Positive assessment of devolution in Kenya in the II Devolution Conference

ORU took part in the II Devolution Conference, the national meeting of the 47 counties in Kenya, where the current situation of the Devolution initiated in 2013 was dealt with.  The conference, organised by the Council of Governors, was held in the Kisumu County between the 21st and 23rd of April 2015.

Carles Llorens, secretary-general of ORU, intervened in one of the sessions where he expressed his admiration for the Kenyan Devolution process, which he described as “a new governance meant to be a point of reference in the decentralized institutionalization process.” The Secretary General extended ORU’s hand to all actors in the process and offered to share the experiences from other regions in the world in similar processes. Llorens noted that “even though you need to build your own decentralisation model, the examples and solutions of other regions in the world can be very helpful, without a doubt”.

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During the three days of the meeting, the Kenyan governors made a positive assessment of the achievements obtained thanks to the devolution, while also evaluating the challenges ahead.  In addition to the governors’ interventions,  this event has also attracted over 5,000 people  -“all of the decentralisation stakeholders”,  according to Anne Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

The opening of the Conference was attended by the country’s President, Uruhu Kenyatta, who stated that “Devolution is at the centre of the national transformation” and “is the main economic and socio-political innovation in our Constitution”. Lastly, the president highlighted that, in this Devolution process, 43% of the national resources had already been allocated to the counties. 

For his part, Isaac Ruto, chairman of the Council of Governors and Governor of the Bomet County, advocated the importance of all parties taking part in the process with the same emphasis and more coordination between the national government and the different counties. Ruto expressed the governors’ commitment to overcome all obstacles in the devolution process.

During the three days, there was no shortage of criticisms of the process and of some governors’ policies. However, both the national government and the counties highlighted the process success. The truth is that in a very short period of time, tangible results have been obtained, such as the building of roads, hospitals and the development of the agricultural sector. However, with regard to this last point, Nderitu Gachagua, chairman of the Agricultural Committee of the Council of Governors, condemned the lack of a genuine policy from the national government to promote agriculture.  

With the attack against the Garissa University very much in everyone’s memories, the governors claimed a clear role in the field of security.  In this sense, the conference finished with the approval of a document with 31 items “to keep moving forward”. 

The Council of Governors from Kenya participated in ORU’s World Summit held in September 2014 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, where they submitted their application to join the organisation



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