Prioritise fight against corruption,Kenya urged

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UK High Commissioner to Kenya & chair of Devolution Donor Working Group, Mr. Nic Hailey when he visited Kitui County exhibition stand at the 5th Devolution conference in Kakamega on April 24,2018.

The national and county government leaders have been asked by Kenya’s main donors, the UK and US, to review laws concerning partnerships to solve delays and reduce corruption.

Speaking during the Fifth Devolution Conference opened in Kakamega, the UK and the US donors said devolution would work well if the leadership worked to solve unnecessary delays and improved accounting for disbursed funds.

US Ambassador Robert Godec said, “I see, as a result of devolution, clinics being built, roads being built, services being delivered. But there are big challenges. There are inefficiencies and there are issues around corruption in some counties,”

“Improving services to the people is important, so I hope this conference will address these issues. I think in this devolution conference, leaders can take a look at the frameworks for public-private partnerships. There are improvements that can be made. There is a lot of potential in these partnerships, but some change is needed,” Robert added.

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The donors are concerned about the law on public private partnership (PPP), which states that any partnership agreement with a county government involving foreign entities be approved by the national Treasury, which also acts as a guarantor.

This is meant to increase the credibility of the agreements and allow public opinion.But some governors have termed that as putting them at the mercy of the national government.

Nic Hailey,British High commissioner said that the situation could be solved by improving inter-governmental relationships instead of amending the law.

“It is really important that corruption be dealt with because if money gets diverted for personal gain or patronage, I call that theft. If they fix that, devolution will work effectively,” Hailey said.

Training workshops on governance and efficient electoral management in the counties have been organized by his government.

“It is for Kenyans to work out the structure but one positive thing about this conference is that both the national and county governments have agreed to come together,” He said.

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“I think it will be important for county and national governments to find ways of bringing projects to fruition. I don’t think that it is necessarily a problem with the law. I think it is a question of human relations,” he added.

The two organizations are Kenya’s biggest donors in health, education and other social amenities through bodies such as USAid and the UK Funds programmes.

President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke after this and urged county government leaders to work together with the national government to prevent delays.

President Kenyatta said it was time leaders learnt from previous mistakes to stop inefficiency as he spoke through a video link.

“We will not entertain any delays in providing resources, nor will I tolerate waste and corruption. People will be sacked. There are other Kenyans ready to take up those jobs. All we expect from civil servants is deliverables,”he said.

“We have covered Wanjiku, and I don’t want to hear that she came to hospital and there was no aspirin for her or no doctor to attend to her. We want to see clear budgets and priorities devoted to the health of your people,” he added.

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