By, Immaculate Mueni Mutua, masinga central ward, masinga subcounty resident.

Civic Awareness1, Devolution 411:

During a countrywide needs assessment exercise conducted by a consortium of paralegals before the onset of the promulgation of Constitution of Kenya 2010, it was discovered that most Kenyans lack the suitable information that can help them realize and actualize their development agendas as well as understanding the import of the new constitutional dispensation. After collecting and collating the needs of the different county stakeholders, and ranking them scientifically, Lack of Information came out as priority number one followed by Poor Leadership in all spheres of governance and development administration.

Using Machakos as a case study, I wish to take my fb-followers through the first Priority which is Poor Information Sharing, that is mostly referred to as Lack of CIVIC EDUCATION. I shall be basing my awareness creation on the CONSTITUTION 2010 Chapter 11 on DEVOLUTION.
For my fb-followers that are from other counties, please replace the term MACHAKOS COUNTY with your respective county, for a better understanding.

“Machakos County has a population of 1,098,584 people occupying an area of 5,942.90 square kilometers. There are 8 Constituencies and 40 wards.

Why Machakos County Government?
The constitution passed by the people of Kenya in 2010 abolishes the coordination and public administration through seven vertical layers and the local authorities to two separate and interdependent governments – The National Government and the County Governments. There are 47 County Governments in the whole country. Machakos is one of them. The reason for establishing county governments is to;
• Give powers of self governance to the people of Machakos
• Enhance participation of the people of Machakos on matters that affect them
• Recognize the right of the people of Machakos to manage their own affairs
• Promote social economic development through closer and accessible services to the people of Machakos
• Ensure that national cake is well shared and reaches out to all including Machakos
• Enhance closer scrutiny and monitoring of the government by the people.

Machakos county government is to provide the following services.
• Make laws applicable to Machakos only.
• Implement national policies and legislations in Machakos.
• Formulate, make and approve County policies.
• Apply national standards in county services.
• Provide County Services;
– Agriculture
– Livestock and veterinary services
– Fisheries.
– Health services,
– County roads,
– Cooperative societies.
– County planning and development
– refuse and waste management
Control of pollution
– cultural activities, public entertainment and public amenities
– County parks, beaches and recreation facilities.
– County transport, including—
street lighting;
traffic and parking;
public road transport;
Ferries and harbors
– Trade development and regulation,
trade licenses
– Local tourism; and
– Pre-primary education, village polytechnics, home craft centers and childcare facilities.
– County public works and services,
– Fire fighting services and disaster management.
– Control of drugs and pornography.”

Having realized that most citizens are not aware of their civic duties in the county and a how the system works, taking Machakos as the case study, Karibuni:
“How the Machakos County Government works.
In order for the County government to perform the listed functions, the law has created county institutions and has also allowed some national institutions to carry out certain functions across the governments.
The County government has its own parliament called County Assembly and its own Executive Institutions.

Machakos County Assembly
The County Assembly is the Machakos Parliament. It will
• make laws to govern public service provision inMachakos.
• oversee the county executive organs.
• receive and approve plans and policies for the County.
• approve executive appointments i.e. county cabinet, town committees, etc
• approve County budgets.
• approve borrowing by County Governments before the same is guaranteed by the National Government.
Composition of Machakos Assembly.
Composition of Machakos Assembly.
1 Speaker
40 elected ward representatives
Up to 13 female or male representatives if not elected in the 40 above
4 youth
4 disability representatives.
2 from minority/marginalized

Machakos Assembly will have a maximum of 63 members or a minimum 50 members depending on the possible variation in the number representing gender. Gender representatives, the youth and disabled representatives are nominated by political parties through party lists presented to IEBC before the elections date. The Speaker is elected by the County Assembly Members from applicants who are not themselves members of the Assembly.

Qualifications required of all the Members.
• Compliance with leadership requirements in the constitution i.e. honest, selfless, patriotic, accountable, disciplined, committed, competent, suitable, impartial, not corrupt, good manners, etc
• Has certificate or diploma or degree besides secondary certificate from a recognized institution by the government.
• Has moral and ethical standing in the society.
• Is of sound mind
• Has not been judged bankrupt
• Has not misused or abused public office before.
• Is a registered voter

County Assembly members are not Councilors. They are like MPs only that their electoral areas are smaller. They have a bigger responsibility as listed above including checking on the potential excesses of the executive under the Governor.”

Watch out for part 3 & 4
@MueniMutua is a Resident of Masinga Sub-County, Central ward