complicationsLast month Kenya undertook its most complicated elections ever because, as well as voting for members of parliament and a president, Kenyans were for the first time voting for county governments, as required under the new Constitution. The Constitution provides for 47 county administrations, and 47 new governors have now been sworn in to office. Unsurprisingly, there are substantial financial issues with the new arrangement.

In addition to the logistical issues associated with creating and running new county administrations, there are sure to be many unresolved issues about where the responsibility of the county governments stops and where the responsibility of the central government begins. The central and local governments are supposed to engage on the basis of consultation and co-operation, but it is overly optimistic to assume that co-operation will be the main tenor of interactions.

According to the Constitution, at least 15 percent of national revenues are to be allocated to the counties, but it is estimated that the actual amount will be more than one quarter of revenues. This creates serious financial complications for the country’s treasury, given that revenue collections are well below target and expenditure is well above target for the current year, so that the unfunded budget shortfall is likely to be between 25% and 50%.

Leave a Reply