Learner’s Submission: Decentralized Governance in Kenya



“Decentralization” is an ambiguous and broadly used concept, and the definition varies across countries In this article decentralization is defined as “devolution” of power and competence to independent governments below the central government level, which are given responsibilities (typically within certain levels and ceilings) for determining the level and quality of services to be provided, the manner in which those services will be provided, and the source and the size of funds to finance the delivery of those services.

Decentralization is seen as a gradual process. It takes different forms, including political decentralization (transfer of decision-making power to lower-level, politically elected bodies) and fiscal decentralization (assignment of functions and transfers of power within financing). It might take place within a specific sector or be integrated (multi-sectoral) as transfers of power to multi-purpose authorities, and between actors within each country. Decentralization by devolution is the declared policy of decentralization and this is clearly also emphasized in the newly adopted Constitution in Kenya. From a historical perspective, decentralization has been introduced for various reasons: to answer the problems experienced with centralized/concentrated systems of service provision, to get political support, to achieve improved efficiency in resource allocation, to bring decisions closer the citizens, to improve governance and accountability, to improve equity and rural development, to improve the development and strengthen poverty reduction. But the design of decentralized systems, and many contextual factors, impact on the possibilities of achieving these objectives.

In Kenya, the basic area for discussions are called “local authorities” (LAs) local governments (LGs), defined as the levels of government below the central government, which are accountable to local populations through some kind of an electoral process.

Kenya Country Governance Profile – Fact Sheet


Issue Facts
Population 28.7 Million (1999)
Size of the territory (surface Km2) 580,400 Km2
Governance system Multi-party (strongly dominated by two parties)
Layers of government 2 layers Central government and LAsParallel system of provincial and district administrations
Number of local governments with legislative power 175
Average size of the upper layer of LG 163,923

Local Governments (LGs), in Kenya have very limited service delivery mandates unlike in other neighboring countries like Tanzania and Uganda where major service provision responsibilities are devolved to LGs.

Extent of Devolution of Key Sector Responsibilities to LGs in Kenya

Sector Extent of Devolution of responsibilities to Local Governments
Health No major role by local government –mainly taken by Ministry of Health
Education Minor role, seven of the major LG are designated as education authorities, the remaining LG’s play no major role in provision of Education services
Water Largely centralized with Ministry of environment and natural resources, National Water conservation and pipeline corporation. However in some LG’s operate water boards
Roads No major role for Local Government, centralized with creation of Roads Boards, only few LG’s have recently been appointed as roads sub agent
Agriculture No major role for Local Government

Kenya has since the mid-1990s initiated an incremental reform of LGs that, foremost, has focused on improving the fiscal aspects of LGs without, to date, substantial legal reforms. However, as part of the New Constitutional Review, much wider and very radical proposals related to decentralization reform has been debated and crafted into the new constitution which was adopted recently. The draft Constitution was endorsed and It proposes a radical devolution of powers to a LG system based on three tiers: regional, district and location. With the adoption of the new Constitution, it has signaled the start of a comprehensive decentralization programme based on devolution. In anticipation, the Ministry of Local Government is currently in the process of drafting various LG laws and amendments.

In Kenya, the current legal framework of LGs is widely recognized as in need of reform. The existing parallel system for local-level service delivery gives no clear mandate to LGs for the provision of key services. Instead, the various sectors and the deconcentrated administrations are given the main responsibility. Studies, confirmed by the field visits, have indicated that this not only leads to duplication and poor local governance, as citizens cannot hold government accountable at the local level for local level service delivery, but it also entails a waste of public resources and an ineffective provision of services.

The Adopted Constitution proposes a radical reform in support of devolution to LGs. Although the new Constitution has been criticised for being too complex, as it suggests the introduction of a three tier LG system, where only the second tier (the districts) have well defined mandates for service delivery. The implementation of the proposed transition towards a devolved system will certainly be very challenging – and possibly painful.  Previous structures for deconcentrated service delivery will have to be abolished; staff employed by sector ministries will have to be transferred to local governments, if they are to undertake their new functions. Modalities for sufficient (discretionary) funding need to be developed. The transfer scheme, LATF, has generated substantial experiences that can form the basis for further reforms.

