Effect of Decentralization Frameworks on Service Delivery in Devolved Governments of Kenya

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2019

80 Pages, Grade: B









1.1 Background of the Study
1.1.1 Global perspectives of decentralization frameworks
1.1.2 Regional perspectives of decentralization frameworks
1.1.3 Local perspective of decentralization frameworks
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.3.1 General Objective
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
1.4 Research Hypotheses
1.5 Justification of the Study
1.6 Scope of the Study

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Theoretical Review
2.2.1 The Soufflé Theory of Decentralization
2.2.2 The Social Capital Theory
2.2.3 The Principal Agent Theory
2.2.4 The Accountability Theory
2.3 Conceptual Framework
2.3.1 Political Framework
2.3.2 Fiscal Framework
2.3.3 Administrative Framework
2.3.4 Economic Framework
2.3.5. Regulatory Framework
2.3.6. Service delivery
2.4 Empirical Review
2.4.1. Political Framework
2.4.2. Administrative Framework
2.4.3. Fiscal Framework
2.4.4. Economic Framework
2.5. A Critique of Existing Literature Relevant to the Study
2.6. Summary of Literature Reviewed
2.7. Research Gaps

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Design
3.2.1 Research Philosophy
3.3 Target Population
3.4 Sample Size and Sampling Techniques
3.4.1. Sampling Frame
3.4.2. Sample and Sampling Techniques
3.5 Data Research Instruments
3.6 Data Collection Procedure
3.7. Pilot Study
3.7.1 Validity of Research Instrument
3.7.2. Reliability of Research Instrument
3.8. Summary of measure of study variables
3.9. Data Analysis and Presentation
3.9.1. Factor Analysis
3.9.2. Normality Test
3.9.3. Multicollinearity
3.9.4 Autocorrelation
3.9.5. Statistical Modelling
3.9.6. Confidence Levels for Statistical Testing
3.9.7. Moderated Multiple Regression Models


Appendix I:Introduction Letter to Respondents
Appendix II: Research Questionnaire
Appendix III: Work Plan
Appendix IV: Budget


I take this opportunity to give thanks to my wife Joyce Mulwa and my daughters Anita Mwende, Diana Mutheu and Stephanie Ngina for their patience and moral support, which they have given me all through. I also take this opportunity to thank my supervisors Professor Gichuhi Waititu and Dr Karanja Kabare for their guidance and coaching throughout the proposal writing stage. Others who have been of great help are my sisters Lucia, Hellen and Mumbi. I will not also forget my brother in law Chris Kituto.


Figure 2.1 The Soufflé Theory of Decentralization

Figure 2.2: Conceptual Framework

Figure 2.3. The Social Accountability Framework

Table 3.1: Population of the Study (Unit of Analysis)

Table 3.2: Sample Size Distribution

Table 3.4. Summary of measure of study variables


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Administrative Decentralization - This refers to a transfer of power to lower-level central government authorities, or to other local authorities who are upwardly accountable to the central government. This means shifting responsibilities from central government officials in the capital city, to those working in regions, provinces, and districts (Fritzen & Lim, 2006).

Decentralization - Decentralization is a complex multifaceted system, which refers to the transfer of power, authority and accountability to local governments, semi autonomous public institutions or regions. It is increasingly being favored as the most suitable mode of governance through which poverty reduction interventions can be conceived, planned, implemented, monitored and evaluated (White, 2011).

Decentralization frameworks –These refer to the various forms of decentralization designs and can be political, fiscal or administrative. These typologies of decentralization depend on the amount of power, functions and resources transferred from the central government to the local governments. These different forms of decentralization have different characteristics, policy implications and conditions for success (White, 2011).

Delegation -Delegation is a more extensive form of decentralization. In which central governments transfer responsibility for decision making and administration of public functions to semi-autonomous organizations not wholly controlled by the central government, but ultimately accountable to it (Fritzen and Lim, 2006).

Devolution - Devolution is associated with political decentralization as it entails the transfer of authority for decision-making, finance, and management to semi autonomous units of local government. It usually transfers responsibilities for services to municipalities that elect their own mayors and councils, raise their own revenues, and have independent authority to make investment decisions (Fritzen and Lim, 2006).

Fiscal Decentralization -This is the process of transferring budgetary authority to the local authorities. It entails yearly allocation of resources to the devolved areas and authority to manage as per their priorities as deemed necessary. Part of this authority lies in raising its own revenue, borrowing and other related service charges, taxes and contributions (Bonfiglioli, 2003).

