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Claims on Kenya’s counties: fact-checking the 2019 State of Devolution Address

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  • In his 2019 State of Devolution Address, council of governors chair Wycliffe Oparanya made three claims on revenue allocation to counties, two claims each on healthcare and agriculture, and a claim on gender equality in county governments.

  • Two of the claims on revenue were correct, as were claims about gender equality and healthcare facilities.

  • One claim about agriculture was mostly correct, and the other incorrect. A third claim on revenue was also mostly correct, but a claim on healthcare budgets was incorrect.

On 28 June Kenya’s county governors issued the 2019 State of Devolution Address in which they laid out the achievements of the 47 county governments in agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, budgeting and gender equality.

The statement was released amid a revenue war between Kenya’s senate and national assembly, at a time when the country was rethinking the counties’ share of national revenue.

The address was delivered by Wycliffe Oparanya, chair of the council of governors and governor of Kakamega County, two days before the end of the 2018/19 financial year. In the statement he celebrated that counties were allocating more money to development.

But do his claims add up?

We checked.


“County governments have allocated on average 6.7 % of their total budgets to the agriculture sector.”



Africa Check asked Ruth Chitwa, the council of governors’ acting director of communications, for the source of the data. She referred us to the council’s monitoring and evaluation team, who asked us to send an email with our queries. But despite repeated reminders, we have not yet received a response. (Note: We will update this report should we do so.)

In his address, Oparanya said the counties were aware of their crucial role in achieving food and nutrition security for Kenya, which was why they had increased funding for agriculture.

Budget allocations for the 47 county governments are captured in reports by the controller of budget, who authorises all government spending. The annual county budget implementation review report for the 2017/18 financial year and the latest half-year report for 2018/19 contain each county’s budget allocations to agriculture.  

From the reports’ line item allocations to agriculture, we calculated that counties set aside 5.6% of their budgets to agriculture in 2017/18, and 6.3% in the first six months of 2018/19.

The most recent publicly available data shows that counties gave 6.3% of their total budgets to agriculture. Oparanya said the share was 6.7%. We rate his claim as mostly correct.

(Note: The latest economic survey shows that in 2017/18, counties spent KSh11.8 billion on agriculture out of KSh336.4 billion in total spending. This is just 3.5% of the total. In 2018/19, the projected expenditure on agriculture is KSh27.8 billion out of a total of KSh459.5 billion. This is 6.1% of the total.) – Alphonce Shiundu


“This is just 3% less of the 10% recommended allocation [for agriculture] as per the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Malabo declaration.”



In 2004, 44 members of the African Union resolved to set aside “at least 10% of their national budgets to agriculture.'' In the 2014 Malabo declaration, the AU upheld the commitment for “at least 10% of public expenditure” to go to agriculture. This was to boost economies and improve food security.

In his address, Oparanya said Kenyan counties could achieve the 10% investment in agriculture “if the devolved monies held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, are released to counties”. Kenya’s 2010 constitution makes agriculture a “devolved function”, a responsibility of the counties.

In 2017/18, counties allocated an estimated KSh23 billion to agriculture out of an estimated total budget of KSh411.6 billion – about 5.6%. A 10% allocation would have been KSh41.1 billion.

In 2018/19, agriculture’s share rose to KSh29.1 billion (6.3%) out of a total of KSh462.1 billion. A 10% allocation would have been KSh46.2 billion.

This works out to a difference of just over three percentage points. 

But the difference between the 2018/19 allocation of KSh29.1 billion and the Malabo aspiration of at least 10% of the total county budget (KSh46.2 billion) works out to a gap of 37%, not 3%.

We therefore rate Oparanya’s claim as misleading. – Alphonce Shiundu


“We experienced an increase in the number of functional health facilities growing from 9,858 to 10,820 in 2018 across all counties.



The latest economic survey shows that the number of health facilities rose from 9,858 in 2017 to 10,820 in 2018.

Oparanya referenced 2018 data, and the latest economic survey bears him out. 

The numbers come from the Kenya master health facilities list, an inventory of the country’s health facilities and community units. These are “identified with unique code and their details describing the geographical location, administrative location, ownership, type and the services offered”.

The list can be sorted to show which facilities are operational and which are closed. 

As at 18 July 2019 the number of operational health facilities was 11,993. – Alphonce Shiundu


“For the year under review all County Governments allocated out of their budgets at least 20% to health.”



The controller of budget’s 2017/18 report shows counties allocated KSh109.2 billion to health out of a total budget of KSh411.6 billion. This means 26.5% of the budget went to health.

In 2018/19 the counties allocated KSh114.6 billion to health out of a budget of KSh462.1 billion, giving health a 25% share.

So the total allocation to health for all the counties was above 20%.

But not all counties set aside at least 20% of their budgets for healthcare. In 2017/18 at least five counties allocated less than 20%  to health. These were Kakamega (17.1%), Laikipia (13.4%), Taita Taveta (7.7%), Tana River (17.8%) and Turkana (11.6%).

And in 2018/19, nine counties allocated less than 20% of their budgets to health. These were Baringo (2%), Kakamega (13%), Laikipia (13%), Mandera (18%), Nyandarua (11%), Taita Taveta (7%), Tana River (19%), Turkana (11%) and Wajir (17%).

We therefore rate the claim as incorrect. – Alphonce Shiundu


“Since 2013, County Governments have cumulatively received KSh1.57 trillion worth of equitable share of allocation.”



Africa Check looked at the controller of budget’s reports for 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 and the first nine months of  2018/19.

The controller of budget approves the release of revenue from the consolidated fund to the counties.

Africa Check previously investigated county figures and found that not all the money allocated to county governments was transferred to them. The controller of budget has cited bureaucratic, legal and technical reasons for this gap.  

Amounts to Kenya counties 2012/13 to 2018/19 (billions of shillings)
YearTotal Allocation as per County Allocation of Revenue ActsTreasury transfers to counties as per the national treasuryTotal amount of approved transfers in reports controller of budget for release to counties


1 Latest figures from the national treasury of disbursements to counties as at  30 May 2019.

2 Latest figures from the report of the controller of budget for the first nine months of 2018/19 as at 31 March 2019

* Transfers in the first quarter under devolution prescribed by the Transition County Appropriation Act, 2013

 The State of Devolution Address is dated 28 June 2019. The latest figures show that the treasury transferred KSh1.608 trillion to the counties between March 2013 and 30 May 2019. Up to 31 March 2019, the controller approved KSh1.514 trillion.  

The amount actually received by counties is between KSh1.611 trillion and KSh1.514 trillion. Oparanya’s claim of KSh1.57 trillion is within the ballpark. We therefore rate it as mostly correct. – Alphonce Shiundu


KSh1.57 trillion is equivalent to 20% of the total shareable revenue of 7.8 trillion shillings.”



The total shareable revenue from 2013 to 2019 is given in the division of revenue acts

  • 2013 – KSh920.4 billion

  • 2014 – KSh1,026. 3 billion

  • 2015 – KSh1,242.7 billion

  • 2016 – KSh1,380.2 billion

  • 2017 – KSh1,560.3 billion

  • 2018 – KSh1,688.5 billion

These add up to KSh7, 818 billion, or KSh7.8 trillion – the exact figure given by Oparanya.

According to the treasury, the transfers to county governments as at 30 May 2019 add up to KSh1,611 billion. The controller of budget’s report puts the amount approved for use by counties at KSh1,514 trillion up to 31 March 2019. These work out as 21% and 19% of the KSh7.8 trillion in total shareable revenue.

Oparanya was right on the money when he said the amount of national revenue transferred to the counties was equivalent to 20% of all the money the counties had received. – Alphonce Shiundu


“The average development allocation by counties over the last six financial years has been 40% surpassing the legal requirement of at least 30%.”



Kenyan law on public finance directs that “over the medium term a minimum of 30% of the county government’s budget shall be allocated to the development expenditure”. The law defines the “medium term” as “a period of not less than three years but not more than five years”.

The total allocation over six years, given in the controller of budget’s reports, is shown below. The development budget’s share was highest in 2014/15, at 44%, and lowest in 2017/18, at 33.9%.


County budgets 2013/14 to 2018/19 (billions of shillings)
Financial yearRecurrent budgetDevelopment budgetTotal budgetDevelopment budget share of total budget


The average share is 40%. We therefore rate Oparanya’s claim as correct. – Alphonce Shiundu


So far, each of the 47 counties has met the two-thirds threshold on the appointment of the county executive committee members, with three counties of Kilifi, Nyeri and Kericho attaining a 50-50 representation.”



Kenya’s constitution promotes gender equality by setting out that  “not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender”.

The latest economic survey shows that Oparanya was right when he said each of the 47 counties had adhered to this gender principle. It also shows that in Kilifi, Nyeri and Kericho counties there’s gender parity in the composition of the county cabinets.

The economic survey’s data came from the council of governors. Africa Check asked the national gender and equality commission, which oversees the two-thirds gender rule, if there was more recent data.

“We are just about to embark on county audit that will give us a lot of that data,” commissioner Priscilla Nyokabi told Africa Check. The commission does have the gender data for members of the county assemblies, she said. This is the data used in the 2019 economic survey.

“It will be very important that the gender principle is respected,”she told us. “I am asking governors, not just to do the minimum. Wherever they find a woman who performs, give her an opportunity to perform. They should give women an opportunity to serve.” – Dancan Bwire

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