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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Devolution is only for development: decentralization and elite vulnerability on the Kenyan coast
Author:Chome, Ngala
Periodical:Critical African studies (ISSN 2040-7211)
Geographic term:Kenya
local government
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/21681392.2015.1075750
Abstract:On the Kenya coast, it was widely hoped that devolution would address strict political functions - historical injustices and communal narratives of marginalization. However, newly elected county governors are finding themselves constrained in addressing this role due to ongoing operational logics of local governance and the limitation of the role of county governors by the central government to 'less political' and 'quieter' functions of development. Based on field interviews, official reports, newspaper sources, and electoral data, this article advances a series of interrelated arguments. Firstly, to avoid political contestation from below, the central government frames devolution in technocratic (as opposed to political) terms of development. Secondly, county governments contest official de-politicization due to ongoing logics of patronage politics - where local county leaders have to show that they are able to protect local interests in terms of both immediate assistance and communal narratives of injustice. Thirdly - related to preceding arguments - county governors and executives find themselves vulnerable within incompatible expectations, differing from common analyses of decentralization across Africa that emphasize on 'elite capture' or re-centralization. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]