By Ndung’u Wainaina
Two things have happened recently touching on devolution, services and personnel. The two are health workersâ€™ strike and Transitional Authority directive to County Governments on staff recruitment. The third issue though not directly coming out is issue of resources and rationalization of government departments and parastatals Vs County Governments.
Before discussing the essence of this thread, let me point out two things: Article 1 (4) of the constitution declares that â€˜sovereign power of the people will be exercised at national and county levelâ€.
This is profound statement. County governments are exercising sovereign will of the people. Secondly, the Constitution as primacy law has created principle of separation of powers whether national or county, institutions and functions. It frowns upon disregard of this principle. It also sets clearly the principle of County and National governments.
Therefore, the many incidents of muddling of waters on matters touching devolution, services, personnel and resources are by design for specific reasons.
This is done by top cream of the state bureaucracy and â€˜high stakeâ€™ elites for their benefit. Of course, top state bureaucrats and elites benefit from rigged political institutions, wielding their power to tilt the system for their benefit.
It is critical for the County Governments as they start to settle and gain ground to understand that the normative constitutional foundation basis is strong but it lacks comprehensive and coherent core policy framework for effective devolved governance and development implementation. This has been major source of tensions, conflicts and outright sabotage on devolution.
Devolution is victim of new wine in old wineskins.
As the County governments start the process of drafting and enacting various sectoral enabling pieces of legislation and policies, they need to understand that the success of various sectoral laws and policies will be determined by existence of a facilitative, effective devolved governance and development policy framework.
Watertight mechanisms are prerequisite and necessary to implement effective devolved governance and development and significantly cutting-down on escalating recurrent public service expenditure while investing more money in development programmes and strengthening of county institutions.
This means removing duplications, rationalizing and designing proper institutional governance architecture system, creating an effective, less costly organizational structure of government and assigning to the county administration at county level certain national government functions. The national government only needs to be represented in Counties by technical officers working and coordinating with their equivalents in the county departments.
The Success of devolved system of governance and development depends on executing consistent and coherent institutional architecture design as envisioned by the constitution governance theory. This implies fundamentally enforcing Articles 1(4), 6, 10, 174, 179, 189 and Provision 17 of Schedule Six of the Constitution 2010.
It is the responsibility of Governors and county assembly members to spearhead this policy agenda for the purpose of making devolved governance succeed.
This article first appeared as a Facebook update.