Devolution in Kenya appears to be a disaster frying in it's fat, after only seven short years, otherwise, for example, the high profile Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) would not currently be ongoing and in full swing. And the tale of woes does not start or end there i.e. with the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). For example:
1. Gov. Martin Wambora of Embu County was impeached in 2014, but survived removal from office, unlike Gov. Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu County and Gov. Mike Sonko Mbuvi of Nairobi County.
What is it that Wambora did that Waititu and Sonko did not do?
Gov. Wambora appealed his impeachment at the Supreme Court of Kenya, and was granted a stay, and it defies logic why Gov. Waititu and Gov. Sonko were not allowed to pursue the same course of action as Gov. Wambora. There is no way that a system that operates on such blatant double standards can be given a "clean bill of health."
A system, any system, is either functional or dysfunctional, and devolution in Kenya so far is glaringly dysfunctional, "a game of chance."
In addition to No. 1 above, there have been way too many impeachments of Governors in Kenya since 2013, a clear sign that devolution in Kenya is in shambles.
Impeachments are nothing to be proud of.
President Richard Nixon of America came close to be being impeached in 1974, but rather than face possible impeachment and a possible criminal trial over the Watergate Scandal after being impeached, President Nixon resigned, and upon resigning, was pardoned by his successor as US President i.e. Nixon's Vice President Gerald Ford.
President Bill Clinton of America was impeached in 1998 but the US Senate, where President Clinton's Democratic Party was in the majority, overruled the impeachment vote by the US House of Representatives.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump was impeached but the US Senate, where President Trump's Republican Party were in the majority, overruled the impeachment vote by the US House of Representatives.
Over 46 years in America therefore, there have been two impeachments, and one near impeachment. In addition to No. 1 above, impeachments in Kenya over the last seven years are as follows:
2. Gov. Nderitu Gachagua (RIP) of Nyeri County was impeached, but survived;
3. Gov. (Prof.) Paul Chepkwony of Kericho County was impeached, but survived;
4. Gov. Francis Mwangi wa Iria of Muranga County was impeached, but survived;
5. Gov. Granton Samboja of Taita Taveta County was impeached, but survived;
6. Gov. Ann Waiguru of Kirinyaga County was impeached, but survived;
7. Gov. Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu County, as mentioned above, was impeached, and his impeachment upheld. Gov. Waititu's successor, Gov. James Nyoro, was recently "threatened" about also being impeached, by Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) of Kiambu County. Gov. James Nyoro of Kiambu County therefore and so far, is like President Richard Nixon of America. President Richard Nixon (RIP) also has other buddies in Kenya, aside from Gov. James Nyoro, when it comes to near impeachment e.g. Gov. Okoth Obado and Gov. Evans Kidero.
8. Gov. Mike Sonko Mbuvi, as also mentioned above, was impeached this past week, and his impeachment upheld;
Related to numbers one to eight above:
9. Gov. Moses Lenonkulal of Samburu County was interdicted at the same time as Governors Ferdinand Waititu and Mike Sonko Mbuvi, but Gov. Lenonkulal has resumed duties as Governor of Samburu County. It appears Gov. Lenonkulal has been spared unlike Governors Waititu and Sonko;
10. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has taken over key functions of revenue collection from the Kiambu County Government, a sign that the Kiambu County Government is in trouble.
In the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, Kiambu County Council (today the Kiambu County Government), was the No. 1 County Council in Kenya, followed closely at No. 2 by Narok County Council (today the Narok County Government), so if the Kiambu County Government is in trouble, just what is the state of the other 46 Counties in Kenya?
11. The Central Kenya Government has taken over four key functions of governance from the Nairobi County Government, including revenue collection.
In addition, current Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, has established a "Parallel Government" in Nairobi County by establishing the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS), headed by Maj. Gen. Mohammed Badi. There are now two centres of power in the County of Nairobi. What sense does this make?
In 1983, then Kenyan President Daniel T. arap Moi dissolved the overwhelmed Nairobi City Council and replaced it with the Nairobi City Commission. The Nairobi City Commission operated from 1983 to 1993, when the Nairobi City Council made a formal comeback.