Political Decentralization -This refers to the process of giving citizens more power to influence public decision - making and the formulation and implementation of policies through elected leaders. This includes coming up with structures to improve people’s participation in local political processes hence providing a mechanism of checks and balances (Sutiyo, 2014).

Soufflé theory –This is a theory of decentralization developed from the idea of a soufflé that requires just the right combination of milk, eggs, and heat to rise. Hence a successful program of decentralization must include just the right combination of political, fiscal, and institutional elements to improve rural development outcomes (Parker, 1995).

The Social Capital Theory – These are the norms and networks that enable people to act collectively. Iit refers to the institutions, relationships and norms that shape the quality and quantity of society’s social interactions (Grootaert & Bastelaer, 2011).


This study aims at analyzing the effect of decentralization frameworks on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya. Devolution as a system of governance was introduced after the promulgation of the new constitution in 2010. Since then, both levels of governments have been working hard in order to implement all the new structures required for the operationalization of the new system. The statement of the problem shows that the process of implementation has faced many bottlenecks at the political, administrative and fiscal levels hence curtailing the speed of implementation and service delivery as detailed in the literature review. The research objectives have brought out the variables under the study as: to determine the effect of fiscal decentralization framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya; to examine the effect of political decentralization framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya; to investigate the effects of administrative decentralization framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya, investigate the effects of economic decentralization framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya to establish the moderating influence of regulatory frameworks on political, fiscal and administrative decentralization and service delivery in Kenya. The study will be undertaken in 14 counties covering all the main regions of Kenya. Several theories have been explored linked to the various variables considered under the study. These are: The Soufflé theory, The social capital theory, The principal Agent theory and finally the Accountability theory. Ultimately the soufflé theory is chosen as being more responsive to the study’s variables as it gives the best explanation on linkages between various variables of decentralization and how they are related to the outcomes i.e. service delivery. The conceptual framework outlines the independent variables, as administrative, political and fiscal decentralization while the dependent variable is service delivery. The moderating variable is the regulatory framework. Data will be collected by the use of a questionnaire. The quantitative data will be captured with the help of a likert scale while the qualitative data will be captured with open- ended questions at the end of each variable. Data analysis will be done by both qualitative and quantitative methods, as both types of data will have been collected. Quantitative data will be analyzed by use of the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS).



1.1 Background of the Study

By the early 1980s increasing international trade and investment; growing economic, social, and political interaction across national borders expanded the concept of governance to include not only government but also other societal institutions, including the private sector and civil associations. The public sector has undergone drastic changes over the last two centuries hence to be able to deliver social goods and services more effectively and efficiently. Leadership through good governance has strengthened the public sector in Africa to support equitable development, participatory governance and ultimately poverty reduction (Ali, 2004; Ekpo, 2007; Ribot, 2002).

Public service management has also undergone a lot of changes in the last two decades owing to the changed role of the state and growing demands for good governance globally. As a result the New Public Management (NPM) paradigm is geared toward enhancing efficiency, productivity, improved service delivery and accountability. It emphasizes a result-orientation as opposed to the process-orientation of traditional public administration (Dzimbiri, 2008).

In the second-half of the twentieth century, practically every developing country has experimented with some form of decentralization or local government reform with varying aims and outcomes. The failure of the centralized system for over half a century without tangible results has led to the renewed focus on decentralization. Centralization meant that national government bureaucrats allocated resources for local services, which did not reflect local preferences, and in some cases some regions would get completely neglected (White, 2011; Junaid et al, 2005).

Modern development practitioners and researchers have advanced the notion that decentralization leads to improved governance i.e. increased opportunity for political competition, improved public accountability and reduced political instability. It helps impose incentive compatible limits on government power. Globalization policies, the growing role of market and civil society decisions regarding provision of public services has enhanced all this (Faguet, 2014).

Decentralization as a new governance system has played a key role in restructuring the state to give more power to local governments and empower the citizens to participate in the governance structures of their local areas. Literature review shows that over the last two decades many countries in the world have embraced decentralization in regions as diverse as the newly independent states of Eastern Europe, Africa, South America and South East Asia. The process of implementation has however not been as smooth as envisaged and most of these countries have had many pitfalls along the way (Naidoo, 2002). Current trends show that in order to empower rural communities to fight poverty effectively, fiscal, political and administrative decentralization should be implemented simultaneously. There is however no conclusive evidence to show that decentralization would to lead uniformly to poverty reduction in all countries. But it would be more successful in countries that have the political will to move it forward (Jutting et al. 2007).

