One on One with Casper: Devolution of Power
Posted by Administrator on April 4, 2012
Devolution of power pertains to a federalist system’s ability to the spreading of authority across different levels of government and thus reduces the spread and intensity of conflict (Watts, 1996: Ch. 3; Stewart, 1984:61-62).
The devolution of powers doctrine can be found in chapter eleven of the new Kenyan constitution. One way Watts (1996) states that the three areas where devolution can be examined are legislative decentralization or division of legislative powers at each level of government, administrative decentralization or the assigned administrative responsibilities at each level of government.
Devolving power also helps to reduce conflict that is directed to one sovereign authority by distributing power to several sovereigns, for example, the constituency governments. Devolution of power increases inclusivity.
Baechler (2001) argues that inclusivity of the entire population, elites and non-elites, is essential for peace and development. He argues that devolution of power is a structural approach that aids in attaining peace and development. Every member of the society is included and recognized. Devolution of power also brings governments closer to the people. In the previous system the government was highly inaccessible, but with constituency governments it is easier for the public to petition government. According to the Kenyan Constitution
Chapter Eleven devolution promotes democratic and accountable exercise of power, fosters national unity by recognizing diversity, enhances citizen participation and self-governance, and recognizes communities’ rights to manage their own affairs. Also, it protects and promotes the interests and rights of minorities and marginalized communities, it ensures equitable sharing of national and local resources, it facilitates the decentralization of state organs in their functions and services from the capital of Kenya. In addition, it enhances, checks and balances the separation of powers.
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