More than 800 councillors and aspirants for county seats were on Monday awarded certificates and diplomas in leadership and governance.
The graduation ceremony, which was scheduled to take place at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Juja, had to be moved to another venue after more than 1,500 striking university workers occupied the grounds.
The ceremony was shifted to Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
JKUAT lecturers and non-teaching members of staff had camped at the university’s pavilion where the event was to take place.
The group, which had been undergoing a leadership induction course at the university since February, included mayors, councillors and county council chairmen.
Former Starehe MP Maina Kamanda was among the 664 graduands awarded certificates in county governance.
Water minister Charity Ngilu, who completed a degree course, also graduated.
“This is a very good opportunity for me as I now have the necessary skills as required by the law to help me fully dispense my responsibilities,” said councillor Michael Kaharu of Market Ward in Thika.
The Constitution stipulates that all county representatives must have post-secondary school education.
The graduates were trained on devolved systems of governance, financial management, reporting and budgeting, health and life skills management, resource mobilisation, ICT skills, human capital management and entrepreneurship for county government.
Acting Local Government minister Fred Gumo challenged the councillors to use the skills to develop their respective counties.
“I believe that the training you have received will help transform the way you conduct business at the county level, especially during mayoral elections,” he said, noting that councillors had an important role to play in ensuring the full implementation of the Constitution since they were the government representatives at the grassroots level.
“Your graduation is a success to the new Constitution and its implementation as well as Vision 2030 since through this you will be able to actively participate in its implementation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and Universities Non-Teaching Staff Union (Untesu) officials defied a notice by university councils to resume work or face the sack.
JKUAT Uasu secretary general Mutuura Mberia and his Untesu counterpart Nickson Chege said the notice by the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum was a futile attempt to scuttle the strike now in its third week.