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A forecast of the role and effectiveness of devolved government in Kenya: Four scenarios

Author: Jan Bezuidenhout
Organisation: Jan Bezuidenhout
Publish Date: March 2012
Country: Kenya
Sector: Political
Method: Scenarios
Theme: Elections
Type: Report
Language: English
Tags: Kenya, Devolution, Scenarios, Future, Government, Revenue

Kenya recently crossed the threshold of major political change. The new 2010 Constitution of Kenya has provided a system of devolved government that has undertaken to make a clean break from a past of what was mostly central government domination. Currently, 47 counties are being established, each with its own assembly, the membership of which is elected by the citizens living in the specific counties. Such a devolution of power could remedy the needs of diverse pressure and ethnic groups. That an attempt has been made to evolve a stronger local government than that of the past is nothing new to Kenya, so, besides conducting a multi-layered environmental scan and some expert interviews, in the current study a view was cast onto the past, to see what lessons could be taken into account for the future of the country. Based on the three sources of information stated and with the use of futures research methodology, four possible scenarios of the outcome of devolved government over the next 20 years were devised. The proposed actions to be taken in order to attain the ideal conditions are described as recommendations in the conclusion to the report. One of the major trends spotted is that it seems as if the history of Kenya, with regard to decentralisation, is based on reactions to previous systems and do not necessarily comprise the most sensible in terms of what is practically required. If the middle ground is reached and a realistic and pragmatic approach adopted sooner than is expected, the country might also switch up a gear in its pace of development and maintain its above-average economic growth, the benefits of which it will then be able to share with its population, the region, the continent and the world. Although the Constitution provides some possibility of stability, on its own it may not be the ultimate saviour, as its enactment is dependent on the actions of people, organisations and the government.
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