Tap the unexplored assets in counties to promote devolution

Kenya has had a national taxman long enough for it to guide collection at the grassroots

In Summary

• The basic idea of having devolution was to bring services closer to Wanjiku. 

• Counties would not starve in the event of a standstill in revenue allocation if their stores had funds from their own resources.  

Members of the National Assembly and Senators in the chambers
UNLOCK IMPASSE: Members of the National Assembly and Senators in the chambers
Image: FILE

The basic premise of implementing a devolved system of governance in Kenya was to bring crucial services to Wanjiku’s doorstep. This has to a significant extent increased the chances of bringing, not only resources but also power closer to the people.

Devolution was and still is a noble idea whose ultimate success in the country will turn around the lives of Kenyans. Despite the zeal to actualise the dream encapsulated in devolution, one key setback seems to stand in the way; adequate resources in terms of revenue.

The beginning of the 2019-20 financial year, for instance, has been marred by a showdown between the national and county governments over revenue allocation. Chiefs of the devolved units, in solidarity with senators and MCAs, marched to court to seek legal redress on the standoff.


While county governments are constitutionally entitled to a share of the national cake, there is a need to enhance revenue mobilisation and collection in counties for full realisation of devolution. The scope of unexplored revenue reservoirs in counties could be wider than imagined.

It is indisputable that Kenya is endowed with various resources at the grassroots level which if properly harnessed, can create substantial revenue. Each county is also uniquely resourced which makes the deal even sweeter for the entire country. A partnership between county governments and the taxman has been mooted severally as a potential avenue that can enhance revenue collection.

Although nothing much seems to have happened as far as this proposal is concerned, it is time counties gave it a shot. Kenya has had a national taxman is long enough for it to help lay an invincible foundation for our young devolved units.