NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – Devolution and Planning Secretary Anne Waiguru says County Governments should re-align their policies with those of the National Government.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Ministry’s Second Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2013 – 2017 by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday next week, Waiguru indicated that this will ensure unity and cohesion between the two levels of government in achieving Vision 2030.
She pointed out that the strategy will endeavour to move the economy towards achieving a 10 percent growth.
“Many times, we lose the fact that we are one Republic with two levels of government and our Constitution is very clear on that and that it is governed by one vision, Vision 2030. It is actually a requirement in the Constitution that we re-align ourselves,” she stated.
She pointed out that the plan will further prioritise policies, programmes and projects to reduce poverty and inequality.
“In the laws that have already been written, the County Governments are required to ensure that their plans are integrated with the overall national plans. In fact, the laws at the national level apply at the county level,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Principal Secretary John Konchella who stated that the strategy will set the base for the implementation of the sustainable development goals in the post 2015 period.
“It is a requirement that we are all kind of aligned to the blueprint. The long term plan starts from Vision 2030, the MTPs come next and the integrated plans of counties fits into the MTPs,” he revealed.
Waiguru further stated that the ministry has prioritised capacity building for county governments in a bid to make them more effective in the dispensation of their duties.
The Devolution and Planning Secretary urged County Governments not to be sidetracked by the teething problems they are experiencing during the dispensation of their duties.
“Capacity building of the counties is going to be done mostly through training and civic education. There is one plan that is being developed jointly by the ministry of devolution and other institutions and stakeholders including the Council of Governors,” she said.
She stressed that their focus should instead be on delivering efficient service to residents while avoiding sideshows.
“The teething problems with regard to devolution are very clear. The basic one is understanding what devolution really is. There have been challenges in terms of interpreting the roles of various institutions,” she said.
“We have had situations where the County Assemblies have had differing views from those of the County Executives and those are just a matter of teething problems,” she added.
She indicated that the Devolution Ministry is in the process of initiating key reforms in the public service geared towards improving service delivery.
“Devolution is something new that we are implementing as a country right now. You have seen the issues and challenges that we had with regard to the payment of salaries and the delay that came with it, so teething problems are there but that is not to say that the country will not succeed in devolution,” she stated.
She further revealed that the ministry has launched the pilot phase of a monitoring programme of devolution conversations in social media.
The scheme dubbed ‘the Dashboard Project,’ aims to help the ministry be more familiar with the concerns of Kenyans on devolution.
Waiguru said the information will enable the ministry address issues on a more personal level.
“We are at the pilot phase and what it does is that it monitors the social media conversations and so for my ministry in particular, we are keener on seeing what people are saying especially on devolution so that we can be able to address the concerns that are raised. So it is just a monitoring tool,” she stated.
She said that the information gathered will enable the ministry develop key policies.
“We are just trying to adopt the existing technology to help us inform policy making and to make it more responsive to the needs of the Kenyan people.”