Opinion and Analysis
County governments are not job bureaus for cronies
Posted Tuesday, February 26 2013 at 17:37
The Transitional Authority’s move to employ key staff to manage the imminent shift to a devolved system of government is both important and timely.
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. The Transitional Authority has showed pro-activeness by taking a series of steps that have calmed the apprehension that was emerging over how the transition to county government would be handled.
By clearly stating the earmarked buildings for housing county assemblies and governors’ offices, the Authority has, while working within its constitutional mandate, avoided a chaotic change-over and potential big loss of public funds that would have come with lack of directions as the ones currently being provided.
The hiring of 517 employees for top positions in county governments will also ensure that elected county officials will find a semblance of bureaucracy already in place once they are declared winners in their respective seats of contest.
These will be enough to set the ball rolling, before the county governments assume office and recruit their own staff. So far, the Transition Authority has managed to avoid controversies associated with recruitment of staff that has dogged the central government, with no claims of under-hand dealings in the public domain yet.
The major test is, however, set to come once the county governments are installed into office and given the authority to hire their own staff.
With most governors and county representatives being involved in bruising and close contests, the temptation to dangle the employment carrot to voters and financiers has been high.
Already one contestant in the Kiambu governorship contest has already advertised in the newspapers “vacant” positions in the county, in a clear attempt to win favours from supporters eyeing those seats.
Luckily the law provides guidelines on the number of staff that each county should have, especially in the executive team.
For those that will be tempted to make county governments employment bureaus for relatives and cronies, they will also realise that such a move will diminish the competitiveness of their counties by bloating the payroll, setting them up for the sack in the next polls.