Sunday, March 1, 2015

What exactly is happening in county governments?

I have been thinking a lot about our (Kenyan) devolved system of government, that we chose for ourselves after centralization was deemed to have failed us for the last 50 years. About 2 years ago we went to the ballot and voted in the first County Government's executive and legislators. They all campaigned on a platform of transforming, bringing life and turning all that had gone wrong. Two years down and we have mixed opinions about them.

I am still convinced that we made a good choice to choose a devolved system where decision making is closer to the people. I hoped then and still do now that this would provide a mechanism of holding the office holders to account for their actions and also to respond promptly to the needs of the people.

Quick reminder of why we opted for a devolved system: To improve representation of the people in decision making, to enhance accountability in the use of public space and resources, to facilitate equitable allocation and use of the available resources and above all to improve service delivery in all this parts of the republic. is this happening? how do we know?

Can we rely on the county websites for information? This seems not to be the case, according to a review of all the 47 county websites by the International Budget Partnership . There is lots of information that is not online and we are not sure where else to find it. Can counties provide this information as we are keen to know what is happening?

But why should access to county information concern us? At the least it shows that the county has nothing to hide as to its plans for using the public resources. It also directs public attention of where they should expect to see the next projects. In so doing the county government would be inviting the public to hold them accountable. Not availing this information only raises concerns that maybe all is not well and thus the secrecy. This is even made worse when the services provided by the county do not satisfy the least of expectations. when the said county governments are put on the spot not even their own citizens can defend them when they have limited idea of what is going on.

So can the county governments give us more information?

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