Home Institution

University of South Carolina

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Kenya: Urbanization, Health, and Human Rights


In 2010, Kenya introduced a new constitution and with it the introduction of the concept of a decentralized government. The devolved system of government was implemented in 2013 and granted each of the 47 counties in Kenya, such as Kisumu County, greater autonomy, resources and ability to serve its people. This study aims to compile a thorough understanding of people’s perception on how devolution has impacted transparency, accountability and service delivery of the government of Kisumu County, Kenya within its five years.

The study is comprised of a series of interviews on the premises of the Kisumu County Assembly with members of Kisumu County’s legislature as well as focus groups discussions in each of its seven sub counties. The study elucidates that although government leaders and citizens have a mutual understanding of the needs of Kisumu County there is still a large disconnect in expectations from citizens and representatives toward how to solve them. The study also reveals that many of the forms of communication government leaders rely on to disseminate information to their constituencies are not the most convenient or preferred methods for citizens. Above all, this study shows that all constituents and government leaders believe corruption is a big issue in Kenya, one that takes many more mechanisms than devolution alone, such as civic education and responsible governance, to eradicate. Ultimately, it is concluded that devolution has been an unprecedented tool in granting services to Kisumu County’s people. There are, however, still many more ways its structures and practices must be improved before it reaches its full potential.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Constitutional Law | Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Public Policy | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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