The most critical aspects will probably be:

Clear assignment of specific responsibilities to the different new LGs, in line with the broad guidance of the new Constitution and considering factors like linkages between the size of the government units and the type of services to be provided, links between the services, economies of scale, possibilities for citizens’ participation and accountability, political representation, closeness, etc; Reform of key sectors along the lines stipulated in the new Constitution, with the active and constructive involvement of sector ministries;  Development of a system for balancing the new transferred functions, with properly assigned revenues to LGs, .Development of a decentralized system for management of personnel that guarantees meaningful local accountability of staff, while at the same time safeguarding the interests of personnel in terms of career development prospects and job security.” – Bareto Tieng’o – Tanga, Tanzania

Learner’s Submission: Social Media in Tanzania


“Social media channels can be referred to mass communications which are given in the societies through various mediums. These mediums can be televisions, radios, the press {newspapers – journalism}. Society and country at large are much more affected by the usage of these social media channels.

The meaning of the Government refers to the body of persons given an authority to govern the state on behalf of all Citizens of the Country. It is the Government which ha the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of its Citizens. Since the Country is large and it has to reach all the corners of the Country, therefore; the Government is enabled to get information by the usage of social media channels. Tanzania Government has is providing very great degree of freedom to social media channels with the purpose of making them as a pillar in assisting the Government to the day-to-day occurrences and the Government easy to work upon. For this reason our Government uses televisions, radios, press, internet, Facebook pages, twitter accounts, telephones to get information and claims of the Citizens.

Social media channels is playing a great role in Tanzania Government; Tanzanians are now contributing their views to the constitutional review, they present their views to the Commission through mobile phones, internet, twitter accounts, Facebook pages, televisions by conducting debates about the Constitution and the Country which they want. This is much enabling the boosting of constitutional review, it is about 27,992 people visited the commissions’ Facebook page and about 6,909 participants sent views through chart message services. This gives life our constitution review to the good progress. These are the efforts taken by the Government targeting at boosting democratic progress in Tanzania and to its people {Citizens.]

Social media channels has put contribution to security to get substantial stability in the country. People or citizens use to report criminal events where they happen to particular offices or police and urgently taken into considerations. This results to fewer occurrences of criminal cases, this is an outcome of technology that has given birth to social media channels.

These social media channels are so important, this is due to the development of sciences and technologies many people are forced into in order to go with time and get updated. Many people use mobile phones, internet, twitter accounts, Facebook pages to get friends and communicating with friends and relatives live far and others not live far but aiming at linking business affairs. People perform well in business because of the usage of social media channels, business men manage to get the day-to-day dollars rates trough the usage of social media channels.

Tanzania  Government opting to social media channels as a medium for ensuring its citizens are well reached with their problems and claims that their Government supposed to do to them; it is right and very right time because now the technology is the heart of the development of any society or country in the entire world. The only thing the Government should do to its people is ensuring the social media channels come and people use while they are of good standard in order to reduce reworks, repairing, and increasing Waste Management. This can be done by the usage of high strategic intelligences, competitive intelligence as far as other countries do very well about this. This is supposed to be emphasized in all entry points of the country.” – Michael Vincent Mhagama – Tanga, Tanzania

Learner’s Submission: Aligning HR Capacity Development with the Country’s Development


“Human Resources by definition refers to people, policies and practices within the organization used to ensure effective and efficient use of the people and their knowledge, skills and attributes to ensure the achievement of the organizations/countries objectives. While Human resource capacity development; refers to the whole system of providing/or ensuring development, training, and learning within an organization [s], it must be for both, that is to say; individuals and in the context of business strategy. Human being is the first resource and always the meaningful development begins from the human being as the result of thoughts.

