MACHEL WAIKENDA: Why good policies fall flat

'Kenya is renowned for having the best policies, helping it attract investors, but they always fail for one reason or another.'
'Kenya is renowned for having the best policies, helping it attract investors, but they always fail for one reason or another.'

Once upon a time, a lion would prowl about a field in which four oxen lived. Many times he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them.

At last, however, they started quarrelling among themselves and each went off to pasture alone in separate corners of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

This story illustrates where we are as a country. We keep talking and mostly at each other, but even more often about the plans that we have. All this time we keep ourselves distracted from the important things that we need to do.

Kenya is renowned for having the best policies, helping it attract investors, but they always fail for one reason or another. The same policies seem to work well in other countries where they have been implemented.

Back home the policies are either not implemented well, or not implemented at all. For instance, we have fallen behind in the implementation of Vision 2030 as most projects have not taken off.

Currently we are all talking of the Big Four agenda, which is supposed to elevate the country further into a middle-income economy. All these as we speak are on paper. It is time we stopped talking and politicking and focussed on implementing the plan.

What the national and county governments must do is take stock of the policies and strategies in place. We must stop the culture of constantly planning and move to an era of effective implementation.

Last week, the President formed a committee to oversee implementation of the projects. This is a great move that will ensure that the government delivers on its mandate before the next election.

Issuing the Executive Order, the President said it aims at providing a framework for facilitating effective oversight, coordination, implementation, administration and supervision of government development programmes and projects.

Already, there are people who are politicising this order instead of focusing on its goals and how they are to be implemented. There are those who view it as a power play while all Wanjiku wants is delivery of services and development in her neighborhoods.

The President put in place a mechanism for forming committees at all levels of government.

At the national level we have the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee and the National Development Implementation Technical Committee. The first brings together all the Cabinet Secretaries and the other all the Principal Secretaries.

We then have eight Regional Development Implementation Co-ordination Committees and 47 County Development Implementation Co-ordination Committees. The National Government Administration Officers run these.

The teams that have been appointed to carry out this mandate must diligently deliver, especially the county and regional commissioners who must identify priorities in their areas.

We should therefore not get reports from various parts of the country that projects have stalled. These committees have been mandated to monitor and evaluate follow-up mechanisms for resources allocated to priority programmes and projects.

When this is done, we will ensure that there is proper use and realisation of the targeted outcomes.

The committees also have a role of providing budgetary priorities as well as detailed work-plans, schedules and critical paths for implementation of individual projects.

When we do this, we will be able to look back as a country and see the progress that we have made towards the transformation of our nation. So let us now focus on implementation and ensure that we all get the best out of our policies.

Political and communications consultant

Twitter @MachelWaikenda