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Stakeholders want residents to embrace public participation

Lamu residents have been urged to actively participate in the formulation of the County Integrated Development Forum during public barazas to ensure their development concerns are addressed.

Speaking during the third County Integrated Development Programme for 2022-2027 forum for Ward Administrators held in Lamu Island, Muslim Women Advancement of Rights and Protection Lamu Coordinator Umulkheir Ahmed noted that public participation forums within the county usually have a low turnout leading to development concerns not being captured adequately.

She noted, Lamu residents’ views will aid the county plan for key sectors such as tourism, agriculture, education and urban development and planning for which Lamu is in dire need of addressing.

“Public feedback will go a long way towards aiding the county government come up with a “Mwananchi” centered budget, which has not always been the case in the past,” the MWARP official said.

She said that it is through the public barazas that the public can hold its county government accountable for failure to implement projects that are most needed within their communities.

“The public needs to be aware of the importance of participating in the CIDP forums, as they are platforms through which the county government can be able to capture the needs of various ward areas,” she said.

Umulkheir stated that most wards especially those within Lamu East have in the past been shortchanged with some development projects implemented not resonating with the residents living in the various areas.

Sentiments echoed by Faza Action Group Programme Officer Jaffar Masoud, who noted that the county government needs to take into account the sentiments of residents seriously, rather than putting up projects that later have no impact within the communities they are set up.

“In Mbwajumwali location, the county government built a social hall on an alleged ancient burial site despite numerous protests by the public for the hall not to be built there,” he said, adding that today the social hall lies abandoned and is not being used.

He further stated that the county government needs to take seriously implementation of projects especially in far flung areas.

County Finance CEC Abdu Godana on his part urged Lamu residents to participate in the CIDP barazas noting that they would aid the county executive plan for projects that would have the most impact within the next five years.

“By law, the county government is required to collect the sentiments of its residents to carry out a five-year budgetary plan for development projects,” he said.

He revealed that with Lamu County receiving an average of Sh 3.3 billion annually, the smallest allocation out of all the counties in the country.

Lamu was in July named among 19 counties who spent less than 20 per cent of its annual development budget in the 2021/2022 financial year.

By Amenya Ochieng

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