Discuss the control of local authorities by the central government in Kenya


Discuss the control of local authorities by the central government in Kenya


We have a central government that has created a local government. The central government is there to enable the local government to provide services at the local level. The relationship is that the local govt exercises powers that have been delegated by the central government.

The local government is a delegate of the central government. The relationship is that between central and local government can be described as a partnership when it comes to providing services and performance in duties. In this partnership the local government is supposed to administer local areas, provide assistance and exercise control in local areas through local authorities, they administer local areas through the local govt the central govt administers the country as a whole. Local government through local authorities administers local areas. The functions of the local govt through local authorities is supposed to complement that of the central government. The local govt is a delegate of powers by the central government. The central govt exercises controls, checks and balances over local authorities. These checks and balances are exercised in two ways.

Formal Controls;
Informal Controls.

Informal Controls which are exercised in the political arena where you have politics influencing the person who becomes head of the local government. It influences the manner in which manner power is given to the Minister. It also influences the manner in which the Minister exercises the power. Politics will also influence the exercise of power by the Minister.


1. Ministerial Controls
These are controls exercised primarily through the Local Government Act. The Local Government Act makes provisions for checks and balances i.e. it provides for the Ministers consent for a number of things that local authorities that require the Ministers consent. S. 143 states that if the local authorities want to purchase land or dispose any land, they must seek consent of the Minister for local government etc. this requirement for consent is one way that the Central govt exercises control over the local authorities.

2. Financial Controls

Note that auditing is one of the ways that control is exercised over local authorities by the central govt. S. 231.
Requirement of preparation submissions and approval of estimates of expenditure and income.
Extra ordinary inspection of local authorities, the Minister has power to conduct an extra ordinary inspection of the local authorities accounts if he suspects that something is wrong or if after submitting of the auditor generals report he thinks that something is wrong. There is a procedure provided by LGA the Minister first of all must give notice to the auditor general of his intention to conduct an extra ordinary inspection. The Minister is also authorised to appoint public officials to conduct the inspections. These public officials have powers one of which is that they can disallow any item of account that is contrary to law or contrary to the powers of the Minister. They also have power to surcharge any local authority official who is found to have to have incurred an illegal expenditure.
The budget itself requires approval by the Minister which approval is part of the exercise of controls.
The Minister had the power to determine how much money is allocated to the local authority from the Transfer of Funds Fund. (a special fund established by central govt) the minister will consider whether in previous years a local authority has been able to meet the conditions of the percentage of the promotional grants. The percentage of promotional grants is the grant given by central govt to local authorities on condition that they can raise the balance of what they require to meet their targets.
Under S. 249 LGA the Minister for Local govt is authorised to reduce or to withdraw govt grants from the local authority if
it appears to him that a local authority is not utilising the funds well, or
if it appears to the Minister that the administration or the affairs of that local authority are wasteful or inefficient;
if the local authority has failed to act in conformity with the LGA; there are several ways that the local authority fail to act in conformity with the LGA.


Town Clerk
City Engineer
The central government hires people directly answerable to it to work for the local authorities.


Under S. 271 of LGA the Minister for Local Government is empowered to make rules for the better carrying out of the purposes and the provisions of the Act. In the exercise of this power the Minister has made rules which are known as subsidiary legislation or subsidiary regulations which appear at the back of the LGA. The power to make these rules is the power of the Minister for Local Government. The Minister issues rules through Legal Notices. Through the making of these regulations the Minister is exercising authority as they make provisions for the carrying out of the functions and purposes of the Act. Sometimes they even cite the specific sections of the Act under which the regulation has been made.
jerop5614 answered the question on January 8, 2019 at 17:31

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