Loading...


By KARANJA KABAGE
More by this Author

Last year, Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku presented a report card to mark his first annual report. This has never been done by any of his contemporaries.

The significance of Lenku’s action is the singular recognition of a higher calling to the people of his county.

What he did, though not specifically required by the Constitution, is implied and henceforth should be an imperative for every governor to present a macro annual report of projects and programmes.

The import of the governor’s action offers a yardstick for monitoring and evaluation of performances of his administration consistent with Article 6 of the Constitution on devolution and access to services.

One of the major landmarks of the 2010 Constitution is the implementation of devolution to facilitate quick and impactful service delivery at county level.

This is why county governments receive substantial budgetary allocations from the National Treasury annually over and above revenues they generate.

Worthy of note is that despite the finite nature of resources, a lot can be achieved, as Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana has so ably demonstrated.

Article 73 requires all decisions and actions to be underpinned with discipline, commitment and accountability to the public by their elected leaders.

Certainly this is the wisdom and forethought that informed the architects of our Constitution to include Chapter 11 in recognising that devolution is the surest way to accelerate development across our nation.

However, it is equally one of the weakest interfaces in the sense that so much resources are being transferred and generated at the county level but with less than expected results and accountability.

The President, under Article 132 of the Constitution, is obliged to address the nation at least once every year and offer a comprehensive report on specific areas, but there is no similar express constitutional requirement for governors.

Loading...

However, viewed against the spirit and totality of the Constitution, it is expected that the same should apply to governors.

For instance, it is mandatory for the Cabinet Secretary of National Treasury to present an annual national budget to the joint session of Parliament.

Equally the county executive committee members responsible for Finance must present well-publicised budget proposals to the county assemblies.

At the moment, these are low-key events in counties with little public participation or knowledge.

The Senate should accordingly enact legislation to that effect. This will provide the residents of counties opportunity of knowing how resources are utilised.

Governor Lenku set a bold and accountable example. He should be commended for outlining the gains and shortcomings vis-à-vis the promises he made to voters.

As a lesson, Kenyans must proactively hold their governors to account, otherwise we cannot be relying on the Auditor General’s annual reports that are almost two years too late to know of the prudential management or otherwise of the resources generated.

It is the civic duty of citizens to scrutinise performance of their counties by measuring how their standards of living are impacted by the programmes undertaken by the county government.

One such obligation is to understand what is allocated to development and recurrent expenditures.

This is because most governors have either inherited or created huge bureaucracies, turning counties into employment exchanges and dens of nepotism.

This scenario must not be allowed to take root because it is tantamount to betrayal of the sovereignty of the people and supremacy of the spirit and letter of our Constitution



Loading...