In a unanimous decision during a full council meeting held in Nairobi, Governor Anne Waiguru of Kirinyaga County has been re-elected as the Chairperson of the Council of Governors (COG) for a second term.

The election also saw Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi retain his position as COG Vice-Chairperson, with Stephen Sang of Nandi appointed to the Whip position.

Governor Waiguru, who was first elected as COG Chair in September 2022, has been lauded as a transformational leader who has significantly elevated the COG's profile, making it the preeminent voice of Kenya's counties.

She expressed her gratitude for the unanimous support, stating, "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."

Upon her re-election, Governor Waiguru outlined her priorities, focusing on the seamless transfer of devolved functions and resources to county governments.

She emphasized her commitment to increasing revenue allocation to counties, enhancing counties' own-source revenue, and ensuring the successful implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Additionally, she highlighted her intent to foster agricultural value chains development, value addition, and trade.

Governor Waiguru acknowledged the trust placed in her leadership by her fellow governors and pledged to lead the COG to even 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," she added.

Under Governor Waiguru's leadership, the COG has achieved significant milestones, notably the timely disbursement of equitable revenue shares to the counties, ensuring that the 2022/2023 allocations were distributed before the close of the financial year.

Waiguru stressed the importance of effective and efficient service delivery to Kenyan citizens and the commitment of county governments to fulfil their mandates.

“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," Waiguru said.

"We endeavour to continue harnessing potential opportunities for prosperity to ensure citizens access timely and quality services in all the devolved sectors.".

Governor Waiguru also highlighted the improved intergovernmental relations between the National and County Governments.

These relations have been characterized by open consultation and dialogue, both publicly and behind the scenes, with a focus on delivering better services to Kenyans.

However, Waiguru's first term as COG Chair was not without its challenges.

She highlighted a few challenges including attempts to undermine devolution through retrogressive legislation and the creation of unconstitutional bodies to handle devolved functions.

She called upon the National Government and other stakeholders to embrace cooperation, consultation, and collaboration to effectively serve the people of Kenya.

“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,” Waiguru stated.

President William Ruto commended Governor Waiguru for fostering a harmonious working relationship between the national and county governments, underscoring her leadership's positive impact on governance.

“I want to thank Governor Anne Waiguru for providing the leadership that has created better working relationship between the national and county governments,” the president said.

Governor Anne Waiguru is not only the first woman to be elected as COG Chair but also a pioneer in many other aspects.

Prior to her gubernatorial role, she served as the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning, overseeing the successful transition from centralized to devolved governance.

She is also credited with conceptualizing the Huduma Centers, streamlining government services in the counties.

Her earlier role at the National Treasury contributed to the implementation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS), enhancing public financial management in Kenya.

Within Kirinyaga County, Governor Waiguru has spearheaded transformative development projects aimed at improving residents' living standards.

Her "Wezesha Kirinyaga" economic stimulus program has supported thousands of farmers in diversifying agricultural production, including tomatoes, avocados, dairy, beekeeping, and fish farming.

She has also invested in aggregation centres for farm produce and urban infrastructure upgrades to facilitate trade.

In the healthcare sector, Governor Waiguru has overseen substantial infrastructure and service delivery reforms.

Her flagship project, the Kerugoya Level Five Hospital Medical Complex, was inaugurated by President Ruto in June 2023, with a focus on providing affordable healthcare access to Kirinyaga County residents.