Pastoralists communities occupy 80% of arid and semi arid areas (ASALs) in Kenya. Majority of them practice livestock keeping and agro-pastoralism.
The Kenyan government promulgated a new constitution in the year 2010. Chapter eleven of the Kenyan constitution provides for devolved Government. The establishment of the senate by the constitution gives a legislative backup for devolution. It ensures that the senate shall protect devolution.
The county government under the new constitution will enhance the development among the pastoralist communities in Kenya. Initially, national resources were managed at national level but with devolution, the resources will be managed from the county level and this will give power to the local communities to be in charge of their own resources.
The devolved government will also give powers of self governance to the people and thus enhance participation of the local communities in making decisions on issues that affects them. For many decades, decisions were made at the national level which has led to increased marginalization and neglect of pastoralist communities. A little has also been done to involve the pastoralist communities in the policy making processes. This has led to formulation of policies which have excluded the pastoralist livelihoods as a viable way of life. With devolution therefore marginalized groups will get an opportunity to engage fully in the development issues in their respective counties.
The objects of devolve governance is therefore to give powers of self governance to people and enhance participation of the people in the exercise of the powers of the state and in making decisions affecting them. It will also recognize the rights of communities to manage their own affairs and to promote and protect the interests and the right of marginalized and minority groups.
Devolution will also help the local communities to ensure equitable sharing of national and local resources. This will enable the people at the grassroots to monitor service delivery effectively. The communities will also be able to control their source of revenue and monitor their development effectively.
Devolution also ensures gender equity. The constitution stipulates that not more than two-thirds of the members of any county assembly or county executive shall be of the same gender. This gives room for the pastoralist women to be considered in both local and national appointments either through competitive processes or by taking affirmative action.
Bringing resources and governance closer to the people will promote development in the country. Access to resources and control over these resources will help local communities to plan and manage their development effectively. Social amenities such as schools, health centre, markets, infrastructure, and communication among others will be established thus leading to improved living standards of the local communities.
Devolution provides opportunities for pastoralist to develop pro-pastoralist interventions and responses strengthen the role of traditional institution in governance and speed up conflict and disaster responses. With all these opportunities available, it’s the responsibility of pastoralist communities to take up these tasks and build a better tomorrow for themselves. The local communities should also be vigilante to ensure the challenges which comes with devolution does not hinder their development plans. These fundamental challenges and issues include clanism/tribalism and negative political dynamics at the national level.