Decentralization transfers authority and responsibility of major government functions from central to local governments. In some cases this authority is transferred to the civil society and the private sector. At the local level, citizens are empowered to be able to demand for better services from public officials. The principle of subsidiarity is commonly used to guide decentralization process. This means that public sector functions should be undertaken at the lowest level possible and that the transfer of functions should be followed by money. The local governments are better placed to manage the functions at that level. In most cases decentralized services are preferred than centralized services because they are efficient (Helling et al, 2005; Mwabu & Kibua, 2013; Kauzya, 2005).

In more recent years, a consensus among development practitioners and decentralization experts has emerged that decentralization is about more than merely shifting power and resources away from the central level or strengthening the administrative capacity of local governments. Instead, decentralization is increasingly defined as the empowerment of people through the empowerment of their local governments. This in turn leads to more efficient, responsive and accountable public services (Jamie & Serdar, 2010).

Different decentralization designs in Sub Sahara Africa have led to varied effects on service delivery. The dimensions of the designs may vary from the specific functional responsibilities being transferred to the local government, the lowest level of this transfer at the local level, the nature of intergovernmental transfers and borrowing rules and political accountabilities (World Bank, 1998, Akpan, 2007). Through decentralization citizens are supposed to acquire effective political rights, which help them push for accountability across all levels of political and administrative systems. This is achieved through elected local bodies with sufficient funding, adequate powers, and reliable mechanisms to ensure accountability of elected representatives and bureaucrats. The official transfer of power can take various forms. It can either be fiscal, administrative, and political or market decentralization. These typologies of decentralization depend on the amount of power, functions and resources transferred from the central government to the local governments. These different forms of decentralization have different characteristics, policy implications and conditions for success (White, 2011; Mwabu & Kibua, 2013).

1.1.1 Global perspectives of decentralization frameworks

The governance agenda has taken a center stage among all global development partners in the last decade. At the forefront is the World Bank – which has created the worldwide set of governance indicators (WGI) in six dimensions of good governance aggregated from more than 200 countries. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the latest goals set up by the world community to achieve sustainable development. The UNDP has the good governance principles which is a set of indicators that measure governance dimensions such as: adaptability, stability, participation, equity, non discrimination, inclusiveness, gender equality, rule of law, transparency and accountability and responsiveness. All these are meant to achieve and maintain development goals as set out by UN member states in the millennium declaration in 2000.

One aspect of democratic governance, which has widely been adopted by various countries, is decentralization and its various forms such as deconcentration, delegation and devolution. Fiscal, political and administrative aspects of decentralization are now widely used by developing countries to bring services closer to the citizens and for political and economic gains. Over the last two decades many countries in the world have embraced decentralization in regions as diverse as the newly independent states of Eastern Europe, Africa, South America and South East Asia. The process of implementation has however not been as smooth as envisaged and most of these countries have had many pitfalls along the way (Naidoo, 2002).

A report by UNDP observes that although decentralization has been around for several decades, it has seen a mixture of success and setbacks due to the slow pace of implementation of decentralization reform in various parts of the World. This has affected service delivery in terms of increased efficiency, more effective popular participation and greater private sector contributions (UNDP Report, 2000).

In Indonesia, decentralization was introduced after the passage of the autonomy law by the nationalist government in 1999. The Suharto’s regime had just fallen, which led to a period of economic crisis, political instability and student unrest. Under the new law, devolution was to take place at the district level while provincial level remained a mediator between the central and district governments. Since the passage of the new law, there has been some positive aspects such as multi party politics, free press, independent judiciary, and the ability of the community to express their preferences. However decentralization in Indonesia still remains much more of administrative decentralization than fiscal decentralization because the central government still controls a big share of the resources needed for local governance under decentralization despite more functions being devolved to the local regions such as health and education. Additionally, the formula for allocating resources to the sub regions is unfair hence; resource rich regions out perform resource poor regions. At the local level laws, regulations and tax levies have been introduced without resource or guidance from the central government and this has affected business (Indriyanto, 2013; Aspinal & Berger, 2001, Green, 2005).

Decentralization in Indonesia has had a positive impact of opening up new spaces for citizens and the civil society to participate in political debate but there has also been evidence of increased corruption at the local level and increased inequalities between resource-rich and resource-poor regions, failure of the central government to successfully set and enforce minimum service standards in critical areas of national priority (Hoffman, & Kaiser, 2002).

In India, decentralization commenced immediately after independence in 1948. But real benefits of decentralization were experienced in 1980s after much pressure from the citizens. Before then, there was an overconcentration of power in the hands of a few national elites (Sharma, 1999) Despite the improvements brought about by decentralization, there is confusion in the inter relationship between multi purpose elected bodies and single purpose used committees. The user committees are often chosen by nomination from above rather than elections and in most cases these are packed with loyalists or pliable locals. At times, politicians set these bodies against one another so as to weaken bottom up development processes.

