them offices. There is very little we can do now,” Mr Wamwangi told the Nation.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has already designated 47 High Court judges to swear in the governors- elect and their deputies while the Transitional Authority which is in charge of overseeing the change from national to county government has announced the ceremonies will take place on Wednesday.
Mombasa governor elect Ali Hassan Joho said he would conduct the affairs of the county from his private office as he awaits the completion of an office which has been identified to serve as the Governor’s office.
“As we speak, there is no office or official residence for the governor. We have been told that it will take six months for the Governor’s office to be ready, so I will be forced to use my private office and my private residence in the meantime,” he said.
His Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi also said he would operate from his private office until new offices are established.
“We are yet to get an office and even an official residence for the Governor. We have identified some office but there is a lot of work to be done on it. I’ve been told it will take a month before it is ready so I will be forced to operate from my residence for the time being.”
In Machakos, the Governor-elect Alfred Mutua expressed hope that funds to put up offices and residences for Governors would be released by next week.
“I think the problem of office space and accommodation affects almost everybody. I’m however not worried because we have identified a building which we are renovating to serve as our office in the meantime,” he stated, adding: “We have been promised that money to build offices and official residences will be out before we are sworn, so I’m not worried,” he added.
Faced by the crisis, Siaya County Governor-elect Cornel Rasanga has said he is ready to commute from his home until the offices are set up.
He said that the transition team had suggested that he commutes from Kisumu as they grapple with the idea of obtaining a house for him but he turned down the offer.
“Kisumu is over 80 kilometres away from here and that is too far. I cannot accept to do that if I have to offer effective service to Siaya people who elected me,” he told journalists in Siaya town on Sunday.
He said the land allocated for the governor’s official residence had not been developed and therefore he cannot just sit waiting.
“The most important thing is that I start work immediately. I cannot idle around waiting for a government house. I have my house and there is nothing wrong with operating from there in the meantime,” he added.
In Vihiga, Governor-elect Moses Akaranga also said he was ready to commute from his home after the Transition team admitted it was unable to secure him an official house.
He said his home was close to the proposed governor’s office at Mbale shopping centre and he was also more comfortable in his own house. He lives in Manugi Village, 10 kilometres away from the Vihiga County headquarters.
In Tana River County, renovations are underway in Hola town to set up offices for the Governor, Senator and their staff.
The Ministry of Trade offices are being renovated to serve as the governor’s office while the former County Council offices are being refurbished to accommodate the county assembly.
Sources close to the Governor-elect Mr Hussein Dado said the Sh2 million sent to every county for renovations from the Transitional Authority was too little “because there is nothing on the ground and we are almost exhausting the funds”.
Our source said there were no premises befitting the status of the governor and he will have to operate from a guest house.
At Kwale, Governor-elect Salim Mgalla Mvurya will have to commute from Mombasa 33 kilometers away as Kwale Town does not have suitable accommodation for him.
Also in Kisumu County, Governor-elect Jack Ranguma has no official residence. Currently, he commutes from Kano which is about 22 kilometers from Kisumu.
In Migori County, the Governor-elect Prof Okoth Obado has said he has no problem in residing in his house as the Transition Authority secures his official residence.
“I have no problem operating from my house as they set up the official residence, he said.
In Uasin Gishu, a decision has not been reached on whether the Governor-elect, Jackson Mandago will be allocated the home of former Eldoret mayor or that of the County Commissioner.
“Arrangements have been put in place to allocate the Governor official residence, although the process might take some time,” said Richard Chepkonga, the new County clerk.
The former Eldoret Municipal Council Town Hall will be the office for the governor while Wareng County Council hall be the new County Assembly.
“A committee of experts has been formed to oversee transitions in the county government,” said, Mr Chepkonga adding that that the current local government officials have been renovated to form new offices.
In Baringo County, Governor- elect Benjamin Cheboi recently inspected the offices at the former Baringo county council hall, which will be his office.
In Bungoma County, Governor-elect Kenneth Lusaka said that he will have to operate from his home which is about 35 kilometres away from county headquarters.
Area County commissioner Jamlek Baruga said they have plans to rent a house for the governor as they wait for funds for building his residence.
In Elgeyo-Marakwet, the governor will reside at the county commissioner residence.
However, the office space is still a headache. A building belonging to a local NGO has been proposed for the Governor-elect Alex Tolgos who said that he was comfortable with the arrangement.
In Trans-Nzoia county, Governor-elect Patrick Khaemba has rejected the municipal council offices saying they are below standards. This prompted the authority, to offer the Ministry of Lands offices.
In Nyandarua, governor-elect Daniel Waithaka Mwangi will be forced to serve people from his residential house as he waits for the authority to find an office. His house is in Nyahururu town in Laikipia County whereas the county headquarters are in Ol Kalou.
“I have been informed that the Government is yet to release money for constructing county headquarters in Ol Kalou and since I cannot operate from my private office, I have to serve people from my residential house,” Mr Waithaka said on Sunday.
In Narok the Governor-elect Samuel Kuntai Tunai has no residential house and will have to operate from his Nairobi home to his office. His office is the former Narok County Council offices.
Transitional Authority secretary, Solomon Olooltuua said they are seeking a residence for the governor in one of the estates in Narok town.
However Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua has no problem. His office, which is formerly the mayor’s parlour has already been furnished. He has also secured a Government house at Milimani Estate.
In Nyeri County, Governor-elect Nderitu Gachagua will occupy the PC’s residence following the transfer of former PC Japther Rugut to the National Youth Service as director-general.
In Murang’a, the governor elect Mwangi Wa Iria has to look for alternative accommodation as there are no suitable houses in Murang’a town.
In Kirinyaga County, Governor-elect Joseph Ndathi is yet to be allocated a residential house. The problem is also being experienced in Homa Bay County where the governor-elect Cyprian Awiti has not been allocated an office and residence.
Stories by George Sayagie, Muchemi Wachira, Ouma Wanzala, Barnabas Bii, Tom Matoke, Wycliffe Kipsang, Philomen Suter, Eric Ngobilo, James Ngunjiri, Samuel Karanja, George Munene, Kennedy Kimanthi and Brian Yonga.