, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 5 – Local Authorities on Wednesday found themselves in mucky waters after they were accused of being one of the worst performing state institutions.
Speaking during the signing of performance contracts for the financial year 2012/2013, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that councils, which have been in an overdrive demanding payment of rates, needed to up their games.
He noted that councils continued offering dismal services and were lagging behind, especially in the management of solid waste, while other government departments made remarkable improvement in service delivery.
“That sector faces serious challenges and there appears to be a general reluctance by local authorities to implement their own by-laws. This of course is not satisfactory. Citizens can hardly be expected to pay rates while they live in unsanitary conditions,” he said.
The premier further directed the authorities to establish systems for managing solid waste in urban areas saying it would guarantee a clean and healthy environment that would encourage investors.
He added that poor solid waste management had become a national problem because local authorities were hesitant to provide quality services to the citizens.
“Local authorities also face challenges in project management, information technology uptake, the working environment, skills and urban planning,” observed the PM.
The Media Council of Kenya, the National Hospital Insurance Fund, the Kenya Sisal Board and the National Gender and Equality Commission were at the same time listed as State institutions that had declined to take up performance contracts despite being asked to do so.
Acting Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia also named the University of Nairobi Enterprise Services, the National Council for Law Reporting, the Kenya Institute of Supplies and the Cooperative University College for declining to take up the performance contracting.
“The implementation of performance contracts in the public service is not a selective adventure. I wish to direct these institutions to ensure that they are cleared to sign their performance contracts by September 15 this year,” he said.
The premier added that an inter-ministerial committee had been established to facilitate the transition into the incoming government which will only have 22 ministries.
“This committee will help fast track the changes from March next year. As we negotiate the transition the challenge will be to ensure that public services remain constant and uninterrupted,” he observed.
Odinga further expressed concern over the country’s ability to meet the two-thirds constitutional gender requirement saying women were shying away from politics.
While making reference to a list of public servants that had resigned to seek various elective seats, he noted that very few women in government had shown interest in politics.
“Not many women have resigned to go and contest. And if we are going to fulfil the one-third requirement by the Constitution I don’t know what we are going to do. We cannot manufacture them (women contestants); they must come from somewhere,” he urged.
He also asked political parties to make it possible for women to get nominated for various posts.
He further lauded civil servants who had quit public office to chase careers in politics reminding them to ensure that they left behind a clean record.
“I want to congratulate these officers for their courage and determination. I believe they are driven by their desire to make Kenya a better nation. I want to welcome them to the world of politics and wish them luck,” he said.
“In the past, such officers would have hang on working the systems in their favour and in many instances they left huge audit questions,” he observed.