Influence of Kenya’s Senate on the Devolution Process, 2013-2017
Kachu, Abel Timonah
MetadataShow full item record
The world over, new systems and institutions are meant to achieve that which was not achieved by the already existing ones. The History of devolution and bicameralism in Kenya informs us that both were tried immediately after independence and failed. After the enactment of the Constitution of Kenya (2010), Kenya reverted to a bicameral Parliament with a devolved form of governance; the National Government consisting of the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature (National Assembly and the Senate) and the County Government consisting of the County Assembly and the County Executive. The Senate as conceived in the Constitution of Kenya (2010) article 96 was meant to play a pivotal role in entrenching and strengthening the devolved system of governance. However, many questions have been raised on the effectiveness of the Senate in as far as helping strengthen and entrench a devolved form of Government in Kenya is concerned. The study sought to investigate the measures the Senate (2013-2017) had put in place to guarantee the protection of Counties and their Governments, it also analyzed the contribution of the Senate in strengthening and entrenching a devolved system of governance in Kenya between the years 2013-2017 and finally examined the challenges encountered by the Senate in performing its roles. A descriptive research design was adapted in the study. The study interviewed 25 senators, 120 Members of National Assembly, 56 Members of Nairobi County Assembly, 100 parliamentary staff, 12 government officials and 8 residents of Nairobi County. Theoretically, the study made use of the Structural functionalism theory as advanced by Hebert Spencer and Robert Merton (1896), John Locke’s (1689) representative democracy theory and J.J Rousseau’s (1762) Social contract theory. The study established that the COK (2010) was not clear on the legislative role of the Senate of the republic of Kenya. However, it was revealed that the Senate (2013-2017) enacted legislations aimed at protecting Counties. On the other hand, it was also established that despite the COK (2010) being clear on the Senate’s oversight and representation roles, there were perceptions from the respondents that the Senate did not play these roles as expected. This was majorly attributed to the poor working relationships between the Senate and other arms or levels of Government and the Media. These poor working relationships and the ambiguities in the COK (2010) were also revealed as the major challenges facing the Senate of the republic of Kenya.