Devolution is finally going to be a reality in our country after the governors who were elected in the just concluded general elections will be sworn in on Wednesday the 27th. The adoption of a new constitution in the country provided for this position, under the county to ensure equitable distribution of resources in the country.
As at now, many Kenyans still do not understand what devolution is all about as envisaged in our constitution. According to Africa Development Alternatives (ADA) Kenya, devolution is a very key item in these new constitutional dispensations especially in terms of the devolution of power and resources to the county level.
These 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 Kenyan constitution puts into recognition the fact that the sovereign power of the people is exercised both at the national 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 the sharing of resources across the country, to bring service close to the people, to enhance the system of checks and balances and to foster unity by recognising diversity. All this will be the 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 national government with Kenyans having little knowledge of what is happening, While 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 also understand that county governments will be responsible for so many important things. They include agriculture, basic health services and facilities, county roads, water services, county planning, local tourism and these counties can pass laws to enforce them.
This is indeed a breath of fresh air for Kenyans who mostly have been so much dependent on the national government to enforce and implement some laws. The fact that all these has been brought service to the people is enough reason for counties to grow and develop, hence boost the economic growth of the entire country.
As the new governors wait to be sworn in on the 27th, they must put in mind that they have so much to undertake as they start office. Kenyans have high expectation from these county governments that they are going to 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,Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC,) Nairobi