Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru has unanimously been re-elected as the Chairperson of Council of Governors (COG).
Waiguru was elected for a second term in office through general consensus during a full council meeting held in Nairobi.
Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi was also re-elected as the COG Vice-Chairperson while Stephen Sang of Nandi got the Whip position.
Waiguru was first elected as Chair of the council in September 2022.
The Kirinyaga Governor has been hailed as a transformational leader who has led COG to be a more vibrant and visible body that has gained recognition as the true voice of the counties.
“As it has been our tradition, the Council’s elections are undertaken through consensus, and we have unanimously agreed on the leadership that will steer the Council for the next one year,” Waiguru said.
Upon her re-election, Waiguru said that her focus will now be ensuring that all devolved functions and subsequent resources are fully handed over to the county governments.
She will also focus on increasing revenue allocation to counties, supporting counties to improve own source revenue and successful implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), agricultural value chains development, value addition and trade.
Waiguru thanked the governors for having faith in her leadership and promised to steer the COG to greater heights.
“I want to thank all Governors for having faith in my leadership, allow me also to congratulate the entire executive and the respective technical committee chairs elected today,” added Waiguru.
The Chair said for the last one year, the council has made tremendous achievements the greatest being timely disbursement of equitable share of revenue to the counties notably 2022/2023 being paid by close of financial year.
“With the continued need to deliver effective and efficient services to Kenyans, County Governments are committed to deliver on their mandate in a focused and coordinated manner. We endeavor to continue harnessing potential opportunities for prosperity to ensure citizens access timely and quality services in all the devolved sectors,” Waiguru emphasized.
She said there has also been improved intergovernmental relations between the National and County Governments with consultation and dialogue, some in the public eye and some behind the scenes taking the center stage of all engagements.
“We held a successful first Biennial Devolution Conference in Uasin Gishu County and we are also working in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee to ensure the unbundling of functions is finalized,” she said.
However, Waiguru noted that her first term as chair of the council was not devoid of challenges among them continuous attempts to claw back Devolution through “retrogressive legislation and creation of unconstitutional bodies to undertake devolved functions.”
She cited the recent gazettement of additional Water Works Development Authority, the enactment of Community Groups Bill and the “overnight passage” of the Facility Improvement Funds Act as some of the recent attempts to claw back devolution.
“We call upon the National Government and other Devolution stakeholders to embrace consultation, cooperation and collaboration to enable us serve the people of Kenya effectively,” she said.
On Friday, President William Ruto hailed Waiguru for creating harmonious working relationship between the two levels of government.
“I want to thank Governor Anne Waiguru for providing the leadership that has created better working relationship between the national and county governments,” he said during the United Democratic Movement (UDA) National Governing Council (NGC) meeting at Bomas on Friday.
At the same time, there has been vibrant engagement between counties and development partners who have shown great interest in supporting development projects and programs in the counties.
Waiguru is the first woman to have been elected and re-elected the COG Chair.
A leader of many firsts and a trail blazer, she was among the first three women to be elected governors in 2017, alongside Charity Ngilu– Kitui and the late Joyce Laboso– Bomet.
Prior to her election as governor, she served as the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning, a docket that was responsible for overseeing successful transition from the centralized to devolved system of governance.
She is also the brain behind the Huduma Centers concept that established one–stop shop for government services in the counties. She had earlier served in the National Treasury where she spearheaded the implementation of Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) that has streamlined public financial management in the country.
Back at home in Kirinyaga County, Waiguru has been implementing transformational development projects aimed at uplifting the living standards of the residents, this earned her a second term in office.
Under Wezesha Kirinyaga economic stimulus program, Waiguru has supported thousands of farmers to diversify and increase agricultural production in value chains such as tomatoes, avocado, dairy, beekeeping and fish farming among others.
She has also been constructing aggregation centers for farm produce and transforming infrastructure in the urban areas to create conducive trading environment.
In health sector, Waiguru has been undertaking massive infrastructure and service delivery reforms with her flagship project being the construction and equipping of Kerugoya Level Five Hospital Medical Complex that was opened by President Ruto in June, 2023. Her goal has been to provide access to affordable healthcare for the residents.