The Citizen Handbook


Fundamentals of Devolution


Understanding Devolution

What is Devolution?

Devolution involves the transfer of functions, resources and power to the sub-national levels of government. The devolved levels of government assume full responsibility and accountability for specific functions given to them by the people through the constitution or law. The purpose of devolution is to promote participatory democracy and sustainable development for the benefit of all citizens. In short, devolution seeks to bring the government closer to the people.

Role of Sovereign Power

Sovereign power is the supreme and absolute power that governs an independent state. It is also the source of all specific political power in a state. Examples of activities that use sovereign power include making and enforcing laws, signing treaties and trading with foreign countries, waging war and peace and imposing and collecting taxes.

The Constitution guides how Kenyans may use their sovereign power. According to the Constitution, all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and they may exercise this power “either directly or through democratically elected representatives." The institutions used in the Constitution to exercise the peoples’ sovereign power include Parliament (National Assembly and Senate), county legislative assemblies, the National Executive, county executive committees, the Judiciary, and independent tribunals.

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