Back ground Information

1.1 The Constitutional and Statutory Framework of County Assemblies in Kenya

The First Assembly of the County Assembly of Isiolo (20132017) is part of a community of Assemblies of the 47counties established by the Constitution of Kenya as part of the devolved system of government .Our devolution is based on the supremacy of the constitution, sovereignty of the people and the principle of public participation. The need for devolution was informed by the necessity to share power, to have effective checks and balances in governance and the decentralization of resources.

To actualize devolution, the Constitution of Kenya (2010) created two levels of government: National and County. The two levels of government work through a framework of co-operation and consultation. The functions of each level of government are set out in Schedule 4 of the Constitution of Kenya (2010).

In 2013, the National Parliament enacted several pieces of legislation establishing a legal framework for the effective functioning of county governments and to ensure that the governments are accountable to the people directly and through its representatives. These include the County Governments Act, the Intergovernmental Relations Act, the Urban Areas and Cities Act, the Transition to Devolved Governments Act, Division of Revenue Act, the County Allocation of Revenue Act, the Public Finance Management Act, the Transition County Allocation of Revenue Act, the County Governments Public Finance Management Transition Act among others. Other legislative proposals are pending awaiting deliberations between the two Houses of Parliament.

Article 185 of the Constitution of Kenya and the Public Finance Management Act provide the Assembly unique roles including debt management, budget making, declaration of entities as county government entities, intervention mechanisms for anon-performing county government, receiving and reviewing the regular reports, the implementation of county budgets, setting limits on the wage bill, appropriation of funds, establishment of Emergency funds, establishment of public funds, oversight on loans made by the County Treasury to the County Government, among many role

The County Governments Act 2012 also provides for the membership of the County Assembly, the role, powers, privileges and immunities of the Members of the Assembly and Assembly as a whole, the place of the Assembly party leadership, the role and place of the County Assembly Service Board and the Services of staff, procedure and committees of the Assembly, participation of the people including petitioning of the Assembly, official languages of the Assembly, quorum, voting, recall of Members, among many other issues.


1.2.1 Location

Isiolo County is one of the counties in the lower eastern region of Kenya. It borders Marsabit County to the North, Samburu and Laikipia Counties to the West, Garissa County to the South East, Wajir County to the North East, Tana River and Kitui Counties to the south and Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties to the south West. The county covers an area of approximately 25,700 km2.Figure 2belowindicates the position of the county on the map of Kenya

Figure 2: Position of Isiolo County on the Kenyan Map

1.2.2 Physical and topographic features

Most of the land in the county is flat low lying plain resulting from weathering and sedimentation. The plains rise gradually from an altitude of about 200M above sea level at Lorian swamp (Habaswein) in the northern part of the county to about 300M above sea level at Merti Plateau. There are six perennial rivers in the county namely; Ewaso Ngiro North, Isiolo, Kinna, Bisanadi, Likiundu and Liliaba rivers. Ewaso Ngiro North River has its catchments are air the Aberdare ranges and Mount Kenya. It also serves as a boundary mark between Isiolo North and Isiolo South constituencies .Isiolo River originates from Mount Kenya and drains in to Ewaso Ngiro River. Kinna and Bisanadi rivers are found in the Southern part of the county and drains in to the Tana River. Likiundu and Liliaba originate from Nyambene hills and drains into Ewaso Ngiro North River.

The county has a combination of metamorphic rocks and other superficial rock deposits. Tertiary rocks (Olive Basalt) are found in northern parts of the county, where oil exploration has been going on. The areas covered with tertiary marines sediments that have a high potential for ground water harvesting.

1.2.3 Administrative and Political Units

The County has three subcounties, ten wards, 22 locations and 43 sub locations.

Table1: County’s Administrative Units and Area

Subcounty Area(Km²) Ward
Isiolo 3,269 Wabera
Merti 12,612 Chari
Garbatulla 9,819 Kinna
Total 3 25,700 10

Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2013

Isiolo subcounty has the highest number of wards (five) while Garbatulla has the highest number of locations (ten) and sublocations (19). Merti subcounty is the largest area of 12, 612 Km2 while Isiolo subcounty is the smallest with an area of 3,269Km2

1.2.4 Demographic Features

The county’s population stood at 143,294 as per the 2009 Population Census comprising of 73, 69 4males and 69,600 females. The population was projected to rise to159,797 by the end of 2012 and 191,627 by 2017.The population consists largely of Cushites communities (Oromo– speaking Boran and Sakuye) and Turkana, Samburu, Meru, Somali and other immigrant communities from other parts of the country .The planned massive capital investments under development of the LAPSSET Corridor including International Airport, Resort City, and oil storage facilities are expected to boost rapid population grow within the county


The first elections of the Isiolo County were held alongside the National elections on 4th March 2013, being the first elections under the Constitution of Kenya 2010. This saw the election of the Governor and the Deputy Governor, Members of Parliament and Ward Representatives. The Assembly proceeded to set up structures for the administration of the Assembly and for the management of the business of the House. The Isiolo County Assembly Service Board (CASB) was constituted pursuant to provisions of section 12 (1) of the County government Act 2012 and has since employed and deployed staff besides budgeting for the efficient running of the Assembly. The County Assembly of Isiolo has provided oversight and exercising countervailing check on the County Executive. With the strengthening of the committee system, the Assembly is expected to provide greater scrutiny on legislative proposals, oversight on the budget and oversight on the general administration of the County

The roles of the county assembly can be derived from Article 185 of the New Constitution of Kenya (2010) which includes;

  • The legislative authority of a county

  • Making any laws that are necessary for or incidental to, the effective performance of the functions and exercise of the powers of the county government under the Fourth Schedule.

  • While respecting the principle of the separation of powers, The County Assembly may exercise oversight over the county executive committee and any other county executive organs.

  • The County Assembly may receive and approve plans and policies for;

(a) The management and exploitation of the countys resources; and

(b) The development and management of its infrastructure and institutions.

The other roles of the county assembly can also be derived from the County Government Act, Part III Article 8 include;

  • Vetting and approving nominees for appointment to county public offices as may be provided for in this Act or any other law;

  • Performing the roles set out under Article 185 of the Constitution;

  • Approving the budget and expenditure of the county government in accordance with Article 207 of the Constitution, and the legislation contemplated in Article 220 (2) of the Constitution, guided by Articles 201 and 203 of the Constitution;

  • Approve the borrowing by the county government in accordance with Article 212 of the Constitution;

  • Approving county development planning; and
  • Performing any other role as may be set out under the Constitution or legislation