Turkana County in the Kenyan State Context

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Turkana within the Kenyan State until 2010

Since its independence in 1963, Kenya's adminstration has mostly been centralized.[1] In 1964, the country's independence president Jomo Kenyatta amended the constitution, scrapped regional governments and replaced them with a central goverment-controlled provincial administration and a local government system. Under the established Government Act, no significant political, administrative and fiscal powers were granted to the local governments and the central government kept its control through administration officers that it hired.[2]

Persistent poverty and regional inequality, which reached its peak during the presidency of Daniel Arap Moi from 1978 until 2002, drove demands for the decentralisation of power from the national to the regional level.[3] Studies of this period show that this regional inequality manifested itself particularily along ethnic lines and that the ethnic coalitions of Kenyatta and Moi, Kikuyu and Kalenjin, received a higher budget share during their respective ruling periods. [4][5]

Subsequent governments tried to address demands for a devolution of power and resources through public spending reforms and the establishment of decentralized funds. However, these reforms failed[6] For instance, in 2003, Kibaki's government introduced the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) which has been aimed at channelling a minimum of 2.5 percent of national revenue to the constituency level ever since.[7] Yet, a study by the Society for International Development shows that regional inequalities had persisted as of 2004, stating that in Kenya "inequalities in well-being often take a regional dimension".[8]

In 2005, Kenya held the first national plebiscite to ratify a new consitution. According to a paper by the Institute of Economic Affairs the two first drafts were rejected because they did not devolve enough power to the regional level.[9] The draft constitutions also continued to distribute public resources unevenly and along ethnic lines. For instance, an analysis by Maurice Odhiambo Makoloo in 2005 revealed gross disparities in the budget allocation between the former Turkana district and Kenya as a whole in the 2005 draft and previous constitution.[10]

Turkana within the Kenyan state since the 2010 Constitution

In 2010, Kenya ratified its new constitution which embarked the country on a fundamental decentralization of power.[11] The new constitution divided the country into 47 counties, to which both political power and government functions are devolved.

It grants the national government exclusive mandate for security, foreign affairs and water. All other functions including infrastructure, energy and land are affected by decentralization to a greater or lesser degree.[12] For instance, in the realm of environmental policy, the national level retains the power to formulate policy while the local level receives the power to implement the national government policy. With respect to infrastructure and energy the national government retains the power to make policy, plan the national infrastructure and set national standards, while the counties receive the power to manage county roads, transport, energy and infrastructure.[13]

The new draft Energy Bill and the revised Petroleum Act stipulate that the revenues of future oil and gas extractions should be split at a ratio of 80 percent for national governments, 15 percent for county governments and five percent to the local community affected by the resource discoveries.[14]  

References

  1. "Devolution in Kenya: Prospects, Challenges and the Future". Institute of Economic Affairs, 2010.
  2. "Devolution in Kenya: Prospects, Challenges and the Future". Institute of Economic Affairs, 2010.
  3. "Devolution in Kenya's new Constitution". Society for International Development, 2011.
  4. "Devolution in Kenya's new Constitution". Society for International Development. 2011.
  5. "No Business Like Slum Business? The Political Economy of the Continued Existence of Slums: A case study of Nairobi". Florence Dafe. February 2009.
  6. "Devolution in Kenya's new Constitution". Society for International Development, 2011.
  7. "Devolution in Kenya's new Constitution". Society for International Development, 2011.
  8. "Pulling Apart: Facts and Figures on Inequality in Kenya (2004)". Society for International Development, retrieved 21 November 2013.
  9. "Devolution in Kenya: Prospects, Challenges and the Future". Institute of Economic Affairs, 2010.
  10. "Kenya: Minorities, Indigenous Peoplesand Ethnic Diversity",Minority Rights Group International. 2005.
  11. Decentralization in Kenya: Background Note". David Ndii, September 2010.
  12. Decentralization in Kenya: Background Note". David Ndii, September 2010.
  13. Decentralization in Kenya: Background Note". David Ndii, September 2010.
  14. Kenya Petroleum Sector Scoping Study”. Sustainable Integrity GmbH, April 2013.