We must see a change in public service delivery

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BY VICTOR BWIRE

The message from President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Labour Day celebrations was his intention to act more that talking. More recently, he incorporated former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his Delivery Secretariat and immediately appointed Nzioka Waita, from Safaricom as the Executive Secretary of the unit based at the KICC. Good pointers to commitment to improved service delivery to Kenyans; which should have come in much earlier.

Mwai Kibaki did the same when he appointed Joyce Nyamweya the Permanent Secretary for Public Service Reform and Development Secretariat, Cabinet Office, in the Presidency in 2004. At that time, there was a feeling, like what President Kenyatta is feeling that there was a leadership crisis in the public service, which was then alienated from Kenyans and synonymous with corruption, poor service and out of reach for majority of Kenyans.

Nzioka, you have a duty to help Kenyans get better services and hope you will bear the frustrations in public service and deliver.

If not using the old structures that were established under the Narc Government, what should follow should be a Cabinet memorandum detailing what the office will be doing with key deliverables – which should obviously be premised on the Jubilee election pledges. Outside this and without anchoring the office into policy direction, it will remain a public announcement without effect. As with other officers recruited from the private sector into the Jubilee Government, the new officers will face the same old frustrations in Government and leave or become part of the inefficiencies.

Currently a number of the technocrats with no previous experience with Government operations seem frustrated or being bullied by senior civil servants, while those with previous experience especially with political backgrounds seem stuck to the old ways of doing things: bulldozing and making costly blunders.

The Kibaki idea was anchored around putting the citizen at the heart of policy making and public service delivery in the sense that policies are relevant to citizens and stakeholders, efficient, effective and corrupt free service delivery, observable results impacting on the daily lives of Kenyans and the Rights based approach to development. The thinking then was the country needed a modern and affordable public service that could respond to changing demands and achieve national priorities based on 4Ps and 4Es (Patriotic, Passionate, Professional, Paced, Efficient, Effective, Ethical and Equitable).

That was the birth the Rapid Results Initiative with subsequent policies prepared under the stewardship of Prof Anyang’ Nyongó on Capacity Building Programme for Transforming the Public Service, Results and Performance Bill among, National Performance management Framework, Management Accountability Framework, Performance Contracts, Performance Appraisal system and National Performance Management Steering Committee.

There is so much confusion, in terms of what the Government says and what is happening and that makes some of us doubt if there is seriousness to serve Kenyans.

(Bwire is the is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Programmes Manager at the Media Council of Kenya)

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