Devolution; “Not yet there”

In Summary

• The environment for implementation of the system has not been smooth due to various challenges experienced for the past nine years. 

• Initially it was cited as "teething problems" as well as "a learning process" on how best and well can the country adopt devolution at full-length. 

Devolution
Devolution

The adoption of a devolved system of government in Kenya was a desire of citizens who wanted access to public services closer to them.

Articles 174 and 175 of the Constitution, outlines the objects of devolution as promotion of democracy and accountability in the exercise of power, fostering national unity by recognizing diversity, enhancing people's self-governance, enabling communities manage their own affairs, protecting and promoting interests and rights of minorities and the marginalized and ensuring equitable sharing of resources.

By and large these have been fairly achieved. At the birth of devolution a framework was put in place with a clarion call to establish an enabling environment to all stakeholders involved in implantation of the same.

The environment for implementation of the system has not been smooth due to various challenges experienced for the past nine years.

Initially it was cited as "teething problems" as well as "a learning process" on how best and well can the country adopt devolution at full-length.

A myriad of challenges has persistently affected the devolution process and seems like not going away any time soon; disagreements between the National Government and County government over funding for County functions, poor or absence of consultation on matters that affect County Governments, little technical support for the implementation of functions, insufficient allocations and delayed disbursements of funds to Counties by the National Treasury, lack of capacity and skills to deliver services, corruption, lack of public participation, gender inequality, tribalism, nepotism, unprocedural procurement and tendering processes .

These challenges have largely affected the implementation of devolution in Kenya.

There must be a better working relationship between the two levels of government.

Parliament, County Governments, the IGRTC, the Ministries, Independent Offices and Commissions, civil society-all should work together in the spirit of Article 6(2) for the desire of achieving the fruits of devolution in totality.

The Auditor General reports have shown massive mismanagement of resources at the County levels of governance?

A few counties have fairly done well and the benefits of devolution are practically visible.

Majority of the counties have performed dismally with mega corruption cases emerging, misdirected priorities; inadequate capacities to plan and implement budgets; ineffective oversight mechanisms, marginalization and non-utilization of allocated funds.

As the clamour for constitutional amendments takes shape; there is need to strengthen checks and balances structurally and policy-wise on devolution; in a bottom-up approach as we advocate for increased allocation of funds to the county governments.

Some governors have become demi-gods, dictatorial, very corrupt and still remain scots-free. Citizens want a scenario where responsive and practical action by DCI, DPP, EACC and Judiciary is taken by making high profile arrests, convictions and assets recovery.

The judiciary arm of governance must be restructured, its independence respected and allocated more resources to timely handle the backlog of pending cases across the country.

There is a need to form a task force that can oversee how well the office of DCI, DPP and other Multi-agencies tasked to fight graft can be harmonized to ensure smooth and efficient handling of court processes.

NCIC should roll out its sleeves and carry out an audit in the County governments to check on levels of tribalism and nepotism on employment to foster regional balance, cohesion and national unity.