Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking to secure his legacy with the establishment of a committee to oversee structured implementation of development programmes and projects.
Four years to the end of his term in office, President Uhuru has constituted the National Development Implementation and Communication Committee whose key mandate will be to supervise the execution of government programmes.
In particular, the committee will be required to ensure effective implementation of the Big Four agenda projects — food security, manufacturing, affordable housing and affordable healthcare — which are at the heart of Uhuru’s desired legacy.
The move is aimed at increasing efficiency and delivery of public projects, better utilisation of funds, reduction of wastage of resources and gatekeeping.
Fred Matiang’i, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, has been named chairperson of the committee with National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich as the vice chairperson.
“The committee will provide supervisory leadership throughout the delivery cycle of all national government programmes and projects,” said the president in an executive order.
He added that the committee will also monitor and evaluate the follow-up mechanisms for resources allocated for national government priority programmes and projects to ensure proper utilisation and realisation of the targeted outcomes.
The committee brings on board all Cabinet secretaries, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
Notably, as the chair of the committee, Mr Matiang’i will report directly to the president, something that has raised eyebrows vis-à-vis the role of Deputy President William Ruto who has been supervising government development projects across the country.
Observers perceive the reorganisation as a move to reduce Mr Ruto’s influence at a time when political alignments and re-alignments that will define Kenyatta’s succession are taking shape.
Under the Big Four agenda, President Uhuru has outlined key projects whose implementations are central in securing his legacy, which risks being shrouded by accusations of economic mismanagement, corruption and rising poverty levels.
The programmes and projects are, however, facing challenges largely in terms of financing due to dwindling revenues amid ballooning recurrent expenditures, a scenario that has forced the government to borrow heavily.
The central roles of the committee will include monitoring and evaluation, a follow-up mechanism for resources allocated for priority programmes and projects to ensure proper use and realisation of targeted outcomes.
Other tasks will involve ensuring co-ordinated strategic communications to the public and other stakeholders in the progress of government programmes and projects.
President Kenyatta has also established the National Development Implementation Technical Committee comprising 14 principal secretaries. The technical committee will propose budgetary provisions in annual ministerial budgets and medium-term expenditure framework for priority initiatives and draw up an implementation calendar for projects across the country.
It will also prepare accurate monthly progress reports on government projects and report to the Matiang’i-led cabinet committee.