At the district level, the Panchayat are the main decision making organs but have been weakened by local legislators and ministers who see them as a potential threat. On the other hand user committees have excessive funded mandates hence struggling to manage the funds availed to them while the multi purpose bodies have unfunded mandates hence unable to deliver services at the local level (Sida, 2003). This shows that service delivery is affected in Indian local governments because the way the decentralized governance organs are structured leads to a collision, which incapacitates them politically and technically.

In Mexico, political decentralization in the last two decades has seen some improvement as compared to the original system of political representation, accountability, flexibility and democracy (Ward & Rodriguez, 1999). In Bolivia, decentralization has made the government more responsive by re-directing public investment to areas of greatest need. In Colombia, municipalities increased investment significantly while running costs fell (Faguet, 2007). In Brazil, decentralization was enhanced after the passage of the 1988 post dictatorship constitution, which gave regions more discretion over their own financing, administration and responsibilities. This saw increased allocations to the regions and also improvement in service delivery.

The best example of improved services after decentralization was in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil, where there was doubling of enrollment rates and improved access to basic sanitation. Panama on the other hand, has a constitution that puts more emphasis on deconcentration as its still a unitary state and the central government retains much power in decision-making. This means that many of the municipals receive funding from the central government, which also has to approve their budgets. Many municipalities lack capacity to participate in policy making. Like for example they have been permitted to borrow form the local banks with central government guarantee but not internationally. At the local level they have few functions assigned to them and thy cant influence this or change it. Also although there are 3 tiers of government, some officials are appointed instead of being elected (Coutinho, 1996).

In Costa Rica, donors and development agencies forced decentralization on the country as the governing political class was not interested in decentralization hence all policy making and other vital decisions are still made by the central government. But in most cases many bureaucrats working at the local level are not aware of any new policies or in most cases they are poorly communicated to them. This shows a lack of clear definition of decentralization. Other challenges include lack of proper communication between the center and local governments and lack of skilled personnel and resources to offer all the needed services. The approval and implementation of the policies is adhoc. There is no time plan hence implementation of decentralization taking place at random. In general there is a lack of technical capacity among staff in most municipalities and lack of monitoring and evaluation ((Ryan, 2004; Esqural, 2003; Oosterhout, 2002).

There are several successful experiences wherein decentralization played an instrumental role in improving basic service delivery, such as the experience of 16 municipalities in Columbia where water, education and road infrastructure improved. However despite some success stories of decentralization, some researchers have found out that in most cases if fiscal, administrative and political decentralization are not well designed and implemented it can lead to failure to deliver key essential services to its citizens due to problems such as: misallocation of resources, leakages/corruption, and weak incentives. (Ahmed, J, et al, 2005; Ribot, 2002).

1.1.2 Regional perspectives of decentralization frameworks

The good governance agenda is also at the forefront of all organizations spearheading development initiatives in Africa. The African Union Agenda 2063 is geared towards the socio-economic transformation of the African continent over the next 50 years. It has a major initiative of governance through NEPAD (New Partnership for African Development). The NEPAD goals relating to the adoption of democratic values, practices, universal principles of human rights, justice and the rule of law, as well as the creation of capable institutions and transformational leadership. These developments at the international level have influenced the development of the governance tools at the global, regional and the national levels. Some of these tools are: the Worldwide Governance Indicators; (WGI-World Bank), The Sustainable Governance Indicators (EU&OECD) The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UNDP Good Governance Principles among other global instruments.

In Ethiopia, decentralization has been driven by the desire to give some autonomy to various ethnic regions to manage their affairs and hold them to remain in the federation. In Mozambique decentralization has enabled the former warring factions some local autonomy to participate in the political process and integrate them faster into the whole system (Shah & Thompson, 2004). In Uganda, the decentralization policy was introduced after the passage of the local government Act of 1997. It had the objective of giving local councils more control in decision-making and choice of representatives especially on aspects of utilizing the available limited resources efficiently and effectively. The results have been mixed. Some researchers have argued that it has led to improvements in service delivery especially education, health and agriculture. Also levels of transparency have increased at the local level as monthly transfers of public funds to the districts are published in newspapers and noticeboards. The major challenge is transferring adequate funds to the local authorities on time. However it has not been as successful as anticipated as there is an increase in local capture, lack of information by users and a system of patronage politics and lack of institutional capacity (Ekpo, 2007; Bashaasha, 2011; Reinikka & Svenssons, 2004; Obwona et al 2000).

