Transition To Devolved Governments
County governments are not starting on a clean, new slate. There
presently exist three units of service delivery at the local level. They
(a) Districts: The districts broadly guided by the District Focus for Rural
Development (DFRD) through which the government ministries through
their respective district line ministries have offered services. There are
presently 290 in number. The government has been allocating resources
channelled through the line ministries and administered by delegated
officials at the district, division and location level. This has been under
the close supervision and coordination of the Provincial Administration
(PA) under the office of the president.
(b) Local Authorities (LAs): The LAs are statutory and derive their legal
mandate from Chapter 265 of the Laws of Kenya. LA’s provide some
services such as garbage collection, provision of burial places of persons
and disposal of animals among others. Whereas Local Authorities were
originally envisioned as devolved units of service delivery, the strong
central state has gradually diminished their authority. They are widely
viewed as corrupt and inept. They nonetheless employ a huge workforce
who expects to be included in the county government structure.
(c) Constituencies: With the creation of the Constituencies Development
Fund (CDF) (under the CDF Act of 2003 which was amended in 2007)
which transfers at least 2.5 per cent of the national revenue to the
210 constituencies for capital developments, the constituency has
also become a unit of service delivery, through which the government
provides support for capital developments in various sectors such
as education, health, water, agriculture, trade and industry. The
management of CDF has failed the separation of powers test as the
members of parliament play both an oversight, implementation and audit role. Other funds that have been channelled through the constituency include the Economic Stimulus Package, and the Roads Maintenance Levy Fund (RMLF) among others.
(d) State Corporations (SCs)/Parastatals and Regional Development Authorities (RDAs): A fourth though not very directly has been SCs, parastatals and RDAs which enjoy statutory delegated authority to manage the provision of certain goods and services.
(e) There presently exist numerous decentralized funds which are
administered under the various units of decentralization.
Decentralized funds in Kenya
Fund Year Created
Secondary Education fund 1993/94
Road Maintenance Levy Fund and the Constituency Roads Fund
Rural Electrification Program 1997
Constituency Aids Control Fund 1999
Local authority Transfer Fund 1999
Constituency Development Fund 2003
Free Primary Education 2003
Water Services Trust Fund 2004
Poverty Eradication Revolving Loan Fund 1999
Community Development Trust Fund 1996
Youth Enterprise Development Fund 2006
Women’s Enterprise Development Fund 2007
Free Secondary Education (FSE) 2008
Kazi Kwa Vijana 2008
Economic Stimulus Program 2009
Despite the numerous avenues for financing development at the grassroots level,
Kenya’s present decentralized framework has been ineffective for a number of reasons including: confused and ad hoc policies; political manipulation and the refusal by central government to cede power to lower levels; unclear lines of authority and accountability; low capacities of implementation units coupled with professional ineptitude and failure to delegate administrative discipline.
Other challenges have included weak oversight; poor planning and non-existence
monitoring and evaluation frameworks; distributing resources too thinly; poor
citizen engagement and poor information management and flows as a function
of an ‘Official Secrets’ mentality.