County governments have been established to a carry out exclusive, concurrent
and residual2 functions. As such their operations are not mutually exclusive
from those of the national government. The two levels are expected to work in
cooperation and consultation with each other. Table 2 overleaf shows the powers
and functions, assigned by the Constitution to the county level of government.
Currently the national government plays an implementation role whereas the
new order expects the national government to play a facilitators role in most
of the sectors. Key sectors where the national government is expected to cede
considerable implementation powers and functions include: Agriculture, Health,
Planning and Development, Pollution Control, Public Works, Roads, Transport,
Public Entertainment, Soil and Water Conservation, Forestry, Trade development
and Regulation, Tourism, Animal Welfare and Cultural Activities.
Functions of County Governments 1
1. Agriculture, including—
(a) Crop and animal husbandry;
(b) Livestock sale yards;
(c) County abattoirs;
(d) Plant and animal disease control; and
2. County health services, including, in particular—
(a) County health facilities and pharmacies;
(b) Ambulance services;
(c) Promotion of primary health care;
(d) Licensing and control of undertakings that sell food to the public;
(e) Veterinary services (excluding regulation of the Profession);
(f) Cemeteries, funeral parlours and crematoria; and
(g) Refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste disposal.
3. Control of air pollution, noise pollution, other public nuisances and outdoor advertising.
4. Cultural activities, public entertainment and public amenities, including—
(a) Betting, casinos and other forms of gambling;
(c) Liquor licensing;
(e) Video shows and hiring;
(h) Sports and cultural activities and facilities; and
(i) County parks, beaches and recreation facilities.
5. County transport, including—
(a) County roads;
(b) Street lighting;
(c) Traffic and parking;
(d) Public road transport; and
(e) Ferries and harbours, excluding the regulation of international and national shipping and matters related
6. Animal control and welfare, including—
(a) Licensing of dogs; and
(b) Facilities for the accommodation, care and burial of animals.
7. Trade development and regulation, including—
(b) Trade licences (excluding regulation of professions);
(c) Fair trading practices;
(d) Local tourism; and
(e) Cooperative societies.
8. County planning and development, including—
(b) Land survey and mapping;
(c) Boundaries and fencing;
(d) Housing; and
(e) Electricity and gas reticulation and energy regulation.
9. Pre-primary education, village polytechnics, homecraft centres and childcare facilities.
10. Implementation of specific national government policies on natural resources and environmental
(a) Soil and water conservation; and
11. County public works and services, including—
(a) Storm water management systems in built-up areas; and
(b) Water and sanitation services.
12. Fire fighting services and disaster management.
13. Control of drugs and pornography.
14. Ensuring and coordinating the participation of communities and locations in governance at the local level and assisting communities and locations to develop the administrative capacity for the effective exercise of the functions and powers and participation in governance at the local level.
Source: Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya (Republic of Kenya (RoK, 2010)
1 Countdown to counties, Standards for County Preparedness. The Institute for Social Accountability. May 2011.
2 Exclusive functions are those fully assigned to the county government, shared or concurrent functions are those that are performed by both levels of governments while residual functions are those carried out by either government because its not clear who should carry them out. Most residual functions are taken up by the national government.