The Star (Nairobi)

31 January 2013

Kenya: Farmers' Union Chief Asks Citizens to Vet Aspirants

A farmers union has urged Kenyans to vet carefully candidates seeking position in the March 4 elections.

The Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers boss John Mutunga said in a statement that county governments will play a critical role in the development of the country. He said voters should elect people who will promote development.

He said county leaders, especially governor, has an important role to play. In statement, Mutunga said counties cannot be managed like local authorities. He said counties have "a bigger and more specialized mandate".

"It cannot be business as usual. County governments are mini-governments and must operate as such. They must be led by competent individuals and not just anyone," said Mutunga.

He said although the Constitution provides for impeachment of bad leaders, it is unlikely this will happen in the near future. "The coming general election is dramatically different because it creates 48 fully-fledged (county) governments complete with court of arms, the flag and the seal," said Mutunga.

He said Kenyans need to understand how counties functions. This way, he said, voters will know who to pick for the elective positions. He said the County Assembly needs able leaders, just like MPs in the National assembly.

He said one clear role of the county assembly is to vet the personnel and the development of a given county hence the need for them to be different from the local authorizes only known for scuffles, corruption and fights.

Mutunga said it is worrying that many prospective leaders have absolutely no idea on what they ought to do for their counties and instead all they talk about is reforms and implementation of the constitution.

He said a good governor ought to possess the leadership and management qualities that enable a community to interrogate, perceive and foster county specific development.

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