Waiguru, Ole Lenku lead race to become next CoG chair

Governors Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Abdullahi Ahmed (Wajir), Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado).

Governors (form left) Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado), Abdullahi Ahmed (Wajir) and Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga). The three are angling to become the next Council of Governors (CoG) chairperson.

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja have equal numerical strength in CoG with 23 governors each. 
  • The race has narrowed down to Ms Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Mr Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado) and Mr Abdullahi Ahmed (Wajir), the Nation has learnt.
  • In the August 9 General Election, 28 new governors were elected, eight pioneer ones made a comeback and 11 were re-elected.


The race for the Council of Governors (CoG) chairperson seat has narrowed down to Ms Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Mr Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado) and Mr Abdullahi Ahmed (Wajir), the Nation has learnt.

The elections will be held on Saturday after a three-day induction for the newly elected county bosses and their deputies, which starts today in Mombasa.

The county chiefs will also elect their vice-chairperson, council whip and chairs of committees.

Both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja have equal numerical strength in CoG with 23 governors each. 

Taita-Taveta’s Andrew Mwadime, elected as an independent governor, was non-committal on which side he supports, while Meru’s Kawira Mwangaza has already aligned herself with Kenya Kwanza.

Governors allied to Kenya Kwanza who had declared interest in the post are reported to have settled on Ms Waiguru to avoid a divisive poll.

Ms Waiguru is banking on her record as a Devolution Cabinet secretary and network in national government circles to clinch the post.

She also previously served as the council’s vice-chairperson. Yesterday, she declined to comment on the elections.

Mr Lenku’s supporters within CoG say it is time for a pastoralist’s voice in the council, noting that the majority of the chairpersons are from agricultural zones.

Yesterday, Mr Lenku exuded confidence in winning the seat.

“We are good to go. We are in the race and we shall respect the decision of my colleagues. We want to have a governors’ candidate, not a certain coalition’s candidate. 

“We have been rotating the position without considering political loyalties because we are very diverse,” he said.

Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, who was also being fronted for the position, is said to have settled for the influential Health Committee chairperson.

“We are meeting in Mombasa for the next few days but our concern at the moment is not who gets what position, but to concentrate on making sure Wanjiku gets services. The CoG is not political. It is the only institution that you’ll not see the Kenya Kwanza and Azimio politics,” he said.

Mr Ahmed, one of the pioneer county bosses in 2013 and who made a comeback in this year’s polls, says he will use his experience as the former chairperson of the Finance, Planning and Economic Affairs Committee to push for county interests.

Enhancing devolution

There is general consensus that all governors should be vocal on protecting devolution, irrespective of the coalition they belong to.

President William Ruto has committed to enhancing devolution by accelerating the transfer of outstanding functions to counties.

“To promote budget efficiency and minimise disruptions and delays in devolved service delivery, my administration commits to take necessary measures to secure the timely disbursement of revenue allocations to county governments,” he said on Tuesday.

In the August 9 General Election, 28 new governors were elected, eight pioneer ones made a comeback and 11 were re-elected.

Water, health and infrastructure have been some of the biggest success stories of devolution, and they have had the greatest impact on people’s lives.

But devolution has had its fair share of challenges. Corruption, infighting, a tug-of-war with the national government, wastage of funds and unmet revenue targets have been reported.

These issues are set to form the basis of the four-day induction conference.

According to the Fourth Schedule of the constitution, which outlines counties’ mandates, the governments are responsible for planning, licensing businesses, transport and controlling air pollution, among others.

According to the CoG secretariat, the development of the induction began in 2021 and has been a widely consultative process.

CoG chief executive and chairperson of the induction steering committee Mary Mwiti reiterated the importance of all partners in strengthening devolution.

“This manual will be experiential with the aim of sharing and ring-fencing the gains made in devolution thus far. This is the first step in ensuring that devolution is strengthened and there is efficient and effective service delivery at the county level,” said Ms Mwiti.

She also pointed out that the manual will capture lessons learnt with an aim of using past experience to come up with better strategies. 

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