The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has challenged counties to embrace good governance in order to promote prudent resource utilisation, enhance economic growth and eradicate poverty.
APRM Council Member Elias Mbau says County governments must ensure, among others, inclusivity, public participation, and gender equality is achieved in their respective jurisdictions for the benefit of wananchi.
He spoke at a meeting with stakeholders among them youth, women, and government representatives drawn from different parts of Kitui County on Wednesday at the Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) in Kitui.
Mbau called on counties to agree to be subjected to the same mechanism through a tool devised by APRM to help Governors manage resources allocated by the national government prudently.
“The County Integrated Plan is implemented after a thorough public scrutiny and when the peer review is done in December, counties will have an opportunity to tell their stories objectively,” Mbau said.
He noted that the synergy between the two arms of government will definitely help in deepening general government responsiveness to public demands on the national and county levels as well as entrench the culture of openness in Kenya.
Nimo Maimuna, APRM Board Member, said that the ambition is to cascade APRM governance principles to the counties across the country and allow Governors to peer-review each other during a National Peer Review Conference after having gone through an objective, participatory process.
“The overarching objective is to improve service delivery performance linked to the local development plans that are co-created and implemented with the public throughout the annual country planning and budget cycles,” said Maimuna.
She noted that the peer review mechanism provides technological know how to enhance citizen engagement; innovative thinking on resolving inclusion, transparency and accountability challenges and stringent timelines that push government and civil society actors to take action and report on their achievements faster.
Kenya is the first country in Africa to apply the methods used in the African Peer Review Mechanism to strengthen its devolved governance system.
According to Maimuna, the Mechanism, which was pioneered by countries including Kenya, has seen African Nations review each other on governance and economic policies leading to improvements in performance in all participating countries.
Kenya will set the pace in cascading the peer review mechanism to strengthen the efficient delivery of services at the County Government’s level.
“Kenya will be among the first countries to customize the APRM mechanism to the second tier of governance and I believe this will foster democratic dialogue between leaders and citizens in the delivery of services,” said Maimuna.
Peter Kimemia, Director APRM/Governance, said Kenya will continue subjecting itself to peer reviews and is ready for the third APRM.
Kimemia noted that the milestones mentioned in the second review include the promulgation of the constitution of Kenya in 2010 and the establishment of the devolved system of government (County Governments) which has progressively resolved issues of perceived marginalization.
“I urge Kenyans to dissect the report and adopt it. It is addressing similar issues raised by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to ensure the country does not relapse into post election violence every general election cycle,” he said.
By Yobesh Onwong’a