THE STATE OF BUSIA COUNTY AND NATION: A CALL TO ACTION

PRESS STATEMENT

We, the religious leaders under the umbrella body of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) have met on this 20th day of February 2024 at the ACK Alupe Parish, Katakwa Diocese to deliberate and review the prevailing socioeconomic and political state of the Nation and County and reflect on the ongoing constitutional and democratic governance processes with a view of providing pastoral guidance to the duty bearers and right holders for a successful and prosperous nation and county.    

Our broad discussions are geared towards improving accountability and transparency in service delivery; highlighting the challenges affecting our people; strengthening the rule of law and promoting peaceful co-existence and cohesion among all county residents.

Our discussions have been guided by the words of the Holy Scripture in Ezekiel 3: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.

In respect of the above we humbly wish to share the following message:

  1. The state of service delivery in the County of Busia is unsatisfactory with complaints of favoritism, rampant corruption, and tribalism being reported amongst the residents.  While it has been 18 months since the new administration took office, there is a huge disparity between the commitments made and the actual implementation work being done. The most affected sector is health, with reports of a lack of essential medical drugs and equipment in most facilities forcing residents to seek medical treatment in neighboring counties. We urge H.E. the Governor to move with speed and rally his government officers to raise the bar on service delivery.
  2. Residents of Busia County are going through tough economic times as a result of an increase in the cost of basic goods and the high cost of fuel. This has affected most households with Kenyans struggling to put meals on the table. The rising cost of living has brought stress and mental anguish to families across the board especially the vulnerable and poor. Learners from poor backgrounds have not been able to report back to school for lack of school fees and school dropout rates will increase.  Similarly, the harsh economic situation has affected local businesses in Busia County. We have noted reduced business activity, closure of some businesses, and relocation of others to neighboring Uganda. The County Government of Busia can support the business community by speedily operationalizing the Grants scheme to business groups in the County.
  3. We note that the Constitution provides for inclusive participation of the public in constitutional and democratic governance processes at the County level up to the village level. This includes effective public participation in policy formulation, budgeting, planning, and implementation processes. However, the public participation process in Busia County is fundamentally flawed. The public is not adequately communicated to, attendance is restricted to only a few people and the county officials undertake public participation as a public relations exercise to meet the legal requirement. This has resulted in loss of social accountability, lack of public goodwill, and apathy among county residents. We urge H.E. the Governor to review the public participation bill and ensure that the objective and spirit of the public participation process are met.
  4. There has been a significant increase in cases of insecurity in the County due to local criminal gangs and militia. The security apparatus needs to move with speed and rein in cases of killings, break-ins, muggings, threats, and intimidation. We urge the County Security and Intelligence Committee to move with speed and enforce law and order within Busia town and in the most affected areas like Bunyala.
  5. THAT the County Assembly of Busia is the legal body with the mandate of providing oversight to the county executive and ensuring proper service delivery to the residents of the County. However, most members of the County Assembly have abdicated their roles and become complicit in the ills being undertaken in the County. Some of them have become contractors through proxy-taking tenders to implement projects. How can one be the implementer and at the same time the monitor of the same project? This sad state of affairs has led to incomplete projects, poor workmanship, and loss of public funds. We urge that a proper Monitoring and Evaluation framework be put in place to avoid conflict of interest and ensure value for money on projects delivered
  6. We note with sadness the ongoing political utterances led by H.E. the President on the conduct of judicial officers and threats of not honoring court decisions and judgments, especially in matters that go against the Government’s agenda. This is unfortunate and will encourage impunity, lawlessness, and a breakdown of law and order. Respect for court orders is a hallmark of a civilized society and the president swore to protect and defend the rule of law and the constitution. We urge that due process should be followed in all government functions and programs. On the same note, we urge H.E. the President of Kenya to listen to the people of Kenya, especially on implementing programs in which people have expressed their discontent and reservations. He should be accommodative and avoid confrontational leadership.

Conclusion

We the religious leaders are the voice of reason in the county and we advocate for meaningful change in our society. We call upon all religious leaders to unite and speak with courage on the social issues affecting our communities without fear or favour.  We remain open to a facilitative dialogue with our county and national leaders to find a solution to the various issues that are of concern to Busia County and Kenya.

God Bless Busia County! God bless Kenya!

Signed on this 20th Day of February 2024 at Busia County by

Rt. Rev. John Okude

CCC Chairperson

Major Robert Okeiga

CCC Vice-chairperson

June 2024
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Contact Information

 

  • Address: 3rd Fr, Jumuia Place, Lenana road, Nairobi
  • Address: P. O. Box 45009 – 00100, Nairobi
  • Tel: 254202721249
  • Fax: 25420728748
  • Email: gsoffice@ncck.org
  • Website: http://www.ncck.org