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Public participation key to enhancing service delivery

Devolution Principal Secretary, Teresia Mbaika has underscored the State Department’s commitment to a people driven and a deliberately inclusive participatory process, where citizen participation is at the core of policy and strategy development, selection as well as implementation of projects and programs.

Speaking during a Familiarization Retreat for Agencies and Departments under the purview of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Regional Development at Sawela Lodge, Naivasha, Mbaika added that meaningful participation of the people in decision making processes at both levels of government has gone a long way in enhancing service delivery to the Citizens.

The PS noted that “Kenya’s constitutional dispensation places sacred premium to public participation, consultation and cooperation”, adding that “the Devolved System of Government is anchored on this principle of consultation, cooperation and coordination.”

Mbaika reiterated that the State Department has been in the forefront in providing the necessary policy and administrative environment for Devolution to flourish in the country.

She emphasized that Devolution is working for Kenyans despite serious challenges that have been experienced and documented, “including attempts at clawing back to centralization and re-centralizing at County Headquarters.

The PS, however, stated that the State Department for Devolution is alert to such challenges and has put in place various mitigation measures, adding that the Department shall continue to “provide policy leadership, facilitation and coordination through continuous and sustained stakeholder consultation, collaboration and cooperation.”

She urged the Departmental Committee on Regional Development to support the devolution sector in getting the necessary resources as the success of devolution requires huge resources for continuous civic education, structured capacity building initiatives, highly committed personnel, institutions and organizations.

The PS thanked the Departmental Committee for the existing cordial relations, adding that to further enhance the relations between the two, a Liaison Officer has been appointed so as to create a seamless link for timely consultations with the National Assembly and the Senate.

While making his remarks, the Chairperson of the Department Committee on Regional Development Peter Lochakapong, said the familiarization Retreat had been organized so as to create synergies between the Committee and the Agencies and Departments under its purview.

He added that the Committee seeks to understand the operations and the strategic direction of the MDAs especially their goals, strategies, key priorities, new projects, challenges and emerging issues like the on-going drought.

Lochakapong, who is also the Sigor MP, added that the Committee also seeks to explore opportunities and lay groundwork for future cooperation and support.

He noted that his Committee was aware of the challenges faced by the agencies among them being: Underfunding in terms of resource allocation, which has negatively affected their operations, leading to stalled projects and huge historical bills.

He noted that the implementation of programs and projects remains the cornerstone for citizen engagement and assured the agencies of the Committee’s continued support in addressing the challenges they were facing.

By Kihika Kimani

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