International Symposium on Devolved Government in Kenya 7th-9th of June 2011
Written by Intern Laura Mayer
Also available in Deutsch
On the 9th of May a three day Symposium on devolved government ended at the Kenya International Conference Centre in Nairobi. Issues discussed were the benefits and efficiency of a devolved government system, as well as the best possible ways of it’s implementation in Kenya.
On the 9th of May a three day Symposium on devolved government ended at the Kenya International Conference Centre in Nairobi. Many international delegates participated in this conference in order to discuss the benefits and efficiency of a devolved government system, as well as the best possible ways of it’s implementation in Kenya.
In August 2010 the Kenyan people voted in favour of a new constitution for Kenya. The new constitution foresees the commencement of the devolved government system with county governments at a decentralised level with the coming general elections in 2012. As to achieve this, it is necessary to develop a well structured framework to efficiently implement the devolved government system.
The conference was launched by President Hon. Mwai Kibaki himself on Tuesday the 7th of June. As part of the implementation process, the government of Kenya established a Task Force on Devolved Government to propose policy, structural and legislative frameworks to facilitate the implementation of the devolved system of government as envisaged in the new Constitution. In the course of the first plenary session the interim report of the Task Force was presented at the current stage of the devolution of government to the delegates.
During the following two days the participants worked in smaller groups on different topics to find ways to enhance and structure the process of implementation. The findings were later presented in a general plenary session. Topics discussed in the working groups were structures of urban governance, delivery of national government functions in counties, structures and mechanisms for inter-governmental relations. During the last day the focus shifted to financial matters. In three working groups, topics as financial resources and management for county governments, management of human resources in counties and functional assignment processes and mechanisms were discussed, as well as the functions and resources of urban areas and related operational and legal implications, the successful participation of citizens and finally the coordination and sequencing of transitional issues.
It was significant that all working groups agreed on the importance of accurately defined responsibilities and functions. The national government shall be responsible for national policies and capacity building and the counties for the implementation on county level. It is crucial for a successful devolution in Kenya that each function is clearly assigned to only one level. Competences need to be assigned decisively to prevent overlaps and waste of resources. If functions are clearly distributed it strengthens the trust among the public towards the government and makes it easier to hold the person in charge accountable.
The coming months will be significant whether the objectives can be achieved and if Kenya will be able to take advantage of the transitional period in order to implement effective mechanisms and introduce clear structures to enable a devolved government system based on the needs of the Kenyan Citizen.
Kenya, June 10, 2011