A delegation from Zimbabwe and the International Co-operation Agency of the Association of Netherlands municipalities, visited the Commission on Revenue Allocation to undertake a study on how devolution is being implemented.
The delegation was led by Erica Jones from the Ministry of Local Government and Christopher Shumba from the Ministry of Rural Development. Also in the delegation were mayors, chair persons of rural councils, town clerks, chief executive officers, project officers among others. From Kenya, CRA commissioners led by Chairman Micah Cheserem and George Ooko the chief executive officer, Auditor General Edward Ouko, former Transition Authority chairperson Kinuthia Wamwangi were also present.
Christopher Shumba, makes remarks at the meeting between a delegation from Zimbabwe and CRA commissioners. Looking on are Erica Jones from the Ministry of Local Government in Zimbabwe, Edward Ouko, the Auditor General Kenya and Micah Cheresem, chairman CRA.
The specific objective of the visit was for the Zimbabwe delegation to learn from Kenya on how devolution is being implemented while also appreciating the challenges being faced. The delegation also sought to find out innovative approaches to citizen participation in public policy making, participatory planning and budgeting. Discussions focusing on national and county structures regarding funding, supervision and monitoring were also held.
Some of the participants from Zimbabwe and Kenya at the meeting.
Some of the similarities drawn from the two countries include the fact that the both constitutions are fairly new with the Zimbabwe constitution having been adopted in 2013 and the Kenyan one in 2010. The two delegations noted that development of both Constitutions was very participatory. The Zimbabwean Constitution further established National government, ten provinces (which are yet to become operational) and local governments. Local governments are operationalized through the establishment of 32 urban centres led by mayors and 60 rural centres led by chairpersons. This is similar to national government and 47 county governments established by the Constitution in Kenya.
Local governments in Zimbabwe are expected to provide services in areas such as housing, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, health, transport and communication infrastructure with a view to facilitating equitable and sustainable locally led economic development. This is similar to devolved functions that county governments in Kenya are expected to undertake namely health, water, agriculture, county roads, county planning and development, early childhood education, vocational training among others.
A major deviation for the two countries regarding devolved government is in the area of finances. Central government in Zimbabwe, is required by the Constitution to give 5% of the revenue it generates annually to local authorities. However, the minimum provided by the Kenyan Constitution is 15% of revenue collected nationally by national government to be shared to county governments. Local governments in Zimbabwe further receive additional funding to support water and sewer services, housing development and road maintenance.
Oversight of the operations of local authorities is vested in the Ministries of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage and that of Local Government Public Works and National Housing. In Kenya, oversight of county governments is undertaken by the county assemblies as well as Senate.
Chairman CRA, Micah Cheserem thanked the delegates for the knowledge and experiences shared.