Thus the provincial administration formerly seed as an instrument of penetration and control of localities was made responsible to the regional executive authority-8 The system of devolution Kenya inherited at independence was referred to as semi-federalism kind of system. This is because it lacked political will and financial independence from the central government-9 Regionalism was therefore never personalities by the ruling party KANE after it won the elections. It infant took steps to undermine the success of its implementation.
Firstly, the central government retained a much closer control over the civil service at the regional level than he constitution allowed. It used the provincial commissioner to maintain a more direct line of communication with the regions. Although the provincial commissioner was constitutionally responsible to the regional authority, he remained in practice the agent of the central government. He enhanced central governments’ control and ensure implementation of decisions by the central government. The provincial administration had so much power during the first Kenya administration.
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The unlimited authority granted to the administration made them virtually lords in their own realms provided they administered their spheres efficiently on the regime’s behalf. As Barman and Chisel O point out, one measure of power of the provincial Commissioner was in their length of tenure. Secondly, the government delayed the full implementation of the financial provisions laid down in the constitution. It retained central control over regional finances beyond June 1964, the date set as the period when the regions assume full responsibility for their own finances.
Thirdly, the transfer of certain services from the central government to the regions was never realized. The services too were still in the hands of he government when the constitution was amended in 1964. In view of the foregoing there are several reasons that explain the failure of the Major system to effectively take root In the country. First, there was no joint consensus amongst the political class as to why the system needed to be put in place. KANE wanted masochism for expediency purposes while KUDUS advocated for the system due to self interest.
Secondly, based on above, masochism was not based on a principal stand, sound philosophy or political theory. Al Thirdly, scholars have explained that in the outset, it appeared that he failure of the government to operational the system was based on financial implication or challenges of supporting a two-tier system. In reality, KANE was concerned about the restrictive provisions of the constitution on its powers. The government had to share revenue with the regions by remitting a percentage of tax revenues on equitable basis.
It also had to decentralized the role of the Public Service Commission in employment, deployment and management of personal matters. The government saw these provisions as curtailing its role of having the only and final say in economic management. 2 After its official collapse in 1964, advocacy for Major resurfaced in the run up to the 1992 multi-party general elections. Politicians in Rift Valley allied to the ruling parry KANE construed multi-party politics as a challenge to their domination of the political system in Kenya.
They urged their supporters to arm themselves and drive out of their midst members of tribes allied to the opposition. Their logic was to strengthen their dominance in their ancestral land. 13 2. 2. THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT. The local governments were established under the Local government Act to revived certain services to the community within their areas of jurisdiction. The establishment of the local government system was one of the most substantive experiences of devolution that Kenya went through.
The local government systems that were established were centrally controlled through the ministry of local government and power remained consolidated at the central government. The local government system evolved considerably through several phases after the colonial era. The first was the post-colonial period under Major, then followed by the post colonial period under the publican constitution and the last phase came under the local government reform programs. At independence, municipal and county council were established with a measure of autonomy under the jurisdiction of the regional assemblies created by the Federal constitution. 5 The enactment of the republican constitution in 1964 marked the beginning in the decline in autonomy and performance of local governments in service delivery. Powers previously exercised by regional assemblies were transferred to the ministry of local government leading to dominance and control of local governments y central government. The minister acquired powers to upgrade existing authorities, create new ones, establish local government electoral laws and nominate members to the council without consulting local residents.
In 1 969, the government further diminished the importance the importance of local authorities by hiving key functions namely, the provision of primary education, healthcare, and roads and transferred to central government ministries, leaving provision of minor services like markets and slaughter houses to county councils. 16 The sphere of local authorities’ operations was rather curtailed by the provincial administration which played a key role in the field including the supervision of operations of local authorities.
They came under direct influence of the district commissioner who was nominated by the minister for local government to sit in councils. The provincial administration continued to wield power and authority in the divisions through offices of the District Officers and Chiefs, making the administration as the local government.