Link to the article on Business Daily

Devolution is a fundamental national value and principle of governance. If implemented well, it is central to Kenya’s socioeconomic and political transformation efforts. It binds policy and legislative development efforts at all levels of government.
However, a worrying trend has emerged in the implementation of devolution in key sectors of Kenya’s economy.
First, the national government is successfully pushing a legislative development philosophy that centralises nearly all devolved functions. Most of the laws passed in the ongoing phase of the implementation of devolution contain these centralisation agenda.
This sad state of affairs is evidenced in the Water Act, 2016, the National Drought Management Act, 2016, the Land Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016, Community
Land Act, 2016, and the Roads Bill which is presently at the Senate for enactment.
In these laws Cabinet Secretaries and national government institutions are to hold massive powers and have discretion to implement development and regulatory functions that the Constitution has devolved to the county governments.
Secondly, the new laws don’t provide, in any way, how the two levels of government will cooperate and consult in the execution of exclusive or concurrent functions.
A meaningful and conceptually satisfying legislative proposal must embrace the post2010 constitutional requirement that legislation at the national level should clearly outline how the two levels of government will cooperate, consult and relate in the execution of concurrent functions.
It must clearly delineate the regulatory and development powers of a national entity and the county governments.
At the moment there is a ‘regulatory and development crisis’ in many sectors due to ‘lack of law’ on concurrent functions. The Constitution is intrinsically ‘skeletal.’ Many and better laws and policies are needed to breathe life in the document.
Take the case of the Kenya Roads Bill for example. It is arguably one of the worst and most unconstitutional Bill that has been developed in the recent times.
Instead of creating a framework for devolution of road sector functions as required by the Constitution, the Bill has centralised nearly all major functions in the sector.


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