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November 2010
Views Monitor
On The New Constitution

Dr. Manyibe - On New Constitution


By Dr. Edward O. Manyibe

F
or many years, Kenyans have competitive, however, counties tegrity consequently giving Ken- their communities. My extensive
fought for a decentralized must develop their infrastructure yans the opportunity to hold their studies of development processes
form of government. Today, (e.g., transport and communication leaders to the highest standards. around the globe reveal that decen-
Kenyans can proudly look back and networks), social services (e.g., Kenyans must be vigilant in en- tralization efforts that that do not
say “we have made progress.” What health and education), technology, forcing anti corruption laws at all address concerns of the margina-
is decentralization? Decentraliza- and security. Obviously, investors levels of government. The new lized groups fail miserably.
tion or devolvement involves the will shy away from counties that KACC Director, Dr. Lumumba, for Strong partnerships among the
transfer of some responsibili- have high crime rates, cor- example, has a unique opportunity public, private, and civil society sec-
ties and decision-making ruption, or dilapidated to rally Kenyans to ensure that tors should be promoted. When all
power such as planning infrastructure. counties and constituencies do not these sectors start working in con-
and resource alloca- Although cel- become the new centers of corrup- cert duplication of services will be
tion from the central ebrated as a good tion. Anti-corruption infrastructure minimized, coordination among
government to other system of gov- must therefore be build at all local service providers in the local area
levels of governance ernment, de- levels to provide local community will increase, checks and balances
(e.g., counties). As I centralization members avenues for reporting cor- will be improved ultimately result-
write this article, has its pitfalls. ruption cases. Most importantly, ing in working toward common
the New Constitu- Evidence sug- detecting, documenting, and re- goals. Mutually agreed partnerships
tion provides for gests that de- porting corruption cases to relevant provide an avenue for ongoing com-
the creation of 47 centralization authorities are a shared responsibil- munication and coordination
semi-autonomous can facilitate ity of all Kenyans. among social change agents, gov-
counties that would the devolution Decentralization can lead to de- ernment agencies, and private for-
have the legal au- of corruption. sired outcomes by creating account- profit and nonprofit entities thus
thority to design For instance, ability at the local level, where it ensuring seamless implementation,
and implement their devolution can matters most, and giving power to monitoring, and evaluation of
own development facilitate the local actors who are better able to progress of each county.
agenda. transfer of cor- define their own problems. This can Each county should have clear
Several reasons in- ruption from Nai- be achieved through instituting leg- strategic plans anchored in sound
formed the clamor for a robi, the capital city, islation that clearly defines the role local and national policies. A sound
decentralized system of gov- to county and constitu- of devolved governments and bod- strategic plan should be able to tell
ernment that Kenya has just em- ency headquarters around ies charged with providing over- people where they are and where
braced. First, previous dictatorial the country. Most of us know that sight. Furthermore, the central gov- they are likely to be in the next five,
and authoritarian KANU regime corruption flows to where money is. ernment must address the three di- ten, or fifty years if the plan is well
compelled Kenyans to demand for Credible sources such as the Na- executed. Kenya Vision 2030 which
more democratic space so that they tional Taxpayers Association aims to transform Kenya into a
can enjoy their freedoms. Second, (NTA), Kenya Institute for Public newly industrialized country by the
decentralization


the recognition that a devolved sys- Policy Research and Analysis year 2030 provides a good starting
tem would empower underrepre- (KIPPRA) and anecdotal evidence point for each county to develop
sented groups such as people with
disabilities, women, and local entre-
suggest that corruption in the use
of CDF funds is both massive and
empowers their respective strategies.
Kenyans (We the People) must
preneurs (Jua Kali artisans) to ac-
tively participate in social, eco-
epidemic. Some MPs, councilors,
and CDF managers, individually or people to use embrace and celebrate diversity for
the New Constitution to bear fruit.
nomic, and political processes was in collusion, often misappropriate Diversity of individuals or groups
a great motivation. Third, Kenyans CDF, HIV/AIDS, and bursary their creativity can be based on their religion, eth-
needed a system of government that funds. This clearly demonstrates nicity, disability, socioeconomic
would allow them to sit at the deci-
sion making table where they can
the potential of unscrupulous lead-
ers to devolve corruption to the
to manage their status, culture, gender, and politi-
cal affiliation. Collectively and indi-
identify their development priories
and decide how to achieve them.
grassroots.
In view of the aforementioned
affairs for vidually, Kenyans should strive to
understand, accept, and value all
Third, Kenyans wanted system of
government that will hold both lo-
concerns, the following questions
should be addressed: How can Ken- self-determina- people and all that is of people. The
2007 post election violence should
cal and national leaders account- yans ensure that devolution of gov- constantly remind us of the need for
able. Under the former constitu- ernment as envisaged in the New tion and peaceful co-existence. I hope that
tion, it was easy for leaders to blame Constitution brings the kind of ben- each county will prohibit any type
the central government even on
things that were within their juris-
efits that wananchi aspire for? How
can Kenyans ensure that the Coun-
preservation. of discrimination at all levels.
In conclusion, decentralization
diction. On the contrary, under the ties rapidly contribute to develop- empowers people to use their crea-
New Constitution local leaders will mental goals of Kenya as a nation? mensions of decentralization: ad- tivity to manage their affairs for
no longer pass the buck – they will Here are some of the things they can ministrative, political and fiscal for self-determination and preserva-
be held accountable for their ac- do: our experiment of devolution to tion. My recent visit to Kenya and
tions. Moreover, the New Consti- The key to the success of decen- succeed. Local actors such as the conversations I have heard with
tution will enhance checks and bal- tralization in Kenya lies in building county representatives must be friends and family members give
ances and the separation of powers the capacities of local communities. given autonomy to make decisions me a lot of hope that Kenya is on
between regional and central gov- This should involve strategic plan- that respond to issues unique to the threshold of becoming an eco-
ernment thus enhancing democ- ning, revenue diversification, tech- their constituents. nomic and political power. Kenyans
racy in the country. Fourth, they nology improvements and accessi- Marginalized groups such as are hard working. They hate pov-
needed a decentralized system be- bility, and research and develop- people with disabilities, unem- erty. They want to uplift each other
cause it creates conducive environ- ment, among others. The intent of ployed youth, girls, and poor fami- to succeed. They are patriotic both
ments for competition and bargain- capacity building efforts is to de- lies have to be identified and their to their country and local commu-
ing among different governments velop capable leaders, effective needs addressed. Strategic inter- nities. Kenyans have a lot of hope
and groups. It is envisaged that un- management, and strong govern- ventions such as community reha- in the New Kenya and, I believe,
der the current constitution, coun- ance. The ultimate goal is to em- bilitation programs and access to they will do everything to realize the
ties will compete for business, hu- power community members to be low interest loans should be put in Kenyan dream.
man talent, and tourists, among good custodians of resources. For- place to ensure that members of Dr. Manyibe is Professor at Langston
University, Department of Rehabilitation
others. A healthy competition will tunately, the new constitution em- marginalized groups participate Counseling and Disability Studies. Email:
lead to wealth maximization. To be phasizes issues of leadership and in- fully in the development process of eomanyibe@lunet.edu