From the foregoing discussion it is evident that implementing decentralization is quite a challenge especially if its not well designed. The three levels of decentralization i.e. fiscal, administrative and political decentralization should be well balanced in terms of design and implementation otherwise there will be failure to deliver essential services to the citizens. Common challenges are likely to be misallocation of resources, leakages or corruption, weak incentives or conflict between administrators and county assembly members and capacity constraints. Also various instruments of decentralization can affect the incentives facing service providers like policy makers, local and national politicians hence the slow pace of implementation (Ahmed, J, et al, 2005, Ribot, 2002).

In Sierra Leone decentralization was introduced in 2004 and has seen improvements in service delivery especially on matters of health. A survey showed that satisfaction levels rose from 81% to 90% between 2005/6. There was improved rural access to primary education i.e. percentage of households within walking distance of a school grew from 68% to 74% in 2008. In addition there is enhanced performance through improved or increased capacity enhancement (Srivastava & Larizza, 2011).

Its been noted from literature that most citizens lack the necessary information or are not even aware of what devolution entails hence unable to push the officials for accountability and this has been linked to civic education has been highlighted as a major cause of these apathy. By enhancing the availability of information, strengthening citizen voice and promoting dialogue and consultation between the various actors, social accountability mechanisms can go a long way towards improving service delivery and making public decision-making more transparent, participatory and pro-poor. Decentralization holds a lot of promise, but whether it improves public service delivery depends on the institutional arrangements governing its implementation. Several conditions must be met before the full benefits of decentralization can be reaped (Narayan et al. 2000; PREM Notes, 2001).

1.1.3 Local perspective of decentralization frameworks

Kenya has had some experiences of decentralization since the one party era. The ministry of local government was in charge of all the local authorities and wielded a lot of power over them although they had some degree of independence in terms of service provision. The local councils were in charge of collecting revenue at the local level and using these to provide services to the citizens. It is noted from literature that much of what was practiced then was deconcentration, as it had not been accompanied by political decentralization. The central government through the ministry of local government continued to play a major role in disbursing funds to the local authorities hence controlling their loyalty (Kibua and Mwabu, 2013).

As noted by Kibua and Mwabu, (2013), the first deconcentration efforts involved the establishment of the development committee system at the provincial and district levels in order to tap the views of the local elites. The special rural development program in 1969, the district- planning programme in 1971 and the district focus for rural development followed this. All these programs failed to meet their objectives of improved service delivery at the local level because of defective design of funding, monitoring and evaluation procedures. The fact that it was or lack of political will.

The decentralization of functions, resources and decision making from the center to the counties is provided for in chapter 11 of the New Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Kenya chose the path of devolution, which entailed giving the sub national governments power and funds to undertake service provision in their particular areas as stipulated in Article 174 of the Kenya constitution which articulates the principles of devolution as being promotion of democratic and accountable exercise of power; giving powers of self-governance to the people and enhancing the participation of the people in making decisions affecting them; enhanced checks and balances within the government; promotion of social and economic development and the provision of proximate, easily accessible services throughout Kenya and to facilitate the decentralization of state organs, their functions and services, from the capital of Kenya (CoK, 2010).

This new system of governance came into effect after the elections of 2013. Its at this time that the local government act was repealed hence dissolving all former local authorities and bringing into birth the 47 counties which came with a whole new structure of governance aimed at improving service delivery to the citizens of Kenya. In order to enhance its operationalization, several Acts of parliament have been enacted. These are the Public Finance Management Act, 2012; and the various devolution laws, which includes, the Transition to Devolved Government Act, (TDGA) 2012; the County Governments Act, 2012; the Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011; the Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2012; and the County Governments Public Finance Management Transition Act, 2012. Other constitutional bodies were created such as: the Senate, the Office of Controller of Budget, the Commission for Revenue Allocation and the Transition Authority. At the county level, are the County Executive and the County Assembly. The governor heads the executive while the speaker heads the county assembly. These two arms of government are required to coordinate and collaborate for effective operation of the county. Hence need for a new set of leadership values such as collaboration, tolerance and cooperation (TFR, 2010).

The process of transferring these functions to the counties has not been smooth as was envisaged in schedule four of the new constitution and as noted by the Transition Authority, the County Governments and the Controller of Budgets. According to Section 15 of the Sixth Schedule to the constitution ‘Parliament shall, by legislation, make provision for the phased transfer, over a period of not more than three years from the date of the first election of county assemblies, from the national government to county governments of the functions assigned to them”.

