SIAYA COUNTY RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONSULTATIVE FORUM

Emerging Victorious Amidst Challenges

Press Statement

Preamble

On this 27th day of March 2024, We Religious leaders representing NCCK member churches in Siaya county have this morning met here at ACK_St. Peters Cathedral to reflect on the state of our county and the nation.

This forum has provided an opportunity for us to deliberate on several socio-economic and political scenarios that are emerging in our county.
We now wish to share the following message with the residents of Siaya County and the country in general.

  1. We are deeply concerned that, after more than 10 years of devolution and democratization of Kenya, we are yet to enjoy the fruits of devolution.
  2. The state of service delivery in the County of Siaya is unsatisfactory with complaints of favoritism, rampant corruption, and tribalism being reported amongst the residents. 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.
  3. Residents of Siaya County are going through tough economic times as a result of an increase in the cost of basic goods. 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 Siaya County. We have noted reduced business activity and closure of some businesses. The County Government of Siaya can support the business community by speedily operationalizing the Grants scheme to business groups in the County.
  4. 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 Siaya 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 lead and review the public participation bill and ensure that the objective and spirit of the public participation process are met.
  5. There has been a significant increase in cases of insecurity in the County due to local criminal gangs. The security apparatus needs to move with speed and rein in cases of killings, breakings, muggings, threats, and intimidation. We urge the County Security and Intelligence Committee to move with speed and enforce law and order across the county.
  6. THAT the County Assembly of Siaya 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 proxies, 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.
  7. Whereas we acknowledge the 5,000/= given to bursary beneficiaries, we have noted with concern the way bursaries are launched and disbursed to recipient beneficiaries without taking into consideration the cost-effective measures. We urge the county government to put regulations and measures, and structured mechanisms for bursary allocation and disbursement with a proposed minimum of 10,000 per recipient.
  8. We take note with a lot of concern that current political tension is being perpetrated by our politicians and has played out most in funerals and church functions. In as much as we recognize our leaders and politicians, we as the ecumenical council in Siaya County wish to state as follows:
    i. Funeral services or any other church functions are not arenas for political battles and we urge our member churches not to allow the sacredness of our pulpit to be defiled by politicians with ill motives.
    ii. We urge our politicians to respect our lines of engagement, for us churches we don’t interfere with their political events.
  9. We urge the parliament to expedite their engagements on the recommendations in the NADCO report to allow for its implementation since several issues addressed have been overtaken by time.

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 other 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 Siaya County and Kenya.

God Bless Siaya County! God bless Kenya!
Signed on this 26th Day of March 2024 at the ACK Diocese of Maseno West, Siaya County by:

Bishop Francis Ouma, FGCK

Rev. Dorothy Rose Ochieng, ACK

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