The Taskforce on Devolved Government advised that devolved governance be implemented in three major phases. Phase One was proposed to take place before the 2013 General Election. It was proposed to comprise decisions on staffing, assets, budgets, data and civic education in order to ensure continuity of service delivery in the transition phase. Phase Two, planned to take place after the general elections, and was to comprise assumption of office; institutional capacity building; asset divestitures to the new County Governments; staff redeployments; transfer of powers and functions; monitoring and re-adjustment; and continuing civic education necessary to smoothly implement the new system of governance. Phase Three would be implemented after the first two phases and would comprise further assignment and transfer of functions; capacity building and support for county governments; and development and coordination of policies between the national and county governments. Work in all the three phases was to be overseen by the now defunct Transition Authority (TA), established to midwife the transition to devolved governance.
The defunct CIC had the duty, amongst others, of monitoring the implementation of the system of devolved governance by ensuring that all the laws enacted conformed to the Constitution. CIC’s other responsibilities, such as providing guidance on law making, have been transferred to other government agencies like the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC). This is as it should be, given that the constitutional transition required organs and entities that would deliver change within a given transitional period.
In terms of a legal framework, the Intergovernmental Relations Act of 2012 is the enabling legislation for the work of IGRTC. In addition to this Act, Parliament has enacted six key laws that give effect to a devolved system of governance to facilitate the implementation of devolution. These are the County Governments Act of 2012; the Public Finance Management Act of 2012; the Transition to Devolved Government Act of 2012; the Urban Areas and Cities Act of 2011; the National Government Coordination Act of 2013; and, more recently, the National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act of 2015. All of these laws together provide the architecture and legal framework for devolution and intergovernmental relations in Kenya.
On the policy front, the Draft Sessional Paper on the Devolved System of Government that was developed by the Ministry of Local Government with input from the Taskforce on Devolved Government is still undergoing consultations under the leadership of the Team on Devolution Policy. When complete, and adopted by Parliament, it will provide the necessary policy framework for successful implementation of devolved government. IGRTC is involved in these consultations and will be a critical institution in the implementation of the resultant Policy going forward.
Successful implementation of devolved government is at the core of Kenya’s quest for development in the years to come. Devolution is at the heart of Kenya’s future progress, both economically and socially. First, the new county governments, in cooperation with the National Government, are intended to promote the country’s economic development through county-based investments whose cumulative economic contribution has national effects. Secondly, by delivering services within their assigned functions, the county governments are a critical part of the country’s framework for social development. Harmonious intergovernmental relations, and successful transition to devolved governance, will therefore provide the enabling environment and institutional cooperation for the country as a whole to reap a “devolution dividend” from this new system of government.
Kenya’s national development agenda is encapsulated in the Country’s long-term development blueprint, Kenya Vision 2030. Its over-arching vision is a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. Its strategy is hinged on three pillars, each with a goal. The goal of the economic pillar is to maintain a sustained economic growth of 10% per annum over the next 25 years. The social pillar aims for a just and cohesive society enjoying equitable social development in a clean and secure environment. The political pillar’s goal is issue-based, people-centered, result-oriented, and accountable democratic political system. Kenya Vision 2030 has, in turn, been translated into 5-year medium term plans to guide its implementation. Detailed sector plans drive development activity, whose funding is mobilized through the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). MTEF is intended to ensure effective linkages between policy, planning and budgeting. The fact that the country’s development is county-based brings to the fore the importance of harmonious intergovernmental relations, since absence of harmonious intergovernmental relations would hamper the achievement of development goals.
The Intergovernmental Relations Act of 2012 states that the IGRTC shall:
- be responsible for the day to day administration of the Summit and of the Council and in particular –
- facilitate the activities of the Summit and of the Council; and
- implement the decisions of the Summit and of the Council;
- take over the residual functions of the transition entity established under the law relating to transition to devolved government after dissolution of such entity;
- convene a meeting of the forty-seven County Secretaries within thirty days preceding every Summit meeting; and
- perform any other function as may be conferred on it by the Summit, the Council, this Act or any other legislation.
In order to understand the mandate of IGRTC, it is important to remember that Kenya’s new system of devolved government creates two distinct and inter-dependent levels of government, the National and County Governments, with constitutionally assigned functions and powers defined in the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution. The President and the Cabinet are responsible for the discharge of the functions assigned to the National Government by the Constitution, while Parliament (Senate and National Assembly) and the Judiciary are shared national institutions. The Governors and their Executive Committees are responsible for their discharge of functions assigned to the County Governments by the Constitution, while the County Assemblies are vested with the legislative authority of the respective counties.
The two levels of government are required by article 6(2) of the Constitution to conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation. This is the constitutional foundation for harmonious IGR, which the IGRTC is established to promote and facilitate. In this respect, the Intergovernmental Relations Act of 2012 created a tripartite structure comprising the Summit, COG and IGRTC
At the apex of the country’s framework for IGR is the Summit. It comprises the President, the Deputy President and the 47 Governors. The President (or, in his absence, the Deputy President) is the Chairperson and the Chairperson of the Council of Governors is the Vice-Chairperson of the Summit. The Summit, which is required to meet at least twice every year, provides a forum for consultation and cooperation between the National Governments and County Governments on all matters related to their respective mandates. In this respect, it considers reports from other intergovernmental forums; evaluates the performance of the national and county governments; receives reports; monitors the implementation of national and county government development plans; considers IGR issues referred to it by the public; coordinates and harmonizes the development of national and county government policies; and facilitates and coordinates the transfer of functions, powers or competencies.
National harmony and cohesion through effective intergovernmental relations.
To support successful devolution through cooperative, consultative and coordinated intergovernmental relations.
The following core values guide the IGRTC in the discharge of its mandate and interactions with its internal and external stakeholders:
- Professionalism: IGRTC members and staff will be guided by the Constitution, the law and administrative competence in the delivery of services to the institution’s key stakeholders. The institution will place a premium on delivering outputs that are technically sound.
- Accountability: IGRTC will be primarily accountable to the Summit and the Council of Governors. As a public entity, it will ultimately be accountable to the Kenyan people through the relevant oversight institutions and the appropriate forms of public participation in its programmes.
- Impartiality: IGRTC members and staff will provide unbiased services, including advice to the Summit and the Council of Governors.
- Transparency: IGRTC will conduct its affairs openly and grant oversight institutions the access to information that they require to hold it to account to the Kenyan people.
- Integrity: IGRTC will conduct all its affairs above board and will, amongst others, enforce a policy of zero tolerance to corruption. It will comply with integrity requirements in the public service.