County Attorneys in the 47 devolved units have hailed the enactment of the Office of the County Attorney Act 2020, which they said would enhance service delivery.
While hailing the enactment, the attorneys said the Act had elevated the Office of the County Attorney to the status of County Executive Committee Member and had also made it a fully-fledged county department thus giving it more independence to dispense duties.
Speaking at a Malindi hotel during a County Attorney’s Retreat, the Chairperson of the County Attorney’s Forum, Bibi Fondo said the office had been working under extreme difficulty since it was not recognized in law.
She thanked Senator Amos Wako for coming up with the idea of an office equivalent to that of the Attorney General in the counties and Senator Samson Cherargei for spearheading the enactment of the law in July this year.
The law was passed on July 2020 and assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta later in the same month.
Fondo who is also the Kilifi County Attorney urged county governors to fast-track the implementation of the act by transiting county attorneys into the offices to enable them to have resources to help them discharge their duties more effectively.
“According to section six of the act, the person who has been performing the functions of county legal officer, so long as they have a qualification of being an advocate for five years, should transit into the office without any hindrance,” she said.
Noting that county attorneys play a pivotal role in the implementation of the fourth schedule of the constitution in drafting laws for the county governments; she said it was important that all county governments recognize that office.
She said the county government would no longer have to hire private legal officers to represent them in suits since the office of the county attorney would henceforth have adequate human and financial resources to fully represent the devolved administrations.
Fondo in addition noted that the main challenges the county legal officers had been facing were on issues to do with county law enforcement and the drafting of contracts, which she said had attracted lawsuits against county governments.
Deputy Chairperson Caleb Nyamwange said he did not anticipate challenges in the implementation of the new law by county governments since most of the clauses are self-executing.