Devolution is Kenya's best gift since 1963

The 2010 Constitution ushered in immense and far-reaching changes in our governance landscape. It brought government closer to the people, with county governments sitting at the centre of dispersing political power and economic resources at the grassroots.

Before its implementation, governance was centralised, rigid, with political bias and often-times, misplaced priorities. Delays in project implementation was the order of the day. Development was therefore not people-centred and in most cases, people received projects that they really did not need.

Therefore the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 marked a major milestone in the way the country is governed and now Kenyans from all walks of life are enjoying the gains. Government is now more responsible, decision-making is participatory, government is closer to the governed, social diversity is entrenched, development is balanced and to a large extent, people-driven across the country.

Since county governments came into existence in 2013, we have witnessed a monumental shift in Kenya’s economic development approach.

Devolution has brought about equitable distribution of resources, opening up regions that have been marginalised for decades, management of governance and public service has been taken to the smallest units of the counties, allowing Kenyans to take charge of their development initiatives from the grassroot levels through prioritising of their needs.

Delivery of healthcare, rural road infrastructure and provision of clean water has been revolutionalised.

In Kisii county for instance, the upgrading of Kisii General Hospital to a state-of-the-art teaching and referral hospital with well equipped and functional departments from obstetrics and gynaecology, surgery, accident and emergency internal medicine, child health and paediatrics and radiology departments has been a great relief to the residents.

The county government is also set to equip the radiology department with new and modern X-ray machines, CT Scan, ultra-sound machines and the national government will install a magnetic resonance Imaging machine.

These will make Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital a world-class health-care facility, which not only offers healthcare services to the region, but also training for medical students from Kisii University’s College of Health Sciences and other regions. Plans are also underway for the establishment of a cancer diagnostics and treatment centre at the hospital. This unique project will bring specialised services closer to the people and the entire lake and western region.

Since 2013, when the county governments were established, the number of medical doctors, nurses, clinical officers, and other medical personnel to all health facilities across the country have been increased to boost efficient healthcare services to the people. Most of the 47 counties now have a fully equipped ambulance services.

Road Infrastructural development remains a measure of development in every economic set up. Whereas the roads as a function, has not been devolved to counties and it remains largely under the National Government, the county governments have done murram roads to every corner of our villages.

Now, our people are able to access majority of areas with ease even during the rainy seasons. We see not only the murram roads but also tarmac and cabro roads in our urban set ups done by county governments.

Additionally, with little resources county governments have put up ECD classes and deployed teachers, hired tutors in youth polytechnics and supplied villages with clean water.

County governments also continue to identify and partner with local and international investors to explore opportunities that will ultimately lead to creation of more employment, increased markets and value addition all of which will be of immense benefit to the people in the rural areas.

It is clear that counties are better placed than the national government to deliver these social services, because they have local knowledge to address them.

Besides the envisaged improvements in service delivery, people have the opportunity to make decisions themselves rather than following top-down directives from the national government.

Counties now have the means and the mandate to begin to address local challenges, and their citizens are able to hold them accountable for their performance.

Devolution is a great gift that the Kenya people bequeathed themselves and they should guard it jealously.