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 "Implementing government devolution in Kenya"
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 "Implementing government devolution in Kenya"

Eric OmwandaKenya has started the process of changing to a more localised system of government, writes Eric Omwanda, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nairobi in Kenya, who says that once implemented, devolution has the potential to benefit local communities.

Devolution in simple terms means bringing resources and governance closer to the people through smaller units of government headed by Governors.

This is a system of governance that can take up to 15 to 18 years before it is fully realized. The reason being is that in the first five years after an election to include devolution in a country’s constitution, it will basically be a time of restructuring the previous system of governance to fit devolution. During the same period, since  there are people who are against devolution and they can be influential  toward both the masses and the government, a lot of political fighting against this system will be experienced.

In another one decade, people will start embracing this system of governance since they will have understood and practiced it. The time frame for devolution to take shape also depends on the citizens’ and political goodwill to embrace the system. Availability of resources and funds to implement this system is also key.

In Kenya, since last year it has been quite a hectic time for devolution, since there are people who are promoting it while others are tirelessly working against it. There has been a slow progress in making this system of governance workable. The national government allocates around 45 per cent of its funding to the 47 county governments in Kenya. However, according to Governors and the opposition, the funds are inadequate and cannot support the counties do their projects well.

County governments have been raising their funds through taxes in their respective counties. The taxes are mostly from small-scale businesses, parking fees, use of public county facilities, and similar. It is time that the counties start utilizing these funds so that they can spearhead development in their local areas. What is worrying is that over 50 per cent of the taxes are used to pay salaries to employees.

To the national government of Kenya, it will be in good faith to call upon the Governors and work out a formula that will see them understand that funds allocated to them are enough. The important key that they should comprehend is how to spend the funds and prioritize what is necessary. I think the national government should advise the county governments on how they can raise maximum funds in their respective constituencies.

With the new structures of government there are a lot of opportunities for all the counties, since all the 47 counties are unique in their own ways. We cannot forget that counties like Machakos have a number of development projects that they have implemented. This system is well taken care of, and implemented to the letter it can bring a lot of development in the counties.

photo credit: rafamerchan via photopin cc
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About me: I am aspiring to be world class journalist who will share stories beyond my community and country because stories happen beyond set boundaries and they need to be told.
My interests are issues affecting humanity either positively or negatively, taking photos and videos. You may kindly visit http://matharefoundation.blogspot.com
Currently I am a freelance journalist based in Nairobi. I do commercial video production and photography when hired by clients.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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