The 5th Annual Devolution Conference held at Kakamega High School, Kakamega County was a success. It witnessed record attendance from the national and county governments, the corporate world and the civil society. The attendance was an affirmation of the faith that people have in devolution.
For the first time in the history of the Devolution conference, the youth were given a chance to participate. This was premised upon the need to involve the youth in all aspects of devolution as they are our future leaders thus the need for them to be well versed in governance issues in the devolved structures.
However, a vital link was missing- the common mwananchi. This is something I would wish that the organizers of this forum- My Ministry, Council of Governors, County Assemblies Forum and the Senate- need to deliberate and see how best the voice of the common man can also be heard during these fora.
In addition, several resolutions were made in line with the conference theme, “Sustainable, Productive and Efficient Governments for Results Delivery” to guide both the National Government and County Governments in delivering on the Big Four Agenda. I want to assure all parties involved in the implementation of these resolutions that my Ministry will be in the forefront and will give the necessary support to achieve the desired goals.
I want to urge all those who have been assigned various tasks to adhere to the set timelines as we endevour to enhance the devolution experience in the country. Let me reiterate that we will consult and collaborate with all stakeholders to reach a common consensus before implementation of any decision.
During the conference, we resolved that counties shall adopt effective public participation approaches that genuinely engage citizens in determining their development priorities. This is the essence of devolution. Kenyans overwhelmingly voted for the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, because they wanted to be key drivers in the development of their country. Let us not disappoint them.
My Ministry has developed Public Participation Guidelines that have already been shared with the counties. It is my hope that these guidelines will serve as pointers while engaging with members of the public. In case there is any county that needs capacity building in this area, we are ready and willing to offer the same.
We also resolved that counties should learn from one another and adopt solutions that are already working in other counties as part of knowledge sharing and best practices. Let us recognize, applaud, support and adopt innovations that are already bearing fruits in other counties for the benefit of our people instead of reinventing the wheel. For this to happen, we must document what we are doing and share our success stories. As a Ministry, we will support you in these efforts.
The Ministry is also collaborating with various Development Partners to implement a number of programmes to support devolution in the country. Some of the key programmes are: the Kenya Devolution Support Programme(KDSP) that is being implemented in the 47 counties and the Instruments for Devolution Advice and Support (IDEAS) that is being implemented in 15 counties of Uasin Gishu, Makueni, Migori, Wajir, Samburu, Kwale, Kisumu, Marsabit, Taita Tavetta, Tana River, Laikipia, Nyandarua, West Pokot, Baringo and Kisii.
I note with satisfaction that most of the projects being implemented under the two programmes will support the Big Four Agenda and will go a long way towards enhancing food security and manufacturing in the country through value addition.
We are in the process of finalizing the development of Intergovernmental Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Regulations in a bid to resolve conflicts before resorting to judicial interventions. The Ministry is also undertaking the comprehensive Review of the County Government Act, 2012 and the Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2012 for more harmonious existence and cooperation among the various parties and to address various concerns and gaps in the two legislations.
As I conclude, I want to reaffirm my commitment and that of my Ministry in fostering harmonious relations with the counties. Let us all work together to foster development and improve service delivery for our people.