The Citizen Handbook
Fundamentals of Devolution
Units of Devolved Government
The National Government is composed of Parliament (National assembly and Senate), the Executive (President and Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries, Public Prosecutions Director, and Attorney General), and the Judiciary. The National Government plays an important role in implementing and ensuring the success of the transition to devolved government. For example, the Constitution directs the National Government to pass legislation and implement policies to support the devolution process. Furthermore, the Constitution emphasizes National Government support to county governments in Article 190(1), which states “Parliament shall by legislation ensure that county governments have adequate support to enable them perform their functions.”
The Constitution assigns executive power at the national level of government to the National Executive, which is comprised of the President, Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecution. The Executive, especially the President, is required to meet with county governors regularly to discuss matters that affect devolved government operations. The National and County Government Coordinating Summit is the coordinating body for these meetings.
Learn More About Parliament of Kenya
You can learn more about the qualifications for and the responsibilities and composition of Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) in Section 1.3.5 of this handbook.
Article 94 of the Constitution assigns national legislative authority of the country to the 'Parliament of Kenya'. The National Assembly and the Senate comprise Parliament, whose legislative powers include representing the will of the people and exercising their sovereign power. Parliament also has the power to amend the Constitution as needed.
The National Assembly represents the special interests of you and the others living in your constituency through its elected and nominated members. The National Assembly deals with the legislative matters of the national government and is responsible for ensuring the passage of all laws related to, and facilitating the creation of, county governments and the transition process outlined in the Constitution. The National Assembly has further functions of oversight over State institutions and the National Executive. It also plays a role in determining the allocation of national revenue between the national and county governments.
The Senate represents the counties and serves to protect their interests at the national level of government. As such, the Senate is a very important to the devolution process. Specifically, in terms of the counties, the Senate’s role is to:
National Legislation on the Counties
· National legislation that affects the counties must pass through both the Senate and the National Assembly.
· Legislation that does not affect the counties only has to pass through the National Assembly.
– Article 110, Constitution of Kenya, 2010
· Represent and protect the interests of counties and their governments;
· Participate in law-making function of Parliament through the consideration, debate and approval of legislation concerning counties; and
· Determine and conduct oversight over national revenue allocated to county governments.
Chapter Ten of the Constitution describes the responsibilities for the Judiciary with regard to promoting and protecting justice for all citizens. The Judiciary consists of the following courts: the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Subordinate Courts. Within the context of devolution, one of the specific duties of the Supreme Court is to provide guidance on justice-related matters at the county government level upon request by any county government.
Judicial Service Commission
The Judicial Service Commission exists to offer oversight and guidance to the Judiciary. The Commission is composed of judges selected from each of the courts within the Judiciary as well as the Attorney-General and two representatives of the public. One of the specific functions of the Commission is listed under Article 172(1) of the Constitution, which is to promote and facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the efficient, effective and transparent administration of justice.” In fulfilling its obligation, the Judicial Service Commission will function as a mechanism for ensuring accountability and transparency within the Judiciary.