Kenya to decentralize power

Kenya will today (Tuesday) shift from central administration to devolved governments under the new constitution with swearing-in of 47 governors.

Uhuru Kenyatta

The last presidential elections have delivered a mighty boost to the process of decentralizing power from Nairobi, an act designed to improve local governance and to reduce marginalization and the risk of conflict between communities.

According to Elias Wakhisi, a programme officer at The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA), “Devolution gears to bring services, resources and power closer to the people. And this power means that citizens will be able to make decisions about aspects and issues affecting them directly.”

Devolution is a pillar of the 2010 constitution, which divided Kenya into 47 counties, each of which are set to have their own executive and legislative branches of local government; these will be responsible for agriculture, transportation, trade licenses, sanitation, pre-primary education, village polytechnics and most health facilities. While overall policy in these areas may still be drawn up by the national government, counties will be in charge of implementation and service delivery.

At least 15 percent of the national budget will now go to these county governments, with provisions for additional funds under certain circumstances.

The national government retains responsibility for security, foreign policy, national economic policy and planning, as well as many areas of education.

More to come…

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