NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – The Ministry of Public Works (formerly Roads and Public Works) has been accused of failing in its role to supervise construction of proper and adequate infrastructure.
Alfred Khang’ati who is an assistant minister of State for Planning National Development and Vision 2030 said ministry had failed to plan and facilitate the country’s infrastructure development due to lack of foresight.
He said: “If you look at what is happening to our infrastructure you see that the Ministry of Public Works has miscarried its mandate to provide the necessary infrastructure and maintain them. And while failing in that responsibility, it has accumulated a lot of costs and bills which the government has been unable to settle up to now,” he stated.
Mr Khang’ati who once served as a civil servant in what was then known as the Ministry of Roads and Public Works blamed the previous regime for the poor state of infrastructure in the country saying that it discouraged research and information which would have laid a solid foundation for future infrastructure development in the country.
“We had the Nyayo era where we were told not to waste time with the planning of projects; that they could be implemented without resorting to analysis and application of information. Those of us who i1nsisted that due process be followed were branded enemies; that we were slowing down the development pace,” he observed.
Mr Khang’ati explained that Kenya had failed to utilise its resources because it paid little attention to the crucial role that fact finding missions played on the development of a country.
“This country has been incapable of monitoring and handling its assets for the simple reason that we do not respect the value of information. We are so subjective that sometimes when we are told to do something objectively our hearts tell us ‘no let us do this instead because it favours our interests,” he said.
Speaking during the launch of the preliminary report on Kenya’s Demographic Health Survey, he disclosed that he was impressed that the ministry of health and public sanitation had taken up research initiatives to aid its planning objectives.
“I have seen that a lot of data has been generated about what is happening in the health sector and I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised because it shows we are coming from a background that did not appreciate research and information,” he explained.
He however added that it was equally important to use the information obtained via research in planning.
“I want to encourage those that will be using research data to put the findings into good use. Don’t just spend time putting the information together and then fail to apply it,” he stated.
Mr Khangati also observed that the country should invest in maternal health saying that women and their health determined the security of future generations adding that they could not become economically fruitful if they lacked adequate medical services.
“When I was a public officer enjoying the comfort of that position (more or less like the majority of you are doing) I did not understand what maternal and child health care meant and I am sure some of us do not understand its importance. Their well being is very important so let us take it up with the eminence it demands,” he proposed.
He noted that children could not perform well academically if their living conditions were miserable adding that among his key agendas when he became MP was ascertaining quality education in his constituency.
“You can go to the schools and urge teachers to put in a lot of time with the children and you can ask students to put in more effort. However when you look at the children you are asking to put in more studying hours you realize that yours is a futile attempt because they are not very healthy. Therefore we must first certify that they are well fed and de-wormed before you expect them to perform well in their studies,” he explained.
Alfred Khang’ati is the Member of Parliament for Kanduyi constituency.