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Wamatangi calls on counties to engage public on policies

By Eric Wainaina
Wednesday, January 13th, 2021
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.
In summary

Counties have been told to fully engage and involve the public when crafting their respective plans and policies meant to guide their operations in order to ensure the projects they undertake are people-centred and the laws formulated reflect the needs of the people.

Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said in most cases, county executives and assemblies hold shoddy public participation forums just for formality’s sake  and as a way of rubber stamping projects, policies and regulations which they themselves have already decided on without the public’s input.

The lawmaker said he expects nothing short of accountability in the new leadership in Kiambu under Governor James Nyoro saying his office was keen to ensure prudent expenditure.

“I remain firm and committed in my oversight role, and expect the highest form of responsibility to Wanjiku by the current leadership in the county.

Our tomorrow is shaped by the things we do today, and cannot afford to lower our standards in governance, accountability and service delivery,” Wamatangi told People Daily in an interview yesterday.

Public participation

He said the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) should guide counties in the formation of annual budgets and laws meant to facilitate their realisation, adding that it’s one of the tools of enhancing accountability in expenditure.

The county laws, policies and budgets, the senator said, must also be crafted through a thorough public participation process, saying the public should be educated about them to ensure they participate and give views that are useful towards shaping development.

Wamatangi said county laws, policies and projects in a county should be guided by the needs of the people, saying the only way to identify the needs is through the views expressed during public participation.

“Public participation should be preceded by a discussion and information to the public so that they can understand the weight and value of what they are supposed to give and how it’s going to be used to affect their lives as far setting policies and laws is concerned,” Wamatangi said, adding counties should ensure public participation sittings are well attended.

He said only such arrangements can ensure that only useful developments and which are in tandem with the people’s needs are undertaken, and also guarantee accountability during their implementation.  

“Even if we agitate for more funds like we are doing with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), it will not be useful if the projects being done are not guided into the targeted use. 

In most cases, money flows to the grassroots, but on a journey that is not useful to the public because it does not focus on their needs since the projects (being implemented) were decided by people sitting in offices,” the senator added.

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