Review of John Mutakha Kangu's Constitutional Law of Kenya on Devolution (Strathmore University Press, Nairobi, 2015)
Strathmore Law Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2016) 213-220
9 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2016 Last revised: 8 Oct 2016
Date Written: September 16, 2016
The adoption of the 2010 Constitution represented a fundamental paradigm shift in the structures of governance in Kenya. It exemplified a constitutional, legal and institutional shift from a highly centralised, top down and inequitable system of governance to a devolved government that has the objective of institutionalising bottom up decision making, equitable development and popular participation. Devolution has been the most fundamental pillar of the transition. Mutakha Kangu’s book provides a succinct and credible analysis of the most appropriate interpretative approach to give full effect to the objectives and values of devolution under Kenya’s new social contract.
In a sense, Kangu’s book is a trailblazer in Kenya’s devolution legal scholarship, since no other publication, in existing literature, has interrogated the challenges and opportunities of the interpretation of the complex devolution provisions in the Constitution with such meticulousness, depth and intensity ... In sum, there is the conviction that the author put immense effort to comprehensively discuss every constitutional clause on devolution that may require interpretation, and justify the basis for a purposive approach in the interpretative task. It is apparent that the publication benefits, immensely, from Kangu’s practical experiences in his exceptional career as a distinguished constitutional law scholar and practitioner. The book has certainly not addressed all the probable interpretative challenges, on the nature and scope of devolution, and the powers and functions of devolved governments, that will keep on emerging. In addition, some views may be challenged from certain theoretical perspectives and political experiences. However, there is no doubt that the publication is a compelling and well-argued magnum opus on devolution that will be an indispensable reference material for judicial officers, legal practitioners, policy makers, government officials, and students of law and governance in Kenya.
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