Opinion: Listen county governments, you can only cut your coat according to your clothe!
By Andy Munyoki
Kenyans are continually expressing their dissatisfaction with the state of affairs at county governments with the devolved units having entered their second phase after the August 8, 2017 general elections.
A section of voters are worried the devolution dream may be gradually losing its tenacity following heartbreaking reports of massive thievery, deep rooted corruption and other improprieties reported at counties.
Many are of the opinion that a number of counties are led by impractical and profligate politicians who continue contravening the constitution with their laxity and failure to uphold the rule of law owing to their imprudence in management.
That county governments have continually failed to honour and further the dream of devolution is no question. The question rather is what exactly ails county governments in their seventh year of continuation?
Many believe a section of county leaderships continue to miss the point during identification, initiation and implementation of development projects and programs in their respective counties.
And thus, many counties continue to shoot their arrows in the wild without aiming to make any particular kill.
There also seems to lack a clear and concise plan of priorities, coordination and continuity for furtherance of the development agenda at the counties.
The model of development in some counties continues to receive flak amid growing resentment and disapproval by residents who have now chosen to stick to the “Hakuna kitu inaendelea” pithy maxim instead.
So why is there a wind of “nothing is happening at the counties” flowing even when governors are shown in the local media cutting tapes to launch new projects every passing day?
The answer is simply in prioritization of the projects under implementation. Does the respective average county resident consider them urgent and important?
It is worth noting that it is not just enough for county governments to roll out development projects in their devolved units, the projects must meet a certain threshold of transformation to gain any legitimacy.
That threshold must be life changing and the projects implemented must transcend the commonness of government projects launched and implemented in the days of yore.
Why? Because there must be a clear understanding of locals’ pressing needs which leaves a county’s leadership with no choice but to tailor its programmes in respect to the needs of its people as charged by the constitution in Article 176 (2) thus
“Every county government shall decentralize its functions and the provision of its services to the extent that it is efficient and practical to do so”
What lacks at the counties therefore is simply a commitment by its leaders to cut the coat in accordance to the cloth!
County governments must therefore rise to the occasion and bridge the development gap by getting their priorities right.