Section 23 (2) of the Transition to Devolved Government Act, 2012 provides that after the initial transfer of functions every county government shall make a request in the prescribed manner to the Transition Authority for transfer of other functions in accordance with section 15 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. Section 24 of the Transition to Devolved Government Act, 2012 provides that a county meets the following criteria before the transfer of any other functions: Existence of legislation relating to the function applied for; a framework for service delivery; establishment of administrative units related to the function; and whether there is the required infrastructure and systems to deliver the functions transferred such as the necessary financial management systems. In a nutshell these criteria can be categorized as covering administrative and fiscal issues of the implementation of devolution.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Decentralization in a country is expected to bring service delivery closer to the people and that delivery of such services becomes efficient and effective (Dicker, 2010). The outcome of such process is manifested in the satisfaction citizens derive from services delivered, how officials working in the decentralized sectors rate service delivery processes and how the decentralized functions perform against the set goals (Bwire, 2015; Amagoh, 2015). In Kenya, decentralized framework came in the shape of devolution. This was after promulgation of the Kenya Constitution 2010, which paved way for formation of the 47 counties. In the wake of this, most functions like Health and Agriculture were devolved.

Decentralization frameworks should result in equitable distribution of resources, diversity and inclusion, national unity, democracy and accountability and informed decision making (Olaiya, 2016). According to Biyagamaga (2014), the ultimate goal of decentralized management is bringing decision makers and decision-making processes closer to the people and their needs. However, even with the formation of County Governments in Kenya, this has not been the case. Instead, there has been non-uniformity in county development, duplication of roles where people are doing the same job, misuse of power and wastage of resources which are higher than when the services were centralized (Khaunya, Wawire & Chepngeno, 2015).

It is for the above reasons that decentralized framework, more so in Kenya, needs to be re-evaluated since it has not worked out as it was intended, instead, it has opened avenues of mismanagement of funds, duplication of duties, power struggle, nepotism as far as hiring of employees is concerned and misuse of power by the county bosses. This has negatively affected the development and service delivery. This study will look into some of the reasons why the results of decentralization frameworks have not been realized in Kenya, which embraced decentralization after the promulgation of the constitution in 2010.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

1.3.1 General Objective

The general objective is to determine the effect of decentralization frameworks on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

(i) To analyze the effect of political framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya
(ii) To examine the effect of fiscal framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya
(iii) To establish the effect of administrative framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya
(iv) To investigate the effect of economic framework on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya

To determine the moderating influence of regulatory framework on political, fiscal, administrative factors and service delivery in Kenya.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

(i) H01: Political decentralization framework has no significant effect on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya.
(ii) H02: Fiscal decentralization framework has no significant effect on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya.
(iii) H03: Administrative decentralization framework has no significant effect on effect on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya
(iv) H04: Economic decentralization framework has no significant effect on effect on service delivery by devolved governments in Kenya
(v) H04: Regulatory frameworks have no significant moderating influence between political, fiscal, administrative decentralization and service delivery in Kenya.

1.5 Justification of the Study

The study will inform leaders and policy makers at the national and county levels about nature of the challenges that are facing the country in implementing the devolution. This will enable the policy makers to recommend legal or policy changes to streamline the process of implementation. This will benefit some of the institutions. Like the commission for revenue allocation (CRA), the office of the controller of budgets, the Senate, the council of governors (COG) and the Treasury. This study will act as an important source of literature for review by future studies. Further, the study will generate knowledge that will provide insights on how the different decentralization frameworks interact to operationalize devolution in Kenya. Recommendations on further research will aid other researchers on areas to build on as they study the decentralization area.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study is limited to examination of effect of decentralization frameworks on service delivery in devolved governments in Kenya. The conceptual scope of this study will be limited to decentralization frameworks variables namely political decentralization frameworks, fiscal decentralization frameworks, administrative decentralization frameworks and economic decentralization frameworks. Regulatory framework is considered as a moderating variable while service delivery is the response variable. The contextual scope of this study will be limited to the 47 county governments in Kenya that are established by the new constitution in 2010. Previous studies also tend to be specific with regard to study methodologies to be employed. Decentralization frameworks studies have been carried out using a number of diverse methodologies. This study will use descriptive survey research design and explanatory research design to analyze, and describe the relationship between decentralization frameworks and service delivery in devolved governments in Kenya.



2.1 Introduction

The chapter presents a review of literature covering the various studies that have been undertaken in the area of decentralization, which informs this study. The section consists of the theoretical framework, looks at the principles and theories about the study, and also comes up with the conceptual framework. Finally there is a review of variables, empirical studies in the said area and critique of them. This is followed by an explanation about the research gaps and a summary.

