29 October 2007

Kenya: Devolution As Defined in Drafts


Nairobi — Both the Wako draft, which was rejected at the referendum and the Bomas draft, which was trashed by the Government have some similarities on the system of devolution, which has sparked controversy.

The two documents are in agreement about the principle of devolution which, to all, means transferring power from the central government to the people.

On the devolution chapter, both documents believe in equitable sharing of national and local resources throughout Kenya. The two also mention the district as an important unit of devolution.

However, the documents differ on application.

The Bomas draft proposes establishment of a two-chamber Parliament, while the Wako draft sticks to one.

The Bomas draft, supported by the two Orange parties, suggests the establishment of the national assembly, comprising 210 constituency MPs, plus nominated legislators and the National Council as the second chamber consisting of 100 members - one from each district elected by its residents and 30 from provinces to represent women interests.

The Wako draft, on the other hand, which was supported by the Banana camp, proposes a one-chamber parliament comprising one elected member from each constituency and one woman elected from each special constituency created for women.

According to the Bomas document, the reason for the establishment of a second chamber is to protect the system of a devolved government among other responsibilities.

The draft proposes four levels of government, namely the central government, regional, district and locational.

Regional governments, the document suggests, shall consist of a regional legislative assembly and a regional executive, same with district and locational.

But the Wako draft proposes a two-tier devolution, that is the central government and the district.

The district government, the draft adds, shall consist of a district assembly and a district council.

The two drafts differ on allocation of power at the district level. While the Wako draft vests legislative authority in the district assembly, the Bomas draft puts it all on the district council.

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