The opportunities that lay ahead for Lamu County are yet to be fully realised. These possibilities require a unified and robust leadership with strengthened capacity of the County Assembly that is equipped and committed to efficiently addressing the realities of their communities.
Kenya’s constitutional devolution was a structured response to historical non-inclusive systems of governance by successive post-independent governments. Under Article 174 of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, devolution was intended to transfer control from the central to local governments, to empower citizens and enhance their participation in the management of their own affairs.
The Members of County Assembly (MCAs) have a three-fold mandate: to represent their wards in the County Assembly; oversee the County Executive in accordance with the Constitution and the County Government Act (CGA); and to promote accessibility, transparency and participation of the county populations. The MCAs therefore act as the link – a crucial one in a democracy – where they consult and present public concerns to the County Assembly and the County Government.
Civic education on the mandate of MCAs and devolved government units is urgently required. As it stands, MCAs pose the biggest threat to Kenya’s ‘noble’ constitutional devolution project, and intervention is urgently required to ensure that the popular will of the people – devolution – is not subverted to serve the interests of a few political elites.
The time is now to be a part of the solution. To create a movement that will strengthen the capacity of aspiring Members of County Assembly and facilitate leadership for voices that are committed to serve their people - to turn Lamu into the flagship county of good governance.