What is devolution?
Devolution is one of the most momentous and far-reaching reforms in Kenya’s post independence history and it is one of the blueprint of the new constitution. At the heart of this transformation is the transfer of power to the county governments in aim of enhancing social equity, service delivery and citizen engagement. Although this is a great and impressive start from the outset, building a culture of accountability into the fabric of the new devolved county governments, will require early and sustained effort.
The Constitution mandates that a minimum of 15 percent of national revenue is to be transferred unconditionally to counties, but this would not be enough to finance the full set of devolved functions. There may be other fiscal stress to the counties and the central governments may have to oversee other functions especially in regions where the revenue is meagre.
A powerful centralized state was ushered into place at independence, influencing key decisions including the formation of the judiciary and the parliament.It was evident that transparency and accountability was weak and efforts to reform the system had proven really hard until the new constitution was passed in 2010.
Devolution establishes a powerful framework for democratic reform, gender reform, fiscal reform, equality, human rights reform and many more. Already three important constitutional bodies, the Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), the Commission on Revenue
Allocation (CRA), and the Independent Electrol and Boundaries commission have been charged with making a smooth transition and paving way for a new era of fully functioning county governments.
Why Kenya’s future is brighter with devolution?
Devolution is predicated on five basic principles; (i) equity and inclusiveness; (ii) equity of opportunities; (iii) delinking politics and policy; (iv) better access to national resources; and, (v) bringing
government closer to the people. That’s the best deal Kenyans could ever get.
World Food Program, Rome – Italy.