The Citizen Handbook

Fundamentals of Devolution

Understanding Devolution

Distinct Features of Kenya’s Devolution

Kenya's devolution model has several distinctive features. The most prominent of these features are:

· Level of government – The sovereign power of the people is exercised at both the national and county levels of government. These two levels have distinct functions, roles and responsibilities. As much as they are distinct, the two levels of government are also connected to each other. According to Article 6(2) of the Constitution, the two levels shall be interdependentand conduct their affairs through consultation and cooperation.

· Revenue distribution – Revenue sharing and generation are other distinct features of the Kenya model. Chapter 12 of the Constitution declares that the two levels of government shall divide equitably the revenue raised nationally.Article 203(2) of the Constitution stipulates that at least 15 per cent will be allocated to the 47 county governments. Article 202(2) provides a possibility of county government receiving additional allocations conditionally or unconditionally.

· Decision-making organs – The Constitution places national political power in the hands of the National Executive and Parliament. At the county level, the 47 county assemblies and county executive committees exercise the political power.


Positives & Negatives

There are several possible positive and negative effects of Kenya's embrace of devolved governance. They are as follows:

   · Positive effects - The devolution process could increase employment, improve national economic growth, provide greater service delivery, develop marginalized/underdeveloped areas, and make the distribution of resources more equitable.

   · Negative effects - Devolution could increase local corruption and clan-ism, national disunity, excessive taxation and regulation. Additionally, local areas with poor resources may be disadvantaged from other counties and may require more resources from the national government.

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