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Counties need reforms

Tuesday January 21 2020

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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The consensus that has emerged from the mounting frustrations over the numerous problems suffocating Nairobi is that the current county system may not be the answer.

Some have suggested that the city be run as a ministry under the national government to free it from the political shenanigans that continue to bedevil it.

But others feel that this would be a setback in the efforts to democratise the country, which was envisaged in the introduction of the devolved system of governance.

Another emerging body of thought is that Nairobi would be better off if it were run as a parastatal of an independent corporation.

The debate is not going away any time soon and it points to a crisis of unfulfilled expectations.

These ideas call for serious reflection on how to reorganise and unleash the momentum to exploit the vast latent potential in the city county.

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IMPROVEMENT

The counties had been touted as the magic bullet for the problems of skewed development experienced since independence.

Of course, it’s true that the establishment of the 47 devolved units has seen a substantive transfer of resources from the centre to the grassroots.

In the counties where the leaders have committed themselves to making a difference, there are encouraging signs.

Nairobi had started to show signs of improvement, but revenue collection is now down to Sh10 billion from Sh12 billion during the first administration.

Services and amenities have deteriorated, the hawker menace persists, most roads are impassable and the drainage is largely pathetic. Water is scarce and crime rampant.

The politicians running the city have proved more adept at needless fights and corruption than delivering services.

The reforms through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) should also look into how to make counties more viable and efficient.

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