What you need to know:
- It is eight years since the birth of devolution under the 2010 Constitution.
- Underpinning devolution is equitable resource sharing and empowerment of citizens.
The Seventh Devolution Conference, which ended on Friday in Makueni County, marked an important milestone in the history of county governments. It provided a chance to evaluate progress made under the devolved system.
It is eight years since the birth of devolution under the 2010 Constitution, whose centrepiece is dispersal of resources, governance and decision-making to the regions. Underpinning devolution is equitable resource sharing and empowerment of citizens to determine their own path of socio-economic and political growth.
Devolution has delivered on various fronts and remarkably spurred economic growth at the grassroots. A sense of healthy competition has seen counties adopting various economic development models. Hospitals, roads and educational institutions have also been built.
However, counties continue to rely largely on the National Treasury for their upkeep. Remissions from the national government are mandatory because citizens pay taxes, but there is need to have counties generate adequate revenues to sustain themselves. Not surprisingly, many projects stall due to lack of funds and in several counties, employees and suppliers go for months without pay.
More worrying is the level of plunder, wastage and misuse of resources. A number of governors and other county officials are battling court cases over these vices and others have been kicked out of office because of corruption. All these malpractices must end.
The conference made critical resolutions, among them, prioritising environmental conservation to mitigate the devastations of climate change.
Counties should implement the resolutions made at the conference, review strategies, revitalise systems to eliminate graft and ultimately, ensure devolution delivers on the promise.