As Kenyans look to go to the polls on August 9th, it will not just be an election like any other. Since the promulgation of the constitution in 2010 that brought the offices of the governor and Senators, it will be time for those governors who have served for two terms to leave office. This makes the 2022 general election special having that the retiring governors are now eying Senate seats and even some the national assembly seats . According to the constitution, the Senate is the institution tasked with the responsibility to keep in check the County governments led by the Governors.
Now, some of the retiring governors might be elected as Senators and most likely be appointed to Senate committees that audit the County government’s spending. According to the committee on public accounts in the senate, the Senate has not audited county spending for the financial years 2019-2020 to date. The Scenario means a former governor may be appointed even to head the accounts committee and in other words, audit himself when serving as governor.
Some of the retiring governors who have thrown themselves into the Senate seat race include Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, and Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo-Marakwet, Samuel Tunai of Narok, and Martin Wambora of Embu. The electorate might not be aware of the consequences of electing a former governor to the Senate. Still, the results may see the former county chiefs get away with bad manners committed in the county. A former Nyamira Senator Kennedy Okong’o Mong’are, who once served as chairperson of the committee in 2013, says it was morally wrong for governors to vie for Senate yet they will come in contact with reports about the administrations they oversaw.
In short Kenyan voters should be wary if they think about electing former governors as Senators in the August 9th general election. To make the game interesting current Busia governor Sospeter Ojamoong is now said to be going for the Teso south constituency seat after serving two terms as governor. Perhaps the constitution should have had a provision on how former governors engage after leaving office.
It is however not all not lost if the former county chiefs hold a senate seat. The incoming Senate speaker should be very categorical that a former governor should not be in committees tasked with auditing the county government spending. But that can only be done through goodwill because it is not anchored in law.
To make it interesting, Senators who have served for two terms have now thrown their campaigns to vie for County governors. Some of the Senators include Siaya Senator James Orengo and his Kiambu counterpart Kimani Wamatangi.Could they fall in the same category having served as senators and now know how to escape scrutiny when called upon by their former colleagues in the Senate? That is a question that only the voter should ask and answer on the 9th of August.
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