By Gufu Jattani Wario
What is the difference between devolution and decentralization?
Devolution – Is the transfer of functions, resources, powers and responsibilities from the central government to semi-autonomous territorial and sub-national units (County Governments) – in order to promote participatory democracy and sustainable development for the benefit of all citizens.
Decentralization – is the process of delegating sovereign power from a central authority to different levels of government.
Objects and principles of devolved government:
OBJECTS OF DEVOLUTION – Chapter 11 Art. 174 of CoK 2010
- Promotion of democratic and accountable exercise of powers
- To foster national unity by recognizing diversity;
- To give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance the participation of the people in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them;
- To recognize the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development;
- To protect and promote the interests and rights of minorities and marginalized communities;
- To promote social and economic development and the provision of proximate, easily accessible services throughout Kenya;
- To ensure equitable sharing of national and local resources throughout Kenya;
- To facilitate the decentralization of State organs, their functions and services, from the capital of Kenya; and
- To enhance checks and balances and the separation of powers.
PRINCIPLES OF DEVOLUTION – Chapter 11 Art. 175 of CoK 2010
County governments shall be based on:
- Democratic principles and separation of power
- Reliable sources of revenue to enable them to govern and deliver services effectively
- Ensuring that not more than two-thirds of the members of the representative bodies in each county government shall be of the same gender.
Distinct features of Kenya’s devolution
Level of government: Kenya’s devolution is unique to itself. It is based in Article 6 (2) of CoK 2010, which prescribes a system (national and County governments) that combines a measure of autonomy and inter-dependence leading to a cooperative system of devolved government.
Revenue distribution: Revenue raised nationally allocated to counties (not less than 15%) of recently audited accounts of revenue and approved by the National Assembly.
Decision making organs: National executive, Parliament, 47 County Executives and County Assemblies.
KENYA’S TRANSITION MECHANISM TO DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT:
KEY LEGISLATION THAT SUPPORTS DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT
- County Government Act, 2012
- Transition to Devolved Government Act, 2012
- Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2012
- Intergovernmental relations Act, 2012
- Public finance Management Act, 2012
- Transition County Allocation Revenue Act, 2013
- National Government Coordination Act, 2013.
KEY INSTITUTIONS IN THE (TRANSITION) DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT
- Transition Authority (TA) – Managed transition processes
- Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA)
- Commission on Implementation of the Constitution – (CIC)
- County Governments
- National and County Government Coordination Summit
- Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IRTC) – Succeeded Transition authority (TA)
ANTICIPATED BENEFITS OF DEVOLUTION
- Improved governance
- Reduced political tension in the county
- Increased economic activity in the county government
- Improved delivery of public services
- Management of basic public service at the grassroots level
- Equitable allocation of public resources
CHALLENGES TO DEVOLUTION
- Embedded Corruption
- Conflicting functions
- Increased impunity
- Duplication of functions
- Excessive taxation
- Misinterpretation of the constitution
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO CHALLENGES OF DEVOLUTION
- Strengthening civic education
- Instituting checks and balances in devolved systems
- Stiff penalties be meted on corrupt public servants
- Harmonization and rationalization of functions
- Empowering people to hold leaders to account
- Equitable distribution of resources
- Broadening the tax base to ease the burden of taxation
- Creating innovative ways on revenue mobilization