Standards for County Preparedness
On 27th August 2010, the people of Kenya ushered in a new constitutional order that provides for a two-tier system of government. Devolution was one issue that appealed to Kenyans under the (then) proposed constitution. Through it, Kenyans saw an opportunity for effective governance and improved service delivery.
This Constitution, and particularly Chapter 11, broadly provides the structure that the 47 newly created county governments shall take. County governments are expected to work in cooperation and consultation with the national government. After the promulgation of the Constitution, the more
difficult work of designing the details of the devolved system, has now began.
Various bodies have been formed at the constitutional and administrative levels. Of interest to this paper are Parliament, the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) and the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), and administrative taskforces/committees under the offices of the Deputy Prime Minister and minister of Local Government (DPM&MOLG) and the Deputy Prime Minister and minister of Finance (DPM&MOF), respectively. Non-state actors (NSA) including civil society organizations (CSOs) and private sector bodies also have a great interest in how the devolved system is rolled out as it directly will impact on their work and the livelihoods of those they represent.
This paper has been commissioned to support the work of The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA) in advocating for progressive policy and legislative frameworks for county governments.
The paper is divided into six broad sections. Section 1 provides a brief introduction to the new Constitution of Kenya, and the devolution of government. It notes that devolution is a key means of ensuring public participation in governance, and improved service delivery.
Section 2 seeks to rationalize devolution and its various aspects
in the Constitution. The section begins by defining various aspects of decentralization, namely the four dimensions i.e. fiscal, administrative, political and market/economic. This section also discusses the four forms of decentralization, namely: de-concentration, delegation, devolution and privatization. The section then looks at the rationale, objects and principles, powers and functions, governance, financing, staffing and transition to devolved governments.
Section 3 reviews ongoing county reform processes with a focus
on the main actors, their roles and legal mandate; the reform imperatives; risks and mitigating factors; and suggests ways of improving the reform process and timelines.
Section 4 gives recommendations on standards required for county readiness to ensure they execute their functions. It suggests appropriate policy
and legislative frameworks required to institutionalize the standards in the county and the impact of such standards. It recommends the most effective institutions to ensure the standards are established.
Section 5 provides a pictorial presentation of the county government. It shows the actors and the accountability mechanisms in place including the most appropriate entry point for direct citizen participation.
Section 6 provides some conclusions. Among them the paper concludes that time is of essence and that it would be disastrous to go into county elections without water tight systems in place.
Standards for County Preparedness