Meru residents have lamented over poor access to government information from both the national and county government departments.
Presenting their views to the Makali Taskforce on Government Information and Public Communications, the residents said they were being starved of important information being held by government departments hence rendering them unable to make informed decisions.
The residents revealed how they had started to rely on social media and Google to seek significant government information on various services citing deficient communication strategies.
The Meru County Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairperson, Ms. Mary Kanana Nteere told the taskforce members led by Prof. Marej Mak’Ochieng that the residents lacked information on who, between the county and the national government was in charge of various government projects.
Ms. Nteere said residents were always getting confused even leading to demonstrations.
“Many people in Meru have very little adequate information on what the national government and county governments are doing. This has caused conflicts even leading to demonstrations because they do not know what roles these two governments are supposed to perform,” Ms. Ntere presented.
She noted that distribution of resources to benefit the common person citizens had become a source of conflict due to lack of information on the roles of national and county governments.
“We need information made public on what each Member of Parliament in Meru County is doing for us to ask questions because public resources are being used. Periodical publications should be made available on all CDF projects,” she suggested.
Murej Mak’Ochieng and Robin Njogu who are members of the taskforce said they were supposed to collect views from residents and make recommendations on how to improve communication channels between government and residents.
They said in order to complete the job by July 19, the taskforce has divided itself into various groups which are visiting different counties.
Prof. Mak’Ochieng’ said before they embarked on county visits, they had held meetings with officials in different ministries.
Mak’Ochieng underscored the value of information noting that both the national and county governments would benefit from the taskforce findings expected to be tabled to ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru this month.
“The government feels residents are not getting information they need and want to improve the communication channels,” he added.
The National government administrators in the forum expressed concern that they were getting information from the government posted on social media before even they learn of it formerly.
“There is a communication gap that we need to bridge. We will sit down and do a report on how communication between the government and residents can be improved,” said Njogu.
By Richard Muhambe