Who is in charge of a county?

- Counties are geographical units within the country.

- Kindly, note the difference between COUNTY | COUNTIES and COUNTRY | COUNTRIES.

- The counties came to be as a result of the new constitution (2010 CONSTITUTION OF KENYA).

- This contributes to the formation of a county government for each county.

- There are 47 county governments in Kenya.

- The county governments were established based on the 1992 Districts of Kenya, after the scheduled general election of March 2013.

Here is a video explaining devolution and the county system.

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1. Mombasa 2. Kwale 3. Kili 4. Tana River 5. Lamu 6. Taita/Taveta 7. Garissa
8. Wajir 9. Mandera 10. Marsabit 11. Isioli 12. Meru 13. Tharaka-Nithi 14. Embu
15. Kitui 16. Machakos 17. Makueni 18. Nyandarua 19. Nyeri 20. Kiriyaga 21 Murang'a
22. Kiambu 23. Turkana 24. West Pokot 25. Samburu 26. Trans Nzoia 27. Uasin Gishu 28. Elgeyo Marakwet
29. Nandi 30. Baringo 31. Laikipia 32. Nakuru 33. Narok 34. Kajiado 35. Kericho
36. Bomet 37. Kakamega 38. Vihiga 39. Bungoma 40. Busia 41. Siaya 42. Kisumu
43. Homa Bay 44. Migori 45. Kisii 46. Nyamira 47. Nairobi City    

- Here are the counties on a map of Kenya.

Who is in charge of a county?

County Governments composition

- Each county government has a County Assembly and a County Executive Committee.

Who is in charge of a county?

The County Assembly

The County Assembly consists of:

  • Elected councillors each representing a ward.
  • Special seat members nominated by councillors to ensure that not more than two-thirds of the members in the house are of the same gender.
  • Nominated members representing persons with disabilities.
  • The speaker who is an ex officio member.


The County Executive Committee

- The County Executive Committee exercises the democratic authority of the citizens at the county level. This committee comprises:

Who is in charge of a county?

  • The Deputy Governor
  • Members appointed by the governor who are not members of the County Assembly

Functions of the County Executive Committee

The county executive committee performs the following duties:

  • Making and implementing the county bylaws.
  • Implementing within the county, laws made and passed in the parliament at the national level.
  • Managing and coordinating the functions of the county administration and its departments.
  • Preparing proposed bills for consideration by the County Assembly.
  • Providing the County Assembly with regular reports on matters relating to the county.

The County Governor

- The governor is the chief executive of the county. All members of the County Executive committee are answerable to the Governor.

- The Governor is directly elected by voters in the county during the general elections.

- The duties of a county governor include:

1. To preside over the official opening of county government.2. To oversee the implementation of county legislation.3. To supervise the management of county departments.4. To appoint members of the County Executive Committees with approval from the County Assembly.

5. To chair country executive committee meetings.

Functions of County Government

- County governments have the responsibility to provide services to the people who live within their jurisdiction.

- This is because the central government cannot reach each and every small corner or individual in the country.

- It is the county governments that supplement government effort in providing services to the people.

- Since they operate at the community level, county governments are able to attend to problems affecting a community or an individual.

- Responsibilities depend on the status of the county government.


Their functions include:

1. Collecting revenue:

To be able to provide services, county governments must collect levies from those living in their areas of jurisdiction.

Who is in charge of a county?

Levies charged include the following:

  • For traders to be allowed to operate businesses, they are expected to pay for trade licences.
  • Owners of property such as plots of land and houses are charged an annual fee for the property.
  • Residents within an area are charged fines when they break the by-laws set by the county government.
  • Residents are charged for services like supply of water and collection of garbage.

Who is in charge of a county?

  • In addition, county governments raise money through loans and grants from the central government and from other donor organizations.

2. Providing health services:

County governments set up dispensaries and clinics for use by the residents of the area. The authorities also employ health workers to operate in those centres.

3. Building and maintaining road:

County governments have the duty to ensure that they build and maintain roads in the areas under their jurisdiction.

Who is in charge of a county?

4. Providing nursery and primary schools:

County governments also operate nursery and primary schools within the areas of their jurisdiction. They also ensure that the schools have qualified teachers.

5. Collecting garbage:

It is the duty of the county government in charge of a town to ensure that the town is clean by employing cleaners and collecting waste and ensuring it is appropriately disposed of.

Who is in charge of a county?

6. Providing sewerage and drainage services:

County governments in charge of urban areas also ensure that a town has proper drainage and sewerage systems.

7. Providing water:

County governments are expected to ensure that residents are supplied with clean water for domestic and other uses.

8. Allocating land for special uses:

County governments that are in charge of urban areas provide cemeteries.

They also provide sites for traders to set up markets.

9. Protecting public land:

County governments have the responsibility to ensure that land set aside for public use like recreational areas, schools, health centres, and forest land is not grabbed by individuals for personal use.

Who is in charge of a county?

10. Passing by-laws:

County governments are empowered by the central government to pass by-laws and to regulate the operations in the areas under their jurisdiction.

The county is a local level of government below the states. Each of the 50 states is divided into counties (though in Alaska they are called boroughs and in Louisiana they are called parishes) that manage local governance. Each county has a county seat, which is the center of county administration. Many counties are subdivided into self-governing municipalities.

Counties are viewed as agents of the states because they enforce state laws. For example, county sheriffs arrest violators of state laws, county clerks oversee state elections and registers of deeds maintain state records such as property deeds and birth, death and marriage certificates.


The National Association of Counties detailed the history of counties:

Counties trace their roots to the English of a thousand years ago. Serving a dual function, the shire acted as the administrative arm of the national government as well as the citizens' local government. The structural form of the shire was adopted along the eastern seaboard of North America by the colonists and adapted to suit the diverse economic and geographic needs of each of the colonies.

When our national government was formed, the framers of the Constitution did not provide for local governments. Rather, they left the matter to the states. Subsequently, early state constitutions generally conceptualized county government as an arm of the state.[1][2]

Systems of governing

Counties are usually governed by an elected board of supervisors, county commission, county council, or county legislature. In some counties, there is a county mayor or a county executive. The position of mayor is mostly ceremonial in some states, while in others, the mayor is more powerful than the commissioners or supervisors.

In many states, the board in charge of a county holds powers that transcend all three traditional branches of government. It has the legislative power to enact ordinances for the county; it has the executive power to oversee the executive operations of county government; and it has quasi-judicial power with regard to certain limited matters (like hearing appeals from the planning commission if one exists).

As for the day-to-day operations of the county government, they are sometimes overseen by a county manager or chief administrative officer who reports to the board, the mayor or both.

In some states, the county technically has a plural executive in that several important officials are elected separately from the board of commissioners or supervisors (implying they cannot be fired by the board). This can create tension if such officials then disagree on how to best carry out their respective functions.

Who is in charge of a county?

  • County commission
  • County council
  • County executive
  • County mayor