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Kenya: Corruption and devolution

The effect of devolution on corruption is ambiguous. On the one hand, bringing government closer to the people could increase transparency and accountability. On the other hand, devolution of government may also result in devolution of corruption as the local governments become prone to corruption challenges such as capture by local elites, bribery in provision of services to citizens and patronage systems. Kenya introduced the concept of devolution in the 2010 constitution. Although devolution has brought some success in bringing the government closer to Kenyan citizens and advancing development, evidence show that corruption is a major challenge affecting county governments. Nonetheless, various legal and institutional frameworks are in place which may be useful to address corruption in the devolved government. In addition, various donor-funded devolution programmes support transparency and accountability in Kenyan counties.

22 April 2021
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Kenya: Corruption and devolution

Main points

  • County governments in Kenya have become hotspots for corruption. A number of county governors and country officials have been implicated in corruption cases over the years.
  • Reports from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Transparency International Kenya and the Kenya National Audit Office indicate the prevalence of corruption in counties, ranging from bribery, nepotism and patronage to embezzlement and mismanagement of public resources.
  • Kenya has established anti-corruption legal and institutional framework that are useful to address corruption in counties. In addition, donor-funded devolution programmes have incorporated measures to support transparency and accountability in the country.

Cite this publication

Duri, J.; (2021) Kenya: Corruption and devolution. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2021:12)

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About the author

Jorum Duri

Jorum is a Research Coordinator at Transparency International, with his primary responsibilities at the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

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