2.2 Theoretical Review

This section offers the theoretical foundation of the study with main purpose of determining the effect of decentralization frameworks on service delivery in county governments of Kenya. A theoretical framework is defined as a concrete examination of the amount of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, or phenomena and is necessary in order to help establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them to what degree the existing theories have been investigated and to develop new hypothesis to be tested (Kennedy, 2007).

2.2.1 The Soufflé Theory of Decentralization

According to the soufflé theory of decentralization each of the different forms of decentralization leads to a total improvement in the service delivery to the citizens. The model is developed from the idea of a soufflé that requires just the right combination of milk, eggs, and heat to rise. Hence a successful program of decentralization must include just the right combination of political, fiscal, and institutional elements to improve local government development outcomes (Parker, 1995).

Fiscal decentralization enables the devolved unit to receive allocation of a certain amount of funds from the central government depending on set criteria. This means that the unit has some autonomy in decision making on how to use the resources. The decentralized unit has the powers to levy taxes and charges in its area of jurisdiction. Availability of resources gives the unit some leeway to offer services to the citizens efficiently, effectively, sustainably and responsively. The citizens have a choice on the type of projects they want prioritized. Political and administrative decentralization creates an environment that allows citizens to elect leaders whom they want. Hence leaders are ready to be held to account, there is citizen participation and engagement and an open administration system, which is transparent and accountable. All these functions, spheres, departments and offices have to work together so that they can offer synergy in the provision of better services to citizens according to the soufflé theory i.e. a whole systems perspective where levels and functions and spheres of influence work to create some measurable synergy in service delivery (UNDP, 2005).

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Source: Adapted from Parker, A. (1995) Decentralization: The Way Forward for Rural Development, Policy Research Working Paper 1475, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Figure 2.1 The Soufflé Theory of Decentralization

2.2.2 The Social Capital Theory

Social capital is defined by Grootaert & Bastelaer, (2011) as the norms and networks that enable people to act collectively. They are of the opinion that the utilization of the synergy among different levels and dimensions leads to the development of social capital. It refers to the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of a society's social interactions. The interpersonal networks of people in a community help create value or social capital, which in turn hold the community together through the principle of reciprocity. It further states that social networks can be demonstrated either by horizontal associations or vertical associations or both. Horizontal and vertical associations give communities a sense of identity and common purpose, while helping communities transcend various social divides hence increasing intercommunity harmony (World Bank, 2011).

Social capital is an important aspect of the new constitution as the various levels of government and institutions have to work in cooperation for the effective implementation of devolution. According to Bjornskov, (2010), even countries that have progressed well have tapped into communal social capital by exploiting strong religious and cultural bonds, which promote voluntary associations and help to prepare people to work cooperatively. Social capital helps create values that hold the community or society together like a glue through interpersonal relations and the expectation of reciprocity. This is an important aspect of our new constitution as the various levels of government and the various institutions have to work in cooperation for the effective implementation of devolution.

On the flipside horizontal ties “can become a basis for the pursuit of narrow interests, and can actively preclude access to information and material resources that would otherwise be of great assistance to the community e.g. tips about job vacancies and access to credit. Horizontal associations can also form communities, groups or networks, which are isolated, parochial, or working at cross-purposes to society's collective interests (e.g. drug cartels, corruption rackets) can actually hinder economic and social development. Hence needs to guard against the process of implementing devolution falling under elite capture (World Bank, 2011).

Decentralization as a framework for enhanced community development will benefit if there is enhanced horizontal and vertical social capital at the local level. Immense social capital is created when all stakeholders at the local level agree to work together to improve service delivery. When decentralization is well implemented at the local level, one will find that there is increased accountability of local leaders, more opening of the democratization space and citizen participation in local budget and project planning and implementation. This in turn leads to increased efficiency with regards to service delivery. All these variables work together to increase synergy of human and social capital at the local level (Salman &Iqbal, 2011).

Officials at the decentralized units must be ready to develop and harness the benefits of internal and external social capital within their organizations. Hitt and Ireland (2006) are of the view that “internal social capital will be concerned with relationships across all of an organizations work units” Members of a unit will create competitive advantage if they design and integrate relationships effectively. This means that at the county level insightful Governors should create or build great teams that help them tackle county challenges in a visionary way (Hitt & Ireland, 2006). But for them to create effective relationships such “strategic leaders must ensure organizational justice in process rewards, and relationships as quoted in Hitt, 2000. This means providing proper leadership and direction in the utilization and sharing of resources equally among all the counties. It also calls for the efficient utilization of available resources.

