Recently, Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration launch big-four plan to transform Kenya. The four agenda of food security; affordable housing and healthcare and; manufacturing which aim at advancing the gains made since independence and advance Kenya’s vision 2030, are somewhat coined from the founding Kenya father’s key planks of transforming Kenya at independence – eradicating disease; poverty and; ignorance.
The challenge for Kenya is: how should we execute the big-four agenda in a manner that strengthens delivery of these promises?
In consideration of the fact that the four-agenda plan is not new, there is need to rethink and learn from own lessons and other practices in public planning and budgeting, borrow lessons from global practices such as the Open Government Partnership initiatives.
Kenya and Elgeyo Marakwet County are both participants in Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that brings together and, secure commitments from government reformers. The two entities recently developed their respective commitments as required of their participation in the partnership. The approaches and practices applied to develop the two Action Plans and, the resulting commitments provide key opportunities for learning in efforts to strengthen efforts to achieve the objectives of the four-agenda plan.
A review of the respective Action Plans and the processes in which they were developed, demonstrate clear benefits of adoption of collaborative and inclusive approaches and strategies applied, also referred to as co-creation. Both Kenya’s NAP III and Elgeyo Marakwet County’s commitments carry the input, preference and aspirations of various actors including the public; legislature; civil society and private sector as reflected in the forward of the Kenya’s NAP III.
By bringing various actors on board in the development of the commitments, both Kenya’s National and Elgeyo Marakwet County;s OGP Action Plan II, ensured that the commitments address key reform needs across board. In addition, the deliberate decision to apply an inclusive and collaborative approach creates ownership of the commitments among the country’s open government reformers, which is valuable resource for implementation. These two set of values: inclusivity and collaboration, are directly applicable in efforts to achieve the four-agenda plan and, also a clear demonstration that financial resources alone, is not sufficient for the achievement of Kenya’s transformation agenda.
The agenda has already been set, however, its implementation could benefit from review of the milestones and roles expected to be played by various actors – for example, the role of county governments in achieving the agenda should be clearly outlined and grounded.
OGP values advance fundamental tenets for prudent and effective public planning and budgeting. In the case of the four-agenda, understanding of key elements of the agenda such as: the ideology behind the plan and, for whom is the agenda important; expected change and; how to measure change? Which components of the agenda are county functions and are county governments aware?
With answers to these questions, the next step would be to determine the resource requirements to realize the agenda. The four-agenda plan could be subjected to technical review and open opportunities for collecting and entrenching public input. Even then, such opportunities must reflect meaningful desire to build stronger collaboration and alliances with citizens and other stakeholders whose efforts could advance the agenda.
Of all the four key targets of the 2018-2020 National Action Plan, commitments such as re-invigorating active citizenship that engages in co-creating Government at all levels; improving quality of measurement of development and data for decision making for all and; curating a resilient and sustainable culture of Open Government – are all strong instruments available to the government to restructure its four-agenda for greater implementation.
The president as the vision carrier and, his delivery team should appreciate that it is not solely the role of resources that failed the delivery of similar objectives in the past. Inadequacies and deficiencies in government systems; openness and inadequate good governance practices are critical contributing factors. Moving forward, the Kenya’s Big Four agenda should tick boxes for all of the elements outlined in this paper or at least majority of them to strengthen its implementation.
The author is the Executive Director at OGI Kenya and a public policy analyst, for any questions or clarification, please contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow and tweet @kipronotm.