Call to Action

NCCK LOWER EASTERN REGION

PRESS STATEMENT

Preamble

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Lower Eastern Region held a Citizen Led Accountability forum here at ACK All Souls Cathedral, Machakos to reflect on the state of the SEKEB Counties, which include Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Kajiado. The forum included representatives from NCCK, KCCB, SUPKEM, SDA, IMLU, KNHCR and Machakos Civil Society Organizations

This meeting took note of the County performance report findings on the County government’s Budget Implementation Review Report for the Financial year 2022/23. In particular, it indicated that Machakos was one of the countries that had the lowest absorption rate of its development budget, at 42.5 percent. We acknowledge efforts by the Kajiado County Government for high own-source revenue generation in comparison to the other counties. We take note that Kitui and Makueni Counties had low revenue generation to sustain their budgets according to the controller of the budget annual report.

This is a worrying state of affairs, and there is an urgent need for action to address challenges that derail effective and efficient budget execution.

  1.  Times are tough, Improve service delivery

The Constitution of Kenya provides in Article 129 (2) that “Executive authority shall be exercised in a manner compatible with the principle of service to the people of Kenya, for their well-being and benefit”

To our Honorable Governors together with your administration, we acknowledge the efforts made towards fulfilling the promises you made to the people in Financial Year 2022/23. We look forward to improved service delivery and progressive development across the counties in the next four years through effective budget implementation. We recommend that:

  1. The County Treasury should ensure timely preparation and Submission of financial reports to the Office of the Controller of Budget in line with Section 166 of the PFM Act, 2012. Comprehensive financial reports should be availed on the county websites to enhance accountability and transparency.
  2. The Counties should address their own-source revenue performance to ensure the approved budget is fully financed. We recommend that more efforts should be made to ensure value chains are enhanced, experts are recruited to drive economic development, and local communities are supported to establish sustainable enterprises and income-generating activities.
  3. The County treasury should improve the vote book and budgetary control to ensure expenditure is within the approved budget.
  4. An increased absorption rate of development budget as stipulated in the CIDPs and in line with people’s priorities.
  5. The County leadership should address the pending bills to ensure genuine bills are paid promptly in the remaining financial year.
  6. All salaries are to be processed through the IPPD system. Counties should fast-track the acquisition of Unified Personnel Numbers for their staff to scrap the use of manual payroll.
  7. The national government should ensure timely disbursement of county funds to ensure effective service delivery in the Counties.

2. Uphold the Constitution of Kenya and Rule Law

We commend the County administrations for their continued public commitment to uphold the Constitution of Kenya in their work. It is in this context that we request the political and administrative leaders to lead the county governments in adhering to the Constitution and Laws of Kenya.

We are particularly alarmed at the intolerant relationship between the executive and some Members of the County Assembly. This has been witnessed in the verbal and physical attacks against each other. In the Constitution of Kenya, the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary were created separately to provide checks and balances to ensure justice. Progressively tearing down these boundaries results in a loss of confidence in the institutions of governance.

We plead with the leaders to bring to an end to the public attacks on each other. Where there is suspicion of corruption and misappropriation of funds, let the proper procedures be followed to have them investigated and necessary action taken. In the same breath, we urge that the County Assembly and any member of the public should be free to hold the Executive accountable as provided in the Constitution.

3. Cut Down on the Cost of Living

The biggest concern of the people of Kenya is the high cost of living. The soaring cost of commodities coupled with dwindling expendable income, has pushed more Kenyans below the poverty line. The collapse of businesses, both big and small, has exponentially raised unemployment levels in the country. This situation is unsustainable regardless of any macro-level economic measures being put in place.

To remedy this situation, we strongly recommend that Governors provide reprieve for the people by further lowering business permits and levies. This will provide a favorable business environment for growth, which will in turn increase tax income without unnecessarily aggravating the people.

4. Education; Safeguard the Future of our Learners

Recognizing the centrality of education in shaping the nation, we together with all Kenyans are deeply concerned about the admission of our children to universities and colleges. The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) website has been experiencing delays that have rendered most candidates unable to choose their preferred universities and colleges. A majority of them took to social media to express their frustrations over the server issue. We urge the Ministry of Education to promptly address this concern to ensure placement service is working closely with relevant stakeholders in the government to ensure that all applicants are enabled to submit their choices in the shortest time possible.

We take note of the good initiatives to advance ECDE learning across the Counties. We applaud Kitui and Makueni Counties for upgrading their ECDE teachers’ salaries to permanent and pensionable grades. We commend Machakos County for the ECDE milk project. This is a good initiative. We propose counties to adopt ECDE feeding programs that are sustainable and will increase school retention.

We are grateful that our children are closing school for their mid-term break. We request all caregivers to take care of their children during this school mid-term break. Moreover, we urge that all involved in the transport sector adhere to road safety guidelines and drive safely to minimize accidents.

5. In Conclusion

We wish to join Kenyans in condoling the families that lost their loved ones in the unfortunate accident at Katangi. We pray for comfort for the bereaved families and wellness for those affected.

To all residents, we urge us to evacuate yields from our farms to reduce post-harvest losses by utilizing proper storage technologies. We also urge farmers not to sell their yields at a throw-away price. Moreover, commence land preparation for March April May rains to increase food production.

To our County Government Administrations, we assure all governors of our continued prayers, that God will grant you wisdom, knowledge, and understanding as you lead his people.

God Bless Kajiado, God Bless Kitui

God Bless Makueni, God Bless Machakos

God Bless Kenya.

Signed on this 29th day of February 2024 at ACK All Souls Cathedral, Machakos

Bishop Joseph Mutungi

NCCK LE Chairman

Ali Asuman

SUPKEM Machakos

April 2024
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Contact Information

 

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