Projects stalling over inaccurate reports - Matiang'i

In Summary

• Some national projects are left half way due to lack of communication.

• Funds and other resources get wasted in the process.

Interior CS Fred Matiangi in Upper Hill, Nairobi, on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
Interior CS Fred Matiangi in Upper Hill, Nairobi, on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
Image: VICTOR IMBOTO.

Bureaucracy is the greatest enemy of progress in Kenya, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has said.

Speaking at a press conference in Mombasa on Friday, Matiang’i said sometimes a simple document needs seven signatures when it could be seen by two people and moved forward.

“This bureaucracy becomes a hideout for inefficiency, incompetency and theft of public resources,” he said.

Matiang’i also spoke about the discrepancies in the reporting of the status of various projects by some government officials.

He said this misreporting leads to a loss of opportunities because the differences in the information that is being given and the differences on the ground can lead to a loss of resources.

"I was in Meru four weeks ago where there are 213 national projects, in certain cases some that are reflected in our budget books that are being constructed just don’t exist, they are not there but they are reflected in the books that we spent resources on them and they are being built.”

Matiang'i said many problems in the country are rooted in poor co-ordination and inter-branch relationships.

He said the Executive sometimes has shortcomings engaging with the Legislative branch of the government.

“It is time for us to carefully reflect as a young country that’s dynamic and growing; it’s time for us to reflect on inter-branch relationships. It is time for us to understand that our Constitution provides for three branches of government,” Matiang'i said.

He said it is important that all three branches – the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary – start communicating with each other to increase efforts on development.  

“We [have to] start building a culture of synergising our efforts and reducing the culture of adversary relationships that we build because they affect the manner in which we deliver on development and the way in which we move forward.”

As another means of improvement in national development, he said that it is important that ministers who work in the same building meet over a cup of tea to discuss matters instead of writing letters, to save time.

“There are several members of Parliament before who have served as Cabinet ministers before and they know the realities that we are talking about, and time is lost because everyone is working in a corner and this was actually the basis upon which the president issued executive order Number 1 of 2019.”

He also addressed the loss of funds, using Isiolo as an example. He said the county’s security team told him that damns that were being constructed had to be halted halfway because it was suddenly realised that the geo-technical survey was not conducted before hand.

“Therefore the actual construction cannot happen, resources have been lost in the process, and a lot of money has been lost in the process, because we do not coordinate with each other.”

He said this lack of coordination would lead to weak performance, poor management and to key role players not doing their job.

“This is also a serious challenge that we face in national development and I’m making this case because this is the more reason why we need better coordinating.”

He said the reason the President formed a coordination framework is so that all the branches begin to have conversations with each other and the rationale for that is that they have more effective decision making and problem solving.

“There is bottom up reporting on national government projects, so that the chief and the assistant chief and the members of parliament who are the people that interact with this project can tell the truth.”