One of the critical features of Constitution of Kenya 2010 is creation of devolved cooperative system of governance dismantling the oppressive skewed centralized government the country has had since 1964. The goal of this system of governance is to establish a developmental state.
Devolved governance system of government is obliged to : offer democratic leadership and governance; address responsiveness and accountability concerns to communities; deliver high quality and effective financial management practice and quality services; provide skilled human resource capital to ensure professional administrations, and positive relations between labour, management and people; and fulfill legal requirements to ensure the active participation of communities in local government processes.
Over the past few decades, three shifts in development dialogue have taken place. From economic growth to human and sustainable development with the participation of all segments of the society, from centralization to decentralization to localize the delivery of and access to services, and from government to democratic governance to provide institutional mechanisms for the engagements of the three sets of actors those from the government, civil society and the private sector. Due to this paradigm shift there is now more focus on local governance democracy. It is based on the recognition that governance should be both democratic and effective at both national and local levels.
Democratic devolved governance provides an institutional framework through which groups and individuals at multiple levels can organize themselves and participate in making decisions affecting them. It helps the development of democratic values and skills among citizens. It allows for greater representation of various political, religious, social and ethnic groups. This enhances active participation of local citizens and, consequently, political legitimacy of the government and national integration
Democratic devolved governance is, thus, based on principles of new thinking in development (sustainability, equity, poverty alleviation and inclusion), democratic governance (representation, participation, accountability, transparency, access and rule of law), and decentralization (devolution, civil society engagement, and local partnerships).
It is anticipated that democratic local governance would play central role in addressing inequalities, exclusion and accountability . The importance to development of good governance and institutions that guarantee the rule of law, and open and accountable government would be included
The purpose of this platform is:
- Interrogate and engage the effectiveness of democratic devolved governance reforms and change processes in our counties
- Promote the sharing of experiences and devolved governance innovations in our counties
- Identify factors and policies that influence the quality of devolved governance democracy, human rights, rule of law and social justice