Devolution as a Means for Self-governance: Its Potential for Poverty Reduction in Kenya
Ngundo, Veronica M
Chitere, Preston O
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This study examined devolution which was introduced in Kenya at the beginning of 2013 with a view to establishing whether it was helping to reduce poverty as provided for in the Republic of Kenya Constitution (RoK, 2010). As is the case in other African countries, the majority of Kenyans are poor. We gathered data through desk reviews of relevant books, journal articles and reports and interviews with senior staff of Kakamega, Kisumu and Kajiado counties. It was evident that after abolishing Kenya’s independence (1963) devolved constitution termed “Majimbo” and establishing a highly centralized governance system, Kenya implemented several deconcentration measures which included the District Focus for Rural Development, Rural Development Grants and Rural Works Program aimed at facilitating decision making and allocation and use of resources in communities. These various efforts did not lead to improvement in the country’s poverty situation which stood at 56 per cent in the 1980s and 1990s. With the introduction of devolved funds such as the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATIF) in 2003, the poverty situation had reduced gradually to 46 per cent at present. We have also shown that devolution which was introduced recently with more decision-making powers and resources had potential to ensure further reduction of poverty, especially at the county and household levels.