Why therefore didn't President Uhuru Kenyatta similarly dissolve the Nairobi County Government and replace it with the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS), in an action similar to that taken above by President Daniel T. arap Moi back in 1983?
President Uhuru Kenyatta could not have taken a decision similar to that of President Daniel T. arap Moi because it would have spelt the end of Kenya's short lived and disastrous experiment with devolution i.e. President Uhuru Kenyatta would have been left with no other choice but to similarly dissolve the 46 other County Governments in Kenya, a very practical decision yes, but suicidal politically.
The City of Nairobi is "a country within a country," just like the City of London, is "a country within a country," so if the City of Nairobi/County of Nairobi is in trouble, what about Kenya's other 46 Counties?
12. Polycarp Igathe abruptly resigned as the Deputy Governor of Nairobi County in 2017. The County of Nairobi has been without a Deputy Governor for three years now.
How did this happen, and how did this escape the "oversight" of the Kenya Senate? The Kenya Senate was quick to impeach Gov. Mike Mbuvi Sonko, but not to note the absence of a Deputy Governor in Nairobi County over a period of three years.
There was a smooth transfer of power from Governor to Deputy Governor in Nyeri County following the demise of Gov. Nderitu Gachagua (RIP). There was a smooth transfer of power from Governor to Deputy Governor in Bomet County following the demise of Gov. Joyce Laboso (RIP), there is an ongoing smooth transfer of power in Nyamira County following the demise of Gov. John Nyagarama (RIP), and there was a smooth transfer of power from Governor to Deputy Governor in Kiambu County following the impeachment of Gov. Ferdinand Waititu.
Gov. Mike Sonko Mbuvi of Nairobi County has just been impeached, Nairobi County, as mentioned, has not had a Deputy Governor since 2017, the Speaker of the Nairobi County Assembly has just "seized power" as Acting Governor of Nairobi County in little more than a "Palace Coup," and the County of Nairobi is due to hold a high profile, expensive, wasteful and totally unnecessary by-election in February 2021 to elect a new Governor and Deputy Governor of Nairobi County. Happy New Year 2021.
Additionally, between 2013 and 2017, there were citizen petitions to dissolve the County Governments of Isiolo, Kiambu, Makueni and Kisumu.
Those of Isiolo, Kiambu and Kisumu lost steam and fizzled out midway. The Makueni County citizens petition was however upheld and endorsed by a vote by the Makueni County Assembly, following the collection of requisite signatures from all across Makueni County. President Uhuru Kenyatta thereafter appointed a Commission headed by lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga, to visit Makueni County and establish whether it was indeed the wish of the people of Makueni County that the Makueni County Government be dissolved. The people of Makueni confirmed this to the Mohammed Nyaoga led Commission.
President Uhuru Kenyatta nevertheless overruled Mohammed Nyaoga and his Commission, and the Makueni County Government survived being dissolved. President Uhuru Kenyatta was no doubt concerned that if he upheld the dissolution of the Makueni County Government, numerous other Counties in Kenya, possibly all the remaining 46 Counties in Kenya, would similarly express the wish that their County Governments be dissolved.
It is no secret that devolution in Kenya has been buying time right from inception in 2013, and should not have been allowed to take root in the first place.
During the Daniel T. arap Moi presidency in Kenya of 1978 to 2002, was unveiled what was referred to as Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 i.e. "District Focus for Rural Development." Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 i.e. "District Focus for Rural Development" was actually devolution by another name, and made strides, even though funding for Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 i.e. "District Focus for Rural Development," was stopped in 1990.
A good number of facilities currently in use in Kenya's current 47 Counties were actually constructed courtesy of the epic Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 i.e. "District Focus for Rural Development."
Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 i.e. "District Focus for Rural Development," came into effect as a result of an Act of Parliament, and not by way of a referendum, a New Constitution, or Building Buildings Initiative (BBI), Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 i.e. "District Focus for Rural Development" is still supporting many corners of Kenya after 34 years, meaning that change can come to Kenya without the drama, expense and razzmatazz of either a referendum, devolution, a New Constitution or Building Buildings Initiative (BBI).