Monday, 02 November 2020 17:21

DEVOLUTION IS WORKING

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‘’We are happy with the progress we have made so far in the implementation of the 2010 Constitution. In a record short period, we have 47 County Governments up and running and as we speak, this country has witnessed tremendous changes in terms of governance, involving people in decision making and devolving resources to marginalized communities”, marked the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and ASALs (CS) Hon Eugene Wamalwa during the Legal Awareness Week, 2020. Stakeholders at the event were in agreement that significant strides have been achieved in sectors that are devolved and the objects of devolution are being felt, albeit not without challenges.
Themed "Securing Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law: Reflection on 10 years of the Kenyan Constitution’’, this year’s event ran from 12th- 16th of October with the third day focusing on devolution. It is an annual fete organized by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) aimed at providing free legal aid and civic education to citizens.
The gains of devolution cannot be gainsaid. All over the country, there is very strong support for devolution. Begged with the question of whether or not rural Counties would ever match up to the standards of urban Counties like Nairobi, Ms. Rosemary Njaramba, the Head of the Legal Department at the Council of Governors in a rejoinder reassured the participants that overtime this will be possible since resources are now going to the grassroots. ‘’Look at Mandera County for instance; it experienced its first C- Section in 2014 after devolution became operational. Hospitals in the Counties are now able to do open heart and brain surgeries. We shall get there for sure.’’
The forum, however, noted that there have been drawbacks impeding the progress of devolution; the most notable one being corruption. Panelists agreed that corruption is a cancer that poses as one of the biggest threats to development. Sharing in the pertinent discussions, Mr. Theuri, the chairperson of the LSK Nairobi Branch marked that corruption is not just a problem in the Counties but rather, a common problem throughout the country. The other dominant challenge raised is the funding snag made apparent in the recent delay by the Senate to pass the third basis for sharing revenue. The National Government has also continued to hold on to some of the County Government functions.
To stem the corruption menace, the session recommended the institutionalization of constitutionalism, so that the many laws in place are actually utilized in fighting corruption. The session also recommended the need to strengthen the capacity of Members of the County Assembly in performing their oversight function. Further, leaders were called upon to have in them the political good will to fight corruption.
On funding, stakeholders taking part in the event were in concurrence that there was need for increased allocations to the County Governments but concurrently, Counties were urged to utilize resources prudently and strengthen generation of Own Source Revenue. To improve the enabling environment for devolution, the Council of Governors representative emphasized on the urgent need for the restructuring of Regional Development Authorities and parastatals that continue to perform County functions, thereby causing wastage of funds and duplication of roles.
The session also noted and appreciated the enhanced Intergovernmental relations between the two levels of government that have been witnessed during the COVID-19 period. It was reported that in the last seven (7) months, the National and County Government Coordinating Summit had held three (3) meetings.
Unanimously, the forum affirmed that indeed devolution is working and that if well implemented, is the cure for underdevelopment. A clarion call was made to all citizens to groom devolution in order for its objects to be fully achieved.

Read 110 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 November 2020 07:25