According to Mauro, Pigliaru and Gaetano (2014), political decentralization is shown as a source of divergence across homogenous regions hence influencing national growth. Decentralization helps local interactions of social capital to bring about better functioning local institutions which are responsible to the needs of the local population. When local institutions are more efficient, then this reduces rent seeking behavior hence a distribution of the effects of public funds among a bigger group of people hence harnessing social capital through the network of individuals and institutions.

On the other hand Salman and Iqbal (2011) hold the view that local governments’ are better at nurturing social capital since they are closer to the people and successful in extracting information on local preferences and needs at lower costs. This sort of relation can be instrumental in strengthening social capital. Social capital cannot be created immediately. It takes time and in some communities, which are highly fragmented along ethnic, clan or religious lines, cultural ties take a long time to be developed. All these factors affect decentralization (Uphoff, 2004; Sutiyo, 2014). The social capital theory supports political and administrative decentralization especially on the issues of citizens coming together to undertake development programmes. This theory does not however explain strongly how to go about fiscal decentralization.

Social capital is both a relevant input and a valuable potential output of decentralization processes. In particular, the stock of social capital and its dynamics may determine the balance between advantages and disadvantages of decentralization. In the short run, the higher the stock of social capital, the stronger the benefits of decentralization. In the long run, the net gain derived from decentralization will depend on the capacity of decentralization to stimulate the accumulation of social capital. The short-run relationship is supported by the empirical evidence on the effects of decentralization in different clusters of countries. In those with lower social and human capital stocks, decentralization will make quality of public services worse. The reason is that decentralization aggravates the lack of technical capacity in public management and, with it, the expected decentralization benefits from greater account- ability and better matching of preferences tend to vanish (Treisman, 2002).

2.2.3 The Principal Agent Theory

This sets the discussion of decentralization within a center/local relations theory as it analyses relationships between levels and different agencies. Power, funds and decision making is decentralized to the levels below. In a decentralized system, the principal agent relationship entails the principal having oversight over the agent while the agent is given some level of independence to perform their duties as best as they see fit (Debi, 2004). The bottom line is that there is an accountability proposition in the relationship between principal and the agent. The relationship is based on certain expectations i.e. common interests. It is the belief that if the agent doesn’t work to the best interest of both, it will lead to loss (agency loss). In order to avoid agency loss, then any decentralization process should be designed in such a way that it will improve the agent’s selection process and the agent’s incentive structure (Hiskey, 2011).

Agent selection is by use of elections. Hence need for a level playing field for all candidates and a free media capable of informing the public about candidate preferences. The other aspect is the use of the incentive structure by which the principal can use in order to avoid agency loss. Hence a clear performance based metrics to evaluate agent performance and on which monetary rewards and punishments can be based (Hiskey, 2011). The process of decentralization may be seen as one of selectively broadening the decision-space or range of choice of local agents, within the various spheres of policy, management, finance, and governance. The central principal voluntarily transfers formal authority to the agent in question in order to promote its health policy objectives. The degree and nature of this transfer differs by case, and shapes the function of the principal-agent relationship and the decentralized system as a whole (Debi, 2004).

In a decentralized system, citizens should be able to gather as much as possible information about the many agents that will be performing various tasks under a decentralized structure. When the principal lessens the information costs and designs clear oversight tasks, then decentralization reforms can readily achieve democratic and governance goals (Hiskey, 2011). Questions for study under this aspect would be: Are citizens involved in the creation and monitoring of these metrics or do officials who are aligned with agents themselves administer them? Do the gents live in the affected communities thereby exposing themselves to social forms of rewards and punishment based on performance (Hiskey, 2011).

This theory is linked with political decentralization and some aspects of administrative decentralization. It is however weak in fiscal decentralization. Under political decentralization, the citizens will be required to hold the duty bearers responsible for provision of services. The administrators have to be accountable to the citizens as required by law while the political leaders need to continually engage the citizens who elected them on what they are doing to fulfill their manifestos.

2.2.4 The Accountability Theory

Accountability is now accepted widely as a measure of good governance, which can lead to improvements in service delivery. Accountability is about making sure that people who are responsible for delivering public services do their jobs as best they can and use resources in an efficient and equitable way. This is achieved through the design of different mechanisms that make politicians and public officials to be accountable to the citizens. This is in turn reduces corruption, clietism and capture and leads to better development outcomes such as higher per capital income; lower infant mortality and higher literacy levels (Jayal, 2008).


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Effect of Decentralization Frameworks on Service Delivery in Devolved Governments of Kenya
Kenyatta University  (Department of Entrepreneurship, Technology, Leadership and Management)
Leadership and Governance
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Thomas Muema (Author), 2019, Effect of Decentralization Frameworks on Service Delivery in Devolved Governments of Kenya, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/470477


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