County Governance Watch (CGW) is a not-for-profit organization in Kenya. It is an active convener in governance, development and social transformation in Kenya.

With devolved governments in place, CGW has actively participated in matters championing for good governance, inclusivity, participation and implementation of important processes.

CGW has also been a key stakeholder in devolution conferences as a campaigner of good governance and accountability participating in the just concluded 5th Annual Devolution Conference event held in Kakamega in the April 2018.

Role of Civil Society in Devolution

The Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) have been part of the processes that rally the public to participate in important issues in the country.

They play a major role in reaching out to people in the grassroots in mobilizing them to participate in processes that affect their lives.

CGW held a Post Devolution Conference in Nairobi to bring stakeholders together to discuss on how best the CSO’s can relate and work with counties to ensure devolution works.

The conference:

  • Opened up space for stakeholders to reflect, consult, collaborate, and cooperate in all manners related to devolution and CSO role.
  • Allowed sharing of experiences, challenges and lessons learnt in the last four (4) years of devolved governance and set targets for the next five (5) years.
  • Also reviewed the outcomes of the 2018 Devolution conference and provided a platform for participants to identify opportunities for partnerships and engagements.
  • Highlighted on the progress on the Implementation of the Outcomes of the 1st-4th Devolution conference
  • Looked at mechanisms to enhance good governance and accountability
  • Also discussed the role of civil society in enhancing good governance and accountability through public participation including Budget Making process and County Revenue Allocation

Chief Guest speaker Swiss Ambassador to Kenya Ralf Heckner lauded the event pointing out its timely nature where Kenyans should reflect on the gains of devolution and whether they have benefited since its inception.

Heckner, stated that for devolution to even work better, its important to allow public participation, “but however professional and accountable the administrative structure may be, it will not have desired impact on the lives of the ordinary people in the County if the system does not listen to the people to find out what they want and need the most”.

The ambassador stressed on the importance of professionalism saying that good governance will work well where there is an accountable administration.

“Creating an accountable administration with professional employees enables diversity. If you want to have an accountable administration go for screening of employees. It important that this diversity lives. Diversity is key for a creative administration”.

Makueni County gave an insight on how they have been able to involve people into their meetings which translated to success.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Education and ICT Dr Naomi Makau, Professor Kivutha Kibwana said Makueni County has provided space for civil society representation in their developmental committees from the village to the county level.

He pointed out that the civil society includes groups that are organized around the well-being and betterment of the human condition.

“These groups are actively involved in participatory budgeting processes and influencing decision making and action at the county including the design of policies and regulations in monitoring and supervising the implementation of government projects and policies”, says Kibwana

Prof Kibwana was rated amongst the best performing governors by PittPoll, a polling firm ahead of the 5th Annual Devolution Conference 2018 that was held in Kakamega.

County Governance Index Report

Corruption is one of the major vices ailing our country according to former speaker of the senate Ekwe Ethuro who spoke at the County Governance Watch Civil Society Organisations Post DEVCON Reflection Forum 2018.

Corruption is so big that you cannot accuse somebody even when the anti graft body have not exhausted investigations. Accusing somebody without concrete evidence is unfair also. If you want to fight corruption, do so with concrete evidence that will allow conviction“.

At the event Ethuro launched the County Governance Index (CGI) “STATE OF DEVOLVED GOVERNANCE IN KENYA”Report.

Ethuro said the survey opens up discussions and gives a reflection of how we are doing as a country.

CGI is a survey that was carried out by County Governance Watch in September 2017 as an assessment of county governance performance in half of the 47 counties in Kenya.

According to County Governance Watch Programmes Manager Rapudo Hawi, the objective of the research was to provide measurement of the levels of service delivery as perceived by citizens on various counties and increased county performance, including challenges.

Hawi said the survey methodology employed online questionnaires and telephone interviews which saw 600 people participate. Out of that, 552 responses were verified which translated to 88% response.

The survey polled on service delivery, corruption and performance.

Under service delivery, the health sector, education, agriculture polled moderately with 108 (20%), 151 (27%) and 143 (26%) of respondents respectively.

However, majority of respondents feel that provision of water services is poorly done rating at 145 (26%) poorly and 109 (20%) very poor.

Citizens are keen on performance of the counties and rated them looking at leadership, corruption, traffic, housing, planning, insecurity, pollution e.t.c. Nairobi County was mentioned as amongst the least performing at (21.2%), Siaya (17%), Turkana (11.4%), Garissa (7.8%), Kisumu (5.4%) Migori (3.8%), Mombasa (3.4%), Nyamira (3.3%) and Kajiado (3.1%)

The respondent’s recommendations included:

  • A majority of the respondents prioritize public participation where citizens are given a chance to give their opinion on development issues
  • There is need to improve county infrastructure including road networks, provision of access to safe drinking water, invest in agricultural sector
  • Improve security by uniting people, come with connector projects
  • Strengthen the anti-graft body with strong mechanisms to curb corruption in counties
  • Employ professionals with more focus given to young people
  • Create better waste management and disposal areas
  • Government to employ stringent auditing measures in use of funds allocated to counties.
  • Civic education to be done frequently in the villages to help the public understand better devolution and roles of various leaders in the counties