Let’s forget elections and build a better Kenya

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BY JOSHUA KUTUNY

It is not in doubt or debatable that notwithstanding the results of the March 4 General Election, campaigns for political offices in Kenya are things of the past and life has to continue in an atmosphere of tranquility.

In any contest, there are winners and losers but the world never ends with an election. Contestants of diverse political persuasions and ideologies are sons and daughters of this country under one Constitution, one leader and one flag.

In view of the foregoing, it is indeed time to reflect on the problems and challenges ahead and prescribe workable and acceptable solutions without hindrance. The long and short of the story is to say the least that dreams for a better Kenya lie and rest with Kenyans, their diverse political beliefs notwithstanding.

All of us are aware that delivery of public services is a right not a privilege and without doubt Kenyan taxpayers are entitled to quality service delivery from the government. Within three months after taking office, the Government has been alive to the need to fulfill most of its pledges.

For instance, the pledge to offer free maternity service to expectant mothers in all public health facilities has turned from a dream to a reality. Blameless and fragile leaders of tomorrow delivered in public hospitals no longer risk being held hostage for non payment of fees by their economically challenged parents.

The promise to provide solar powered laptops to standard one pupils in all public schools come January 2014 is another milestone development. The delivery of the equipment to school children irrespective of their station in life promises to leapfrog the country from the analog to the digital age.

Every Kenyan without regard to their political persuasion stands to benefit from the Uwezo Fund as well as the Women Enterprise Fund pledges. These are but a few examples of what good governance entails in a democracy, and the commitment of the leadership to addressing the challenges and problems in society cannot be overstated.

These services that are or will be delivered without bias across the 47 Counties including places where the Jubilee coalition failed to get votes are manifestations of unity in diversity under a new governance structure.

Already, devolution of political power and resources address inherent inequalities as well as current and past development imbalances in the country.
Allocation of 32 percent of collected national revenue against the 15 percent stipulated in the Constitution to the counties is a clear demonstration of the National Government’s commitment to the success of devolution. In this regard, the government will continue to support and finance development projects in the devolved units regardless of political leanings.

However, each county can only bite as much as it can chew. To ensure we devolve development and not ineptitude, County Governments require demonstrating capacity to efficiently utilize allocations devolved to them. That includes well organized structures and most importantly properly prioritized budgets.

To demand more funds without demonstrating the proper use of what is already in the County treasuries can only serve to derail development. While CDF with an allocation of only 2.5 percent of collected revenue made a difference in constituencies, county governments already have the 32 percent allocation, the recently approved 2.5 percent CDF plus the revenue collected within the county, bringing the total to about 40 percent of all national revenue, yet it doesn’t seem to be enough.

Having clearly analysed all political party manifestos, it is not hard to conclude that Kenya is home to a wealth of ideas that could move the country to the next level. The government acknowledges that these documents have valuable input for Kenyans that should not be swept under the carpet and therefore undertakes to study and possibly incorporate those ideas in the development agenda.

That said, any new government in office has its fair share of challenges and the Jubilee Coalition Government is no exception. It is against this backdrop that the Administration welcomes constructive criticism from the opposition and civil society organisations whose input helps it identify areas of weakness.

The government is also alive to the grievances of public sector workers and has set in motion mechanisms to consult and dialogue with the trade union leaders on conditions of service and living wages. Nonetheless, we as Kenyans must also appreciate that problems which lasted years will take time to settle. Pushing a three month old government to honour pledges that were entered into decades ago can only serve to cripple aspirations and dreams of a nation.

The Government has and will continue to pursue an open door policy for dialogue with political friends and foes alike .

(Joshua Kutuny is the Director of Political Affairs, Office of the President. [email protected])

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