Monday, May 30, 2011

Reflections on Reforms

There is a pushing wind for reform in most countries of the world. This is particularly the case in developing countries and is often as a result of conditions for aid. most of the reform inititiatives are externally financed and at times driven. Lately there are other drives for not only reforming but actually transforming (the so called total overhaul of systems).

Experts seconded from the funding nations and institutions are to be seen working in government offices alongside the other officers so as to provide technical support. Though at times the actually do the actual day to day work. Kenya is a case in point where reform/transformation officers, desks, departments have put in place in virtually every ministry and government agency.

Whereas the idea of reform/transformation is good, it has concerned me that the approach taken may not always deliver. I hold dear that the process is as good as the end. I also hold dear that true change is one that is from inside out. there is need to think what role and place the officers in the departments that are being reformed should play, particularly because the sustainability of the said reforms actually depends on them. Could their lack of effective participation be the reason why reforms/transformation of systems seems to be taking for ever. But secondly, there is need to pay closer attention to the pioneer/flagbearers of the reforms. Are they persons in a reasonable position to make decisions and enforce them.

Reforms/transformation, need be institutionalised and all inclusive so as to ensure that they are sustained. They also need to focus on change of attitudes and not just creating new offices. The focus should be on the people and with sufficient incentives for change of behaviour.

Finally, reforms need to have a timeline drawn with the participation of all people concerned in the department in question. Whereas a visionary leader is needed at the top, a supportive team is need at the bottom.

In Service to God and My Country.