Meru Governor Peter Munya has hit back at State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu for saying governors do not have sovereign powers.
Munya said on Monday that Esipisu’s understanding of foreign affairs is “suspect” and suggested he should take “refresher courses”.
“Is he a functionary in the Foreign Affairs ministry or who is this Manoh Esipisu that keeps talking? I find it so difficult to respond to somebody so miscellaneous,” he said.
The Governor issued the remarks after Esipisu issued a directive for governors to consult with the Foreign Affairs ministry before engaging with other countries.
The spokesman was reacting to Munya’s decision to have consultative meetings with the government of semi-autonomous Somaliland, which led to the cancellation of miraa flights to Somalia.
But Munya said county governments are free to hold talks with foreign entities as long as the engagements are not purported to be on behalf of the national government.
“If we did, then that would be an issue. Whenever we require those agreements we consult the national government and bring them into the picture,” he said.
“Ambassadors visit me in this office, and they are representatives of foreign countries in Kenya. So is he suggesting that I need permission from the Foreign Affairs ministry to engage an ambassador?”
Munya spoke during a press briefing at the Council of Governors headquarters at Delta House in Westlands, Nairobi.
He said engagements between representatives of foreign governments and various arms of government were a long running tradition that cannot be wished away.
“The opposition, Raila Odinga and his Cord people talk to foreign governments every day. Do they require permission from Foreign Affairs?” asked Munya.
He said that his understanding is that the opposition does not have more mandate than elected leaders.
He sought to clarify that counties have always consulted the national government whenever the degree of engagements with foreign entities demanded this.
“Manoah Esipisu should acquaint himself with that before making wild allegations that have no basis in law or practice,” he said.