The role of political decentralization in conflict prevention: a case study of Kenya, 1990-2010
Njagi, Samwel M
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This project critically analyzes and builds an in-depth understanding on the role political decentralization plays in conflict prevention. Without the foundations for good political and economic governance, development will be sluggish or stalled and where there is no development, conflict is inevitable. Indeed, the study proceeds to assess the relationship between development and conflict prevention. To achieve this objective, primary data was collected through the interviews conducted and the secondary data has been compiled through rigorous research where journals, documents and books have been utilized. The major arguments is that efficient political decentralization needs strong, just, accessible and legitimate institutions which focus on service delivery, fighting corruption, improving transparency, increasing capacity and ensuring participation. Moreover, political decentralization requires a form of limited government; that is, political institutions that credibly commit the state to honor economic and political rights. The research further contends that the efficiency and equity problems common in the delivery of social services in developing and developed countries which frequently leads to conflicts can be solved through political decentralization. Besides, political decentralization enhances accountability, integrity, fairness in the administration of justice and transparency among political leaders which helps in arresting conflicts. This research considers freedom, equality, justice, dignity, and respect for human rights and institutions that protects human rights to be the genesis of positive peace. To implement full political decentralization in Kenya, there is a need to create more avenues for citizens to participate in decision making concerning governance. The study further underscores the need to confront the underlying causes of violent conflicts through economic, political and social development. When there is an atmosphere of individual growth, peace is inevitable since people will concentrate in projects which enhance personal growth instead of getting involved in violent activities. The theory of liberalism forms the basis on which the research analyses the efficacy of political decentralization in conflict prevention. This theory argues that individuals should be free from arbitrary state power, persecution and superstition. The proponents of this theory further believe that conflict is the outcome of minority rule. Besides, they say that states founded on individual rights and representative government would not have the same appetite for conflict and war as compared to the ones with a centralized government.