”Kenyans still in the dark about county governments” On March 26 2013, I had this publication in the Standard on County governments and devolution. The same was published by the Star and The people Newspapers

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Politics/Current issues

Here is the link: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000080159&story_title=Kenyans-still-in-the-dark-about-county-governments

The swearing in of governors on Wednesday will finally make devolution a reality.  The new Constitution provided for this position, under the county to ensure equitable distribution of resources in the country.

Unfortunately, many Kenyans still do not understand what devolution is all about. According to Africa Development Alternatives (ADA), devolution is a very key item in the new constitutional dispensation especially in terms of transfer of power and resources to the county level. 

The new Constitution creates a very ambitious county government structure based on key principles of democracy, gender equity, revenue reliability, accountability and citizen participation. Article 1(4) of the Constitution recognises that the sovereign power of the people is exercised both at central and county level and that is why it provides for a two-tier system of government, the National and County government.

The reasons for power devolution have also been clearly set out in Chapter One and in essence, are to promote people’s participation in governance, to promote equitable development and sharing of resources across the country, to bring services closer to the people, to enhance the system of checks and balances and to foster unity by recognising diversity. All these will be responsibilities of county governments under the leadership of county governors.

For a long time, Kenyans have had little participation in matters of national importance. Some decisions have always been made at the Government level with Kenyans having little knowledge of what is happening.

Resources have always been managed at the national level with some areas having bigger chunks of the national cake than others.

This time round, the county governments should help to promote equity and participation. Kenyans should understand that county governments will be responsible for making decisions in many important areas. These include agriculture, basic health services and facilities, county roads, water services, county planning and local tourism.

This is indeed is a breath of fresh air for Kenyans who have been much dependent on the national government to enforce and implement some laws.

The fact that all these have been brought closer to the people is enough reason for counties to grow and develop and help boost the economic growth of the entire country.

As the new governors wait to be sworn in, they must realise that they have so much to undertake as they start office. Kenyans have high expectations from the county governments and hope that the men and women in charge will deliver good leadership and bring services to the people.

A lot more education though need to be done to Kenyans to make sure they really understand what devolution is all about, the role of the devolved system of government and its importance.

{Nixon Kanali, Nairobi}

  1. […] Governors in the country met in Naivasha to discuss the progress they have made in regard to devolution. The summit which was organised by the Nation Media Group and be graced by Rwandan president Paul […]

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