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Governor supporting journalism report on devolution

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa has heeded to the call from Journalists to set up an Annual Media Awards Grant to support journalists report on devolution matters

The Governor expressed willingness as he ordered his county executive team and chief officers to be available to share information to journalists whenever they request for the same.

He said his Government will operate on an open door policy to ensure that county residents get information for development.

Speaking to Journalists at a Kakamega Hotel, Governor Barasa noted that Kakamega is a frontier county with many development projects and tourism attraction sites that need to be reported.

He said the constant appearance of the county in the media is an indication that the county’s leadership voice is given priority whenever we have a national discussion noting that they will continue to convene meetings with Journalists to have a conversation on how the county is progressing.

Governor Barasa noted that among the milestones made by the county administration that took over in August 2022, was reorganization of the county leadership to put in place a team that is accountable to the people of Kakamega.

“We have also reorganized the budget since we inherited a budget from the previous administration. In the next one week we shall publish our score card,” he said.

The Governor acknowledged the role of the media which is critical to inform, educate and entertain the public and his administration will partner with the media to drive his six-point agenda.

“We are accountable to the public and this can only be achieved if we give space to the media to operate freely,” he noted.

However, he said that he understands the media is like a double aged sword welcoming criticisms, while calling on journalists to always seek a balanced approach in their reporting by seeking both sides of the sources for their stories.

“In the next five years, my administration will partner with the media personnel and sharpen their skills in reporting factual stories. We will engage both the National Media houses and local stations spread across the county,” he added.

“We shall give all media an equal opportunity. We are starting a programme where CEC’s and Chief officers will appear on local stations on a weekly basis to discuss county development matters and engage with the audience,” the governor noted.

At the same time, the CEC for ICT, e-Government and Communication Rachel Carol Atamba urged journalists to provide quality information that will add value to the residents.

The initiative by the county government to engage journalists is part of a commitment made in line with article 35 of the Kenyan constitution on access to information by all citizens.

The Commission on Administrative Justice (Office of Ombudsman) has repeatedly encouraged public servants holding public offices to comply with the Access to Information Act.

The Commission observes that the Government is a trustee to Kenyans and acts as a custodian to collect, package, store, retrieve and disseminate information to Kenyans whenever they make a request.

The commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Council of Governors(COG) to ensure public servants in counties embrace a culture of open governance.

Kakamega has gone further to set up an office of ombudsman at the county headquarters by preparing a County Administrative Justice Bill 2021 which was subjected to public participation in October 2021.

By Moses Wekesa



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