The UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, has highlighted the importance of involving all citizens, civil society and other stakeholders in the devolution process during a speech to delegates at the 5th Annual Devolution Conference at Kakamega High School.
Speaking yesterday on behalf of Kenya’s international development partners, Mr Hailey said:
“This country took in its 2010 Constitution the ambitious and highly significant choice of embracing devolution. The international community on whose behalf I speak today is your partner in making devolution work for all Kenyans.
“People often tell me that devolution has made a bigger difference to their lives than any other single event or process, and an overwhelmingly positive one. Devolution has a vital part to play in delivering Vision 2030, SDGs and the Big Four Agenda.
“No five year-old institution or indeed person has worked everything out yet, and we should not be surprised that devolution in Kenya still needs to address some significant challenges to realise its full potential.”
Mr Hailey went on to say that the development partners welcomed the political discussion in the country since 9 March, describing them as vital.
“But there is need for all Kenyans to engage in open and transparent discussions to make the country move forward,” he added.
The High Commissioner also called on Kenyans to ensure such discussions strengthen institutions, and deepen respect for the rule of law and the Constitution which he said would give the people an “equal stake in their own country.”
He went on to say that Kenya’s shift in the political arena should give leaders and all citizens an opportunity to focus on the Constitution and the rule of law as a framework for sharing rights, justice and fairness.
On the subject of devolution, he revealed that development partners have supported the country with more than Ksh10 billion over the last seven years ago.
Mr Hailey, who was accompanied at the conference by Department for International Development Kenya Head, Pete Vowles, also appealed to County Assemblies to lead the fight against corruption.
“There must be efficient expenditure to fight corruption and ensure service delivery,” he said, adding that he backed sustained public participation in the drafting of plans and budgets.