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Friday, 30 Dec 2016 13:28 EATrosemukonyo@yahoo.com
A bill seeking to compel current and future Machakos county governments to provide access to development information will be tabled on the floor of the county assembly early next year. The Machakos Development Information Bill will guarantee transparency in the use and flow of county financial resources in a bid to seal all loopholes of ‘devolved corruption’ if it becomes law.
The Bill also seeks to empower citizens to ask the right questions on various ways in which development funds are utilized in the spirit of extending their level and capacity of public participation in determination of affairs. Deputy governor Bernard Kiala, who has been conducting countywide civic education exercise dubbed ‘Ugatuzi na Kiala’ (devolution with Kiala) confirmed yesterday he had finalized the compilation of views by professionals and county residents in relation to the proposed Bill.
“Our aim is to have in place a legal and policy framework that will compel both present and future county governments to avail all information relating to public finance expenditure on all projects being undertaken,” he said. This, he said will be the only way to ensure transparent, accountable and efficient use of county public resources and minimal wastage or loss of the same.
Mr Kiala said fixing the lack of unencumbered access to information on public funded projects was critical in empowering the people of Machakos. “The rationale is to compel the current and future county executives to publish project level details on financial planning, procurement, implementation status, payments and evaluation of all development expenditure as a statutory requirement,” Kiala said
The deputy governor said through the proposed law, all development projects will be coded and their respective information updated on quarterly basis. “The projects will also be georeferenced and made publicly accessible through a website and a mobile Short Message Service (SMS) query service,” he said adding that project sign boards at Ward Administrators’ offices will be updated regularly with relevant information.
Ikombe MCA Nathaniel Nganga, who is expected to table the Bill when the assembly reconvenes early next year, said the law would go a long way in the fight against corruption and abuse of office. “Insertion of an individual’s portrait on project signboards as currently witnessed will be punishable under this law. Project signboards will henceforth have meaningful accountability information relating to its cost, source of funds, the contractor’s details, cumulative payments made, and so on,” said Mr Nganga who is also the assembly’s Deputy Speaker.
Last month, MCAs unsuccessfully moved a Motion of impeachment against Governor Alfred Mutua, who they accused of, among other things abuse of office and failure to set up effective financial audit mechanisms to curb theft or loss of public finances.
Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.