Development always is in the form of change and it always begins from the mind and it is called the radical change because it involves the whole entire of human being. Development is the result of planning and it must have a starting point and ending point.  In this case the social relationship or economic levels can only be reached when it is facilitated by effective leadership. Leadership, anywhere it must be an ability of a person to convert people’s intention/or desires into concrete reality, and guiding them to achieve the right purpose. Or ability to establish necessary relationship, mobilizing energies and talents of staffs and manage resource for optimal results.  Leadership helps people to use their mind to reach their right purpose, because it is the leadership which assists to draw the map where all arrive their, since no one wills what is bad. Anything which can lead people out, automatically people go into it When understand where to go, people are automatically cooperating. Leaders read the map, that is; the development vision and convey to the people.  And therefore the following needs to be done to align the human resources development with the countries development:

  1. The needs of top leadership to align human resource capacity development, with the country development strategy, this requires the countries situation analysis (SWOT Analysis) by looking at the countries strength, weaknesses and opportunities and threats, looking at what is sensitive and requires the development of the necessary skills in every area of countries development.
  2. There is also need for the country to develop Human resources capacity policies across all sectors of  development this will enhance the implementation of these/human resources capacity development.
  3. Establishment of Result based monitoring and evaluation of the human resource                                             capacity development the results of which can be used for policy development and decision making process on what is best for the country the development.
  4. Provision of adequate resources and well developed facilities and to the right place and for the right purpose will ensure establishment of an accurate human resource capacity  development practices which are geared towards achievement of the countries development goals. ” – Michael Vincent Mhagama – Tanga, Tanzania

Learner’s Submission: Information on Data Protection


Do you think that data available in your government is safe? Do you know of any legislation in your country regarding the data protection?

Definition of data: refers to facts or information especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions.  There can be demographic, historical or “personal data” that is all information that could be used to identify or harm data subjects/or clients; “harm” can be done after the collection of data already done and discovering the possession of harmful objects like weapons. These data can be stored in computers, books, and others.

Davenport and Prusak articulated that data is  “simple observation of states of the world.” The data available in my country (Tanzania) is safe because it is protected and managed in an appropriately responsible manner.

Government this consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative systems who control a state at a given time and the system by which they are organized.  It is the means by which state policy is enforced as well as the mechanisms for determining the policy of the state. It is the government which ensures the consolidation of the social and economic activities of the people of the country.

Data security refers to physical and technological measures that safeguard the confidentiality and integrity of personal data and prevent unauthorized modification, unlawful destruction, accidental loss, improper disclosure or undue transfer. In “physical” data can be safeguarded by person through movements, and “technological” data can be safeguarded by movements done by machines like computers and phones.

Legislation is the law which has been promulgated or enacted by a legislature or another governing body or the process of making it.  The source led law is judge made – law which is called “case law” which is the product of the cases conducted by judges in the courts. Legislation is mainly proposed by the members of the parliament.  Legislation is regarded as the main among the three main functions of government which are often distinguished under the teaching or doctrine of the separation of powers.  Up to now there is no specific law in Tanzania which protects data or database in Tanzania that is ‘my country’. The main concern here could be the right to privacy like information privacy which handles personal data, bodily privacy, privacy of communication, territorial privacy; these are under the Universal declaration article no. 5; and also data protection and danger of information misuse.

Data protection: this includes the following:

1.  Data must be obtained fairly and lawfully purpose. Such as people must not be misled when producing information needed.

2.  Must be used and be disclosed for the purpose of security.

3.  Must be adequate, relevant and not be excessive for its purpose.

4. Individuals or clients must be allowed access to data about themselves and without undue expenses and must be provided with a copy of it.

5. Must be corrected or erased to avoid distortion of information

6. Data users must take appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration or distraction of personal data.

7. Data must be of privacy; that is information about client must be kept confidential from other people, yet must also be available to those people who it is about. To do and to follow all the above is to protect and maintain the whole about protecting data for the safeness of them and security of the particular country and its people at large.” – Michael Vincent Mhagama – Tanga, Tanzania

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