The latest census data shows that the devolved system of governance needs to do a lot to ease unemployment in the country.
It was established that 41 counties have youth unemployment rates of more than 30 percent, with those in North Eastern faring the worst. Garissa has the highest portion of young people out of work at 62 percent and is followed by Turkana (56.2 percent) and Mandera (51.7 percent).
These statistics are sobering but the conduct of the county governments is even more depressing. Most of the counties, including those with the highest unemployment rates, have been accused of corruption, waste and channelling the bulk of their revenues to recurrent rather than development expenditure. This has resulted in major lost opportunities and frustrates the aims of establishing the regional governments.
Devolution was set up to fix some of the real and perceived ills of centralised government including political patronage that saw some areas, for instance, receive outsized investments in infrastructure while others were marginalised. The 47 counties now share a total of more than Sh200 billion annually from the national coffers. Those counties that will continue to lag behind despite these substantial budget allocations have no one else to blame.
It is also up to the electorate to keep the governors and other leaders they have put in office on their toes.