Home | Counties | Governors Should “Build Devolution,” not “Defend Devolution”

Governors Should “Build Devolution,” not “Defend Devolution”

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Dr. Evans Kidero Nairobi  County Governor Dr. Evans Kidero Nairobi County Governor

Kenyans abroad following Governors conference listening to Attorney General Muigai Githu try to explain to 47 Governors during the Naivasha conference on unitary and Federal systems made them wonder whether the Governors time and pay, (taxation of others) will be wasted discussing, “Words.” The two biggest messages from the Naivasha conference were: “Defend Devolution!” and “More Pay!” The facts: Kenya constitution started the process of building devolution by creating 47 counties; Kenya constitution stated the revenue source; Kenya constitution listed the 14 functions of County Governments; and the last Parliament created a budget toward devolution. Rather than build the next steps the discussion became: Governors pay! Governors Car flags! Meaning of “Unitary State?” and the biggest achievement of one week retreat was two words, “Defend Devolution!” The question now is: Which Governor shall “Build Devolution,” in their County first?

Building devolution involves revenue and budgeted expenditure per 14 functions allocated.    


Revenue from National Government: A revenue budget of Kshs 231 billion based on population and Kshs 3 billion based on poverty is projected. However, since this will be established via devolving from National to County the money will likely come in two ways.  

  1. Operational Recurrent Revenue/Expense. This is the manpower and operational System already in place “As Is,” that is considered to be part of the 14 functions. This includes systems like: Agriculture officers, Veterinaries, Chiefs, Surveyors and others that were previously under County Council and other ministries.  County governors should not be surprised if 75% of the Kshs 234 billion or Kshs 180 billion is devolved as operating systems. Once devolved the County Government can modify or build further. 
  2. Development Cash. This is the money that will come in form of cash to the County Account. Constitutionally and legally, the only persons who can allocate this money for use are the County Assembly representatives. After allocation through County Assembly bill passed then the Governor can execute the bill as so passed.   

Revenue from Property Rates & Entertainment taxes 

  1. Property rates: Previous under the control on Land Ministry this is now under the control of County Governments. A Governor who today does not have a full registry of their County land, houses in county and vehicles in their county can be considered a very slow Governor. We can predict his or her county will have slums or squatters by 2017. The job of the Governors is to convince owners or property land, houses and cars to pay property rates they set. If the people reject them with their rates then the County Government is dissolved.  
  2. Entertainment taxes: This includes anything that the County could consider as entertainment. The many tax in hotels.  

To explain this using New York City a devolved unit of 8.3 million people in a city with property valued at about $900 billion. 

In 2012 the city budget revenue was about $66 billion. New State Government “unitary devolved system,” put in $11 billion. U.S Federal Government of 50 States put in 7 billion. The total was $18 or about $30 billion. The largest amount $48 about 70% came from property taxes $18 billion, other taxes (entertainment etc) $24 billion and fees/other revenues was $6 billion. The total was $48 billion or 70% from the New York City.

For a County to grow a County Government needs to generate at least 50% of its revenue from within the County using the constitution laws. Devolution is already created by citizens of Kenya. 20 million Kenyans over 18 years can be able to defend devolution.  The Governors rather than waste time should be working on building devolution by raising the needed revenue to finance the 14 functions within their counties. That is what devolution is about. 

14 functions of the County Government to be serviced by revenue 

The functions and powers of the county are—

  1. Agriculture, including— (a) crop and animal husbandry; (b) livestock sale yards; (c) county abattoirs; (d) plant and animal disease control; and (e) fisheries.
  2. County health services, including, in particular— (a) county health facilities and pharmacies; (b) ambulance services; (c) promotion of primary health care; (d) licensing and control of undertakings that sell food to the public; (e) veterinary services (excluding regulation of the profession); (f) cemeteries, funeral parlours and crematoria; and (g) refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste disposal.
  3. Control of air pollution, noise pollution, other public nuisances and outdoor advertising.
  4. Cultural activities, public entertainment and public amenities, including— (a) betting, casinos and other forms of gambling; (b) racing; (c) liquor licensing; (d) cinemas; (e) video shows and hiring; (f) libraries; (g) museums; (h) sports and cultural activities and facilities; and (i) county parks, beaches and recreation facilities.
  5. County transport, including— (a) county roads; (b) street lighting; (c) traffic and parking; (d) public road transport; and (e) ferries and harbours, excluding the regulation of international and national shipping and matters related thereto.
  6. Animal control and welfare, including— (a) licensing of dogs; and (b) facilities for the accommodation, care and burial of animals.
  7. Trade development and regulation, including— (a) markets; (b) trade licences (excluding regulation of professions); (c) fair trading practices; (d) local tourism; and (e) cooperative societies.
  8. County planning and development, including— (a) statistics; (b) land survey and mapping; (c) boundaries and fencing; (d) housing; and (e) electricity and gas reticulation and energy regulation.
  9. Pre-primary education, village polytechnics, homecraft centres and childcare facilities.
  10. Implementation of specific national government policies on natural resources and environmental conservation, including— (a) soil and water conservation; and (b) forestry.
  11. County public works and services, including— (a) storm water management systems in built-up areas; and (b) water and sanitation services.
  12. Fire fighting services and disaster management.
  13. Control of drugs and pornography.
  14. Ensuring and coordinating the participation of communities and locations in governance at the local level and assisting communities and locations to develop the administrative capacity for the effective exercise of the functions and powers and participation in governance at the local level.

Read “Fear & the Conspiracy of Silence” by Isaac Ruto, Bomet Governor 

  • email Email to a friend
  • print Print version
  • Plain text Plain text
No tags for this article
Rate this article