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EXPERT COMMENT: State starves counties that deserve 70-80% of funds

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The main promise and inspiration of the Kenya’s 2010 Kenyans Constitution is devolution. What is devolution?

Devolution is the restructuring of the Kenyan state from the one founded by the Imperial British East Africa Company, an extractive business entity, that later handed over this territory to the British Crown as a protectorate.

The extractive business entity was later handed over to African loyalists in the name of ‘Independence’. Instead of being a source of income to the British Crown in the form of taxes and cheap labour for the coffee, tea, flower, maize, dairy and other farms, plus industrial enterprises and other ventures, it continued without change but for the British agents led by Presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and others.

Devolution was an attempt to give back Kenya to Kenyans. It was an attempt to remove a monolithic power structure where the few determined the welfare of the many.

These few in the central government have fought devolution tooth and nail since 2010. They have tried to obstruct devolution at every step, through Parliament and the Treasury. They have tried to starve and strangle it. They are trying to centralise more power and hold on what is not theirs.

With this year’s budget at Sh3 trillion, the allocation for devolution — with most national functions devolved — is a mere 300 billion. Yet the national government is unable or unwilling to remit these funds to the counties in full.

What is the national government doing with this Sh2.7 trillion, yet most services to Kenyans are being handled by devolution? Please tell us. There’s plenty of money for wining and dining and catering to Parliament’s champagne tastes.

I wholeheartedly welcome CRA’s proposal to devolve more funds to the counties. In my humble opinion, 70 to 80 per cent of Kenya’s budget should be shared by the counties.

Let us hold county governments to account as they are right in neighbourhoods. We know the leaders, we know their homes, we know their mothers and their fathers and other relatives. We can visit their homes if they don’t fulfil their promises. Devolution is the pathway to Kenya.

Tuitakayo. Kudos, CRA!

Written by Mwalimu Mutemi wa Kiama, a social economics commentator and human rights activist.

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