Power play between the centre and the periphery: Problems and prospects of devolution under constitution of Kenya 2010
Kirui, Peter K.
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The drafters of the constitution of Kenya 2010 cleverly introduced devolved governments (county governments) in order to decentralize power from the executive, then perceived as imperial. The devolved system of government was therefore meant to fill the power vacuum arising from reduced executive powers of the President. This was also meant to address the perennial problem of resource distribution inequalities which was largely influenced by the sitting president. This paper seeks to find out the prospects of devolved governments in Kenya while pointing out the problems likely to be experienced in pursuit of a decentralized system of government. It draws it lessons from Kenya’s independence constitution that was regional (devolved) and which was later restructured into a unitary government by the political elite paving way to an all powerful president with unchecked powers. It relies heavily on secondary sources to draw conclusions derived from history of Kenya and her current affairs. While acknowledging the opportunities county governments provides, including that of enhancing local innovations, it concludes that this could only be realized with the necessary political will aimed at empowering the counties and making them sustainable. The political gimmicks aimed at wielding power to the central government hence usurping the responsibilities of regional governments, as witnessed shortly after independence, should therefore be discouraged and condemned if Kenyans are to enjoy the fruits of devolution as envisaged in Kenya’s constitution 2010.