There is discontent brewing from the counties. The growling and grumbling is much like the differences witnessed when the head of the household passes on intestate. And matters relating to the sharing of property, land, and even breathing space can be emotive indeed.
Through the bush war and lobbying through the conference halls at Lancaster House in London for self-determination Kenyans have been on a journey to a better life as individuals and as a nation. This quest has taken many forms, chief among which was public debate and legislation through Parliament.
Indeed an Independence Constitution was provided, but proved inadequate as far as the new Kenya aspirations were concerned, as it appeared to pander more to the interests of the colonists than the new nation. And that triggered a struggle for the Second Liberation of Kenya that has over the years seen many good people drop off along the way.
That notwithstanding, a new, revised and all-inclusive Constitution was promulgated and the central form of government devolved to 47 counties. Now, the devolution dispatches project planning, development prioritisation, day-to-day governance, revenue collection and County Assembly representation and debate. National security will remain in the hands of the President as leader of the central government.
And seven months short of the General Election to set the wheel rolling, hiccups are being heard from several corners.
An unending one is the so-called “regional balancing” in appointments to organs seen to wield influence. These have seen trying times in the working relationship between the Grand Coalition partners Party of National Unity and Orange Democratic Movement.
Now that county governments are close to becoming a reality after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission delineated the various voting blocs and the Commission on Revenue Allocation determined the formula for sharing the National Budget from the Exchequer, another front has been created.
Leading to the question: Does the national government’s oversight role diminish with the advent of devolved governance units? For instance, does Masai Mara Game Reserve count as a national resource or a revenue cash cow for local communities?
Is the Port of Mombasa a national gem that must remain the official gateway to East and Central Africa and South Sudan or will Mombasa County lock it down as a revenue stream?
How will the country deal with the oil find in Turkana County? Is it up for grabs and subject to the whims of various presidential aspirants, a national resource base or the preserve of the Turkana?
Who will have overall charge of wildlife resources in national parks and tourism circuits? Do the Maasai have the final word or does Kenya Wildlife Service still exercise an oversight role over these natural resources?
To who does Lake Victoria belong? Is it to the people of Kenya or to the counties that